route description

The cultural route begins in the village of Richka at Verkhovyna in Mizhhirya district. It is located at an altitude of 550m above the sea level, in a picturesque valley between the Carpathian watershed range (Vododilnyi) and Polonyna Borzhava range. From ancient times, people here were engaged in cattle breeding and farming, collecting berries and mushrooms. The beauty of this place, ancient traditions and antique crafts attract many tourists to Richka village.

The radial route can be both one-day and two-days’. The total length of the hiking trail along the “Hunya Road” cultural route is 15.9 km. It will be of interest for both novice tourists and experienced travelers.

From the bus stop, shop and information boards that tell about the history, culture and traditions of the village, the road leads past the church of St.Michael of 1900 and the Village Council building. When walking along the Richka village past the neat farmsteads, colorful houses, you may see the daily life of the inhabitants of this mountain village.

As you walk higher, you may see sprawling meadows of hayfields, gardens where peasants have been cultivating the land for centuries, planting potatoes, corn, mowing hay and harvesting crops. This is a great place for taking nice photos with a beautiful view of Polonyna Borzhava, the village of Richka and surrounding landscapes.

The edge of the forest meets you with alder, birch, rowan trees and motley grass meadows. Then a rapid ascent starts through the forest with mainly beech trees and some hornbeams, sycamores, spruces and firs. Of course, this forest is inhabited by animals typical for the region, namely - wild boar, roe deer, deer, fox, hare, wolf, and bear. They are hard to meet during a tourist hike. They bypass humans and have plenty of food in the wild. However, after the rain you can find species endemic to the Carpathians – like salamander. Spotted lizards crawl out to the trail to dry from their flooded hiding places.

From the forest cover you get to polonyna: montane meadow, where cattle have been grazed since ancient times. These highlands were once alder and beech crooked forests. Wallachian shepherds, who came here from the south hiding from the Ottoman Turks, began to cut down and burn bushes, freeing up huge areas for pastures. The polonynas are covered with matgrass, thickets of bilberries, cranberries with rare blueberry bushes. There are many flowering plants here, but the brightest of them are arnica, which blooms in early summer, willowherbs and St. John's wort in mid-summer, and gentian in early autumn.

The name of Borzhava mountain range has an interesting origin. Two millennia ago, the Turkic tribes of the Bulgars passed through the Carpathians, leaving us a legacy of different place names. In particular, in their language the word "borzhava " means "ice water". Indeed, several powerful rivers of the region with crystal clear cold water originate from the slopes of Borzhava.

We reach the ridge under the mountain Zvir (1115 m) and continue in the direction to the top of Kruhla (1208 m). Then you see Kychera Mountain (1257 m) in front of you, but before the ascent you may find a source on the left side of the road. This is a great place to relax and stay overnight. After Kychera, a small descent and ascent to Shyroka Mountain (1257 m). Before Hrab (1374 m), the next mountaintop, the route turns right.

The trail runs down to the thickets of bilberries and the upper forest edge, and brings you to majestic beech forest. Beech trees are the main species in the Carpathians and throughout Central and North-Western Europe. This word is similar in many European languages. During the season, the forest is full of mushrooms, but they can be collected only by knowledgeable mushroom pickers.

Then the route runs through forest and lawns and brings you to a small lake, called Bosorkanyas Lake (“bosorkanya” is a Transcarpathian name for a witch). Local people associate many mysterious legends and stories with this lake. From there, the road descends to the fields near the neighboring village of Potik, leads to the newly built Holy Trinity Monastery, and descends to the already well-known village of Richka – the starting point of our route.