Velykyi Bereznyi Territorial Community
The Velykyi Bereznyi Territorial Community is located on the territory of Uzhhorod District, Zakarpattia Region.
The total area of the territory is 111.8 km2.
Population of the community: 9,821 people.
People of retirement age: 1,966.
It includes 8 settlements. The administrative centre of the community is located in the settlement of Velykyi Bereznyi.
The first written mention of the settlement dates back to 1409, but according to archaeological findings, it was founded in the 11th-12th centuries. In the state tax list for 1427, it is indicated that Velykyi Bereznyi belonged to the possessions of the Uzhhorod-Nevytskyi castle domain of the Counts Drugeth.
In 1788, the Uzhhorod State Department resettled 20 Slovak families from northwestern Slovakia to Velykyi Bereznyi. It was from that time that the Slovak Liptaky microdistrict appeared in Velykyi Bereznyi. Each family received an allotment of arable land and a building plot.
In the same year, Velykyi Bereznyi acquired the status of a township and the related right to hold large fairs. At the end of the 18th century the township became a popular trade centre not only for residents of the settlement and nearby villages, but also of the Perechyn neighbourhood, Turka neighbourhood and the Lviv Region.
Velykyi Bereznyi had a favourable location on the trade route that connected Prykarpattia and Slovakia, so Jews chose the town and founded a network of shops, taverns, and large stores here.
The entire central street was built up with various shops and Jewish residences.
In 1770, Velykyi Bereznyi gained the status of a township and at the same time the inherent right to hold large fairs. So people flocked here from both sides of the Carpathians. Intensive population growth in the town began after the opening of the Uzhhorod – Velykyi Bereznyi railway section in 1897. Today, the country’s longest Shcherbyn-Syanky railway tunnel passes through the Velykyi Bereznyi neighbourhood. Its length reaches 908 m.
At the beginning of the 20th century the first water pipeline in Zakarpattia was built in the settlement.
Velykyi Bereznyi is the place of the largest concentration of thunderstorm fronts in Ukraine: there are up to 43 thunderstorm days per year.
Emile Lahner, the world-famous classic of modernism, an outstanding figure of the Paris School, one of the founders and popularisers of abstractionism, was born here. He was recognized by Pablo Picasso himself, who called Lahner his friend. In 1954, Picasso offered Lahner a joint art exhibition.
In 1866, the community was fated to observe the fall of the Knyahinya meteorite (Chorni Mlaky Tract) weighting over 500 kilograms. It is the largest meteorite among the ones found in Europe in recent history.
Architectural Monuments of Local Importance.
The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity is located in the Velykyi Bereznyi territorial community. This stone building of the early 19th century appeared thanks to the then Slovak community that inhabited the territory.
In the centre of Velykyi Bereznyi, there is the Greek Catholic Church of the Ascension of the Lord which was originally built of wood in 1972. In 1902, the church was reconstructed at the expense of local residents who immigrated to the United States.
The Uzhanskyi National Natural Park is the gem of the Velykyi Bereznyi community. It is included in the world’s first tripartite Ukrainian-Polish-Slovak international biosphere reserve Eastern Carpathians. It is also listed in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves and currently covers an area of 39,159 hectares.
Created around 1866, the Arboretum Park is another local landmark. More than 250 rare species of trees grow there, including Ginkgo biloba, Tsuga canadensis, Thuja giant, Quercus robur, Quercus montana.
Mount Yavornyk is undoubtedly one of the tourist attractions of the region. Its peak reaches 1,017 m.
And in the village of Zabrid of the Velykyi Bereznyi community, there is a cascade of stone formations, which create a chain of small waterfalls across the entire width of the Uzh River. The locals call them Porohy (Rapids).
An interesting landmark of the community is the ancient arched bridge, built in the Roman style from sandstone without the use of cement. It is located in the tract Strychavskyi Potik. The stability of the structure was provided by the central keystone, and the others were carefully selected or cut to the required size. Built in the Roman style, the bridge remains Ukraine’s only functioning Roman aqueduct.
Economy and Welfare
Several sawmills and wood processing plants operate on the territory of the community. There are also 2 enterprises engaged in the production and export of outerwear and footwear to the countries of the European Union.
A craft confectionary house that produces confectionary according to recipes of the 1930s and 1940s from the legendary confectioner Josef Schneidgen is another attention grabber.
Community and War
Velykyi Bereznyi is the gateway to Europe for those fleeing the war in Ukraine
From the first days, Velykyi Bereznyi turned into a “bridge of salvation” that connects Ukraine with Europe. More than 80,000 Ukrainians moved from here to neighbouring Slovakia alone. About 3,500 people found refuge in Velykyi Bereznyi.
The Velykyi Bereznyi Settlement Council actively works to attract humanitarian aid to the community and, thanks to European partners, humanitarian and charitable organizations, provides it to the most needy categories of people.
In addition, active work is underway to deliver humanitarian aid to war victims in other regions of our country.
People of the Community
Bohdan KYRLYK is the Head of the settlement since 2010. Thanks to close cooperation with foreign partners, many international grant projects were implemented during his tenure. Among them is the overhaul of the kindergarten.
Priority areas of community development:
– Green tourism, which will unite the tourist routes of Europe and Ukraine.
– Close socio-economic, cultural and historical ties with Slovakia and the Czech Republic with the improvement of partnership and friendly relations.
– A separate educational institution for Roma.
– Construction of a sports complex that will become a leisure centre for young people.
– Preservation of the community’s cultural heritage.
– Development of farms, attraction of investors for the development of mountain areas of the community.
– Cross-border cooperation.
– Ensuring international tolerance on the territory of the community.
– Integration of internally displaced persons into the social and cultural life of the community, providing them with employment.
– Relocation of enterprises from the east and creation of proper working conditions for them.
List of Sources
- Community website
- Facebook page
- Personal photos of Bohdan Kyrlyk, Tetyana Hopko, Halyna Reparyuk, Yuriy Tsybyk
- YouTube channel Format Media
- Yuriy Tsybyk’s YouTube channel