The town of Berehove is often called “Ukrainian Hungary.” For a long time negotiations have been carried out on creation of a separate Hungarian national district. A tourist may find it difficult to communication with local residents for the majority of them, especially elderly people, speak only Hungarian. In this case you should stress that you are a tourist. Another problem is that some residents use the Hungarian time zone.
Berehove is situated on a picturesque bank of the Verke River near the vineyard-covered hills. According to the writer P. Ferenc’s assumption these lands once were the border territory of the Roman Empire. First records of the settlement date from 1063. Ferenc II Rakoczi Square formed at the beginning of the 20 th century. Once it was enclosed with a two-meter high wall with loop-holes, and was called Yarmarkova (Fair Square). Among the most interesting sights found in the square is the Roman-Catholic Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, an excellent example of sacral Gothic. Its beginnings date from 1418. In 1565 the structure suffered from military operations as well as from Protestant adherents. It was plundered by the Turks and Tatars. Today, the temple’s extended nave, altar, the bell tower and numerous buttresses produce a vivid impression. It has a harmonic interior. Due to its excellent design the play of light on the walls intensifies aesthetic effect. The southern portal looks more elaborate owing to its detailed profile. During construction two capitals were embedded in the church’s northern wall. Presumably they could have belonged to another sanctuary. One of them is decorated with a human head, another one, with a lying lion. Many details are noted for definite features of Romanesque style, which is a rare occasion for other territories of modern Ukraine. In 1657 the church was plundered by the troops of Prince Yu. Lubomirski. In 1686, during the Hungarian rising, it was set on fire. In 1839 it was partially reconstructed by the architect Albert Tihler. The last restoration was made in 1975-1978.There is a monument to King St. Istvan in the yard.
The former count palace (1629) of Gabor Betlen is situated nearby (1 Betlen St.). The palace was built in place of the former Catholic cloister destroyed by the Reformers. This small single-storied building with a mezzanine was built in baroque. The facade is decorated with six pillars and an inscription reading “Betlen, 1629.” The basement under the main building has preserved the original Gothic ceiling. In its time under the inscription there was the coat of arms of the Betlen family. Unfortunately, only separate elements of its outer decor have survived from the palace’s former grandeur.
On coming back to Ferenc II Rakoczi Square let’s stop before the building of the former casino of Berehove Zhupa (1 Ferenc II Rakoczi Sq.) that was built in 1841 and became the center of local cultural life. The first building was erected on the initiative of Tomas Evtes, and the present-day secession stone structure was built by the architect Dula Beshenski (1912). At that time the square was paved with stone, and on the eve of World War II it was planted with Oriental cherry-trees. Literary soirees held in this building enjoyed great popularity. One of them was attended by the well-known Hungarian writer Moricz Zsigmond. Unfortunately, in 2005 the building’s roof was badly damaged by fire.
On crossing the bridge over the Verke River we get to the Square of Heroes that emerged in the mid-19 th century. Here, on the crossroads, the Oroslan (Lion) Hotel was built as far back as the 17 th century. Numerous memorial plaques indicate that all prominent figures who visited the city stayed in this hotel. The present name of the square comes from the monument to the Soviet Army soldiers that was erected nearby.
A little further, at the crossing of L.Koshut Square and the Square of Heroes there is the Protestant Church built in pseudo-Gothic style. The temple was built when Calvinism was widely spread in Transcarpatia. Today Berehove has the biggest community of this branch of Protestantism. One of its first priests, Balazh Radan, fell victim to the Catholics. After numerous reconstructions and alterations made in the 18 th century the church acquired its present-day outward appearance. On May 2,1918, the church burned down again. It was only in 1921 that new bells were cast and in the spring of 1922 the church was rebuilt again and a new organ (“Riger” firm) from the city of Eger was installed.
Opposite the church is the building of zhupa (city) court that dominates the square. It was built in 1908-1909 after the project of architect Ferenc Yablonski and builders Istvan and Ferenc Kopasi. Soviet power converted the building into a fine mechanic plant, which resulted in its almost a complete ruination. Today the building is being revived for the needs of an educational institution.
The writer Mihaly Tompa (1817-1868) told a doubt full but beautiful legend. According to him a town rose in place where a mythical shepherd, Sas by name, found seven troughs of gold in a hole dug by two fighting bulls, and decided to build a temple.