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Rakhiv

In literature Rakhiv is often called “Hutsul Paris.”The distinctiveness of the original Carpathian coloring is especially evident at the famous brynza (sheep’s milk cheese) festivals held in the first decade of September.

Rakhiv was founded in 1447. Some might call legendary Rakh the founder of the town, but most of the local experts of local lore are convinced that the name Rakhiv originated from the word “rakhuvaty”(to count). Naturally the case in point is money. All stories about the valiant gangs and their adventures rest upon real facts: the point is that smugglers played an important role in the life of Rakhiv.

They actively used the fact that their town was a natural boundary between Galica and Transcarpathia. Once it was located on the Polish-Hungarian frontier, then Polish-Czechoslovak one, and now on the Ukrainian-Romanian frontier. The town was the center of various brigand gangs. Oleksa Dovbush was their renowned leader. This Carpathian “Robin Hood” left behind a vivid trace in the folklore of the Ukrainian Carpathians.

Historical reference source testifies that in 1782 a wooden bridge across the Tysa River was built in Rakhiv. Thousands of Italians and specialists from other European countries worked at the building of the railway, which was put into operation on August 15,1895. Some of them fell in love with the local beauties and stayed in the city, thereby diversifying the ethnoraphic face of the Hutsul land.

On January 5, 1919, the Hutsul republic headed by Stepan Klochurak was proclaimed in the village of Yasynia. It managed to hold out till June 11, 1919.To liquidate revolutionary sentiments the Romanian troops occupied the city. Luckily, under the post­war treaties Rakhiv became part of Czechoslovakia, whose liberal rule made a lot of good for this land. In 1939 Rakhiv was occupied by the Hungarian troops. During Nazi occupation the city suffered heavy losses.

Trembitas are a symbol of the Ukrainian Carpathians. This musical instrument is some­times called Carpathian tam­tam. One of its varieties is 3.5 meters long. Considering the fact that settlements were situated far from one another trembitas were particularly handy for transmitting im­portant reports. Their sound could mean an attack of the wolves on a herd, death of a fellow-villager, report on the enemy, a need for a general meeting. With the appear­ance of bells in the villages trembitas began to lose their purpose. There existed a special kind of trembita for Christmas caroling, the sound of which announced the birth of Christ. Soviet power often made the Hutsuls play trembitas out of place dur­ing various state holidays, thereby amusing the local residents very much.

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