Velykyi Bychkiv Territorial Community
The Velykyi Bychkiv Settlement Territorial Community is located in the Rakhiv (mountain) District of the Zakarpattia Region. The community includes two settlements and seven villages. The administrative centre is the village of Velikyi Bychkiv. The total area of the territory is 574,622 km2.
As of 01 January 2023, the population of the community totalled 29,521 residents.
Women: 11,525 residents
Men: 10,944 residents
There are 7,052 children under 18 years of age.
Internally displaced persons: 605 people
The village of Velykyi Bychkiv is the oldest settlement in the Rakhiv District. The first mention of it in documentary sources can be found in the late 14th century in the charters of the Maramures area.
In 1720, a sawmill was built on the Shopurka River. In 1868, the first wood-chemical enterprise not only in Zakarpattia, but also in Hungary was built in the village – the Klotilda chemical plant, where beech wood was processed into vinegar, charcoal, soda, gunpowder and other products.
In 1957, the first Velykyi Bychkiv Local History Museum was opened in the Zakarpattia Region.
After the Greek Catholic Church came out of the underground in 1989, the museum of Martyr Bishop Teodor Romzhi was created at the church school.
A commemorative sign has been installed on the building of the Assumption Greek Catholic Church stating that Augustyn Voloshyn served the last liturgy there on Ukrainian soil.
A Jewish community lived compactly in the village, a Jewish educational and cultural centre worked in the synagogue and the Jewish school.
Kobyletska Poliana is an urban-type settlement located in the upper reaches of the Shopurka River. The first mention of the village dates back to 1672 as Kabola Poliana.
In the first half of the 19th century, sulphur mineral springs were discovered not far from the village, where healing springs were opened at the same time.
The village of Verkhne Vodiane is located seven kilometres from the village of Velykyi Bychkiv. It was first mentioned in 1406 as Superior Apcha.
The traditional economy in Verkhne Vodiane is animal husbandry; a monument to a shepherd has been installed in the Dilok tract.
The village of Vodytsia, or the village of Apshytsia before 1948, is located in the upper reaches of the river of the same name.
Traditional economic activities in the village include animal husbandry and development of the green stone tuff deposit. There were mineral springs in the territory of the village. Doctors have studied the healing properties of water, which helps in the treatment of various diseases.
Kosivska Poliana, first mentioned in 1361 as the village of Ozon, spreads along the Kisva River.
The Luh State Forestry is located in the territory of the village of Luh, and to the east of the village there is the Kuzii Reserve Massif of the State Institution “Carpathian Biosphere Reserve”. The residents of the village are engaged in sheep breeding.
Economy and Welfare
The area of the woodland totals 456.10 km2 accounting for 79.3% of the total area of the Community. And the area of 107 km2 is agricultural land.
The largest land users are: the enterprises “Forests of Ukraine” – “Velykyi Bychkiv Forestry and Hunting Enterprise” and “Carpathian Biosphere Reserve”.
The unique primeval forests and alpine meadow systems of the “Carpathian Biosphere Reserve” belong to the most valuable ecosystems of the planet and the UNESCO International Network of Biosphere Reserves.
The Dibrova forest reserve is located to the north of Velykyi Bychkiv. Almost 300 species of medicinal plants are common there representing half of the Red Book species of the plants and animals of the Carpathians.
Dozens of plants grow on the rocks of Blyznytsia and Kuziova that are not found anywhere else in Ukraine, including the legendary edelweiss.
There are various useful minerals in the territory of the Community: ores of non-ferrous metals (Havryshchuk and Rudarnya tracts).
There are 346 enterprises in the territory of the Velykyi Bychkiv Community. Most industrial enterprises are processing ones involved in woodworking production, production of bakery products, reforestation.
The leading woodworking enterprise in the Community is VHSM Company, a furniture factory that manufactures furniture. The company exports its products to the EU and America. More than 300 workers work at the enterprise; the main raw material used is beech.
The bakery products of the Velykyi Bychkiv Bakery, which are baked on firewood according to ancient recipes and in old ovens, are known far beyond the Community.
The Community takes care of its residents’ health and allocates a large part of its funds to the development of medicine. It runs sixteen healthcare facilities: three paramedic centres, ten family medicine outpatient clinics, one hospital, and four ambulance stations. The hospital has been partially overhauled at the expense of grants.
The field of education, culture and sports works effectively in the Velykyi Bychkiv Community, on which the largest amount of funds is spent from the local budget. The Community runs thirty educational institutions, namely: fourteen schools, fifteen kindergartens, one communal institution “Art School of the Velykyi Bychkiv Settlement Council”.
Twenty-eight culture institutions also take care of the cultural development of young people in the Community: thirteen libraries, ten culture centres, one local history museum and four branch museums.
The Children’s and Youth Sports School of the Velykyi Bychkiv Settlement Council is a centre for training young athletes for district, regional and international competitions. Pupils of the sports school participate in various sports tournaments and win prizes.
The special pride of the Community is the Lisorub folk amateur song and dance ensemble. The team began performing in 1947. The ensemble’s performances are known both in Ukraine and abroad. The team is a multiple laureate of various international and Ukrainian national festivals. The Community also has an equally well-known amateur orchestra of folk instruments – Bychkivski Muzyky.
Community and War
Unfortunately, due to russia’s war against Ukraine, many projects aimed at the development of the Community have to be postponed. Many residents of the Community joined the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and territorial defence units.
Since 24 February 2022, the Velykyi Bychkiv Territorial Community has received 4,931 internally displaced persons. Fifty-two students going to the Community schools and twenty-four children attending local kindergartens come from the territories affected by the armed aggression.
During the first days of the war, a centre of reception and distribution of humanitarian aid was organized in the building of the village culture centre.
With the assistance of the People in Need Czech nongovernmental organization, the Velykyi Bychkiv Lyceum has been overhauled to be able to accommodate 144 people.
People of the Community
Oleh Bursa, the head of the Velykyi Bychkiv Territorial Community, was elected in October 2020 and is currently the head of the Settlement Council.
A number of successful projects have been implemented with his assistance.
An excavator, a grader and a forklift have been purchased as part of the project “Together for the improvement of natural disaster risk management and rapid response in the cross-border society of Romania-Ukraine”.
Cooperation continues within the framework of the cross-border cooperation “Hungary – Slovakia – Romania – Ukraine 2014 – 2020” regarding the prevention of deterioration of water quality and the development of measures to restore its quality in Velykyi Bychkiv as part of Ukrainian – Hungarian cooperation: cleaning of groundwater contaminated by the forest chemical plant.
In 2022, the Street Workout sports ground was equipped and opened on Promyslova Street, and a sports ground with an artificial surface was also built in the territory of the Velykyi Bychkiv Lyceum, where students of the children’s and youth sports school hold their sports competitions.
The Local Fire Brigade has been established in the territory of the Community, where firefighters are on duty 24 hours a day.
The Community concluded a partnership agreement with the USAID Agency under the HOVERLA project – “Increasing the efficiency and accountability of local self-government bodies”.
The Community is an active member of the Ukrainian national associations of local self-government bodies “Ukrainian National Association of Communities” and “Association of the Cities of Ukraine”.
Priority development areas:
- economic development, creation of new jobs, revival of production at industrial sites of the brown field type;
- revival and development of tourism,
- improvement of the Community infrastructure – reconstruction of treatment plants, water supply, overhaul of local roads, garbage sorting station;
- improvement of the energy efficiency of communal buildings, construction of a sports complex as a youth leisure centre.
A possibility of creating a rehabilitation centre at the maternity ward of the Velykyi Bychkiv hospital is being considered.