Carpathians are a mountain range located in the eastern part of Central Europe, on the territory of Ukraine, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia and Austria. They extend from the surroundings of Bratislava to the Iron Gate for 1500 km, forming a convex curve which encloses middle Danube plain.
Ukrainian Carpathian mountains are the part of Eastern Carpathians mountain range (which consists of Outer Eastern Carpathians and Inner Eastern Carpathians) in Western Ukraine. The length of the mountains from Syan springheads to the headwaters of the river Suchava is 280 km, while the width is over 110 km. They stretch across the territory of Transcarpathian, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi regions. The area of Ukrainian Carpathian mountain ranges makes over 24,000 sq km. Mountain ranges, divided by longitudinal hollows and separated by deep transverse valleys, extend mainly from the northwest to the southeast.
The altitude of the mountain system ranges from 120–400 m at the foot of the mountains to 500–800 m in the hollows between the mountains and 1500–2000 m along the main ridges. All the highest peaks — Hoverla (2061 m, the highest point of Ukraine), Brebeneskul (2032 m), Pip Ivan Chornohorsky (2028 m), Petros (2020 m), Hutyn Tomnatyk (2016 m), Rebra (2001 m) — are concentrated on Chornohora massif that is located on the verge of Ivano-Frankivsk and Transcarpathian regions. Orographically Ukrainian Carpathian mountains are divided in the following way:
Climate conditions in Ukrainian Carpathians are extremely diverse, despite their relatively small area. The main factor of differentiation is abrupt altitude change: from 150 m to 2061 m. Thermal and moisture regimes change together with altitude. The climate of bigger part of Ukrainian Carpathians is characterised by high precipitation and high humidity, considerably long frosty period and relatively low air and soil temperature. In general the climate of Ukrainian Carpathians is moderately continental, warm, with cyclonic and anticyclonic invasions of Atlantic air.
An average annual air temperature in Ukrainian Carpathian mountains reaches +5...+7°С, but it is even lower — up to +4°С — at the highest mountain ranges - Chornohora, Svydovets, Hryniava Mountains. Annual air temperature does not exceed +7°С even in the lowlands. Despite the same altitude, air temperature above southwestern slopes of the Carpathians is slightly higher than above northeastern ones. An annual amount of rainfall in Carpathians ranges within 800-2000 mm and more. Summer is the season of the highest precipitation, while there are minimum rainfalls in winter and spring. Annual amount of rainfall in the mountain ranges that are significantly higher than sea level reaches 1500 mm. The highest precipitation is registered in the surroundings of the village Ruska Mokra(2238 mm) in Transcarpathian region. Air humidity in the Carpathians is high. The days with humidity of lower than 30%(in April-October) are extremely rare.
Due to atmospheric processes, the climate in the highlands of Ukrainian Carpathians is similar to the climate of Prykarpattya (Precarpathian region) with its three climate regions:
Precarpathian (Prykarpattya) region is also divided into three regions:
The climate of Transcarpathian region is moderately continental, it is formed with the help of strong solar radiation and southwestern winds. From the north the region is protected from cold arctic air masses by mountains. Annual temperature in summer is +21 °C, in winter −4 °C.
Many rivers, streams and streamlets flow in Carpathians. Their total number is over 31 thousand, the total length of river network being 46,5 thousand km. All of them belong to the Black Sea basin. The Main European Watershed runs a little to the north from Carpathians.
The saturation of Ukrainian Carpathians with rivers is the biggest in Ukraine, which is 4-7 times higher than the index of other regions of the country. The main rivers of the Carpathian region are Tysa, Prut, Siret (Danube basin), Dnister and their inflows. Around 500 rivers belong to the category of middle and small rivers, the others (over 30 thousand) are streams, streamlets and occasionally active watercourses. Countless number of springs (burkut, churkal, shypit) and wells with continuous water flow are found at the foot of the slopes. Such springs often become sources of the rivers. Most major Carpathian rivers are suitable for rafting and other kinds of water tourism.
On the territory of Transcarpathian region with total area of 12,8 thousand square kilometers there are 9429 rivers with total length of 20631 km. Though in general the rivers are small: an average length of the river is 2 km. Only 152 rivers are longer than 10 km and only 4 rivers have over 100 km in length: Tysa (201 km), Latorytsa (159 km), Uzh (113 km) and Borzhava (112 km).
In Precarpathian region (Prykarpattya), in particular Ivano-Frankivsk region with total area of 13,9 thousand square kilometers, there are 8321 rivers. As well as in Transcarpathian region, most watercourses are not very long. The number of rivers with the length over 10 km are 155, over 100 km — 4 (Dniester, Prut, Limnytsa and Svicha). In Lviv region Carpathian rivers are represented by Dniester river and its right inflows: Stryj, Opir, Svicha, Tysovets and others. Dniester begins on the mount Rozluch (close to Sereda lake), and its inflows Opir and Stryj — on the mountain Yavirnyk. Within Lviv region in Dniester basin there are 5728 rivers, most of which flow in the Carpathian region.
Chernivtsi region has 4494 rivers and streams with the total length of 7641 km. Dniester, Prut, Siret and Cheremosh are main among them.
Rivers and streams of the Carpathians are mostly pure, their waters have favorable sanitary, biological and oxygen regimes, as well as hydrochemical and microbiological parameters and low saprobity level. River water has low mineral content — 0,15-0,65 g/l, mainly of calcium bicarbonate type. Annual water temperature in winter is 0,5-3,0 °С, in summer it reaches 12-20 °С. The water often meets drinking standards, so it is used for drinking.
You can find quite a big amount of picturesque lakes in Ukrainian Carpathians. Brebeneskul(1801 m above sea level, Chornohora range, close to the foot of Hutyn Tomnatyk mountain) — the most high-altitude Ukrainian mountain — is among them. The list of the most interesting Carpathian lakes includes the following:
Numerous waterfalls are popular tourist sights in Carpathians. You can see some of them in the table below:
|Velyky i Maly Guk waterfalls|
|Dzembronski (Smotrytski) waterfalls|
|Kamjanets waterfall (Synevyr)|
|Yavoriv Guk waterfall|
|Silver (Sriblyasti) waterfalls|
Ukrainian Carpathians are rich in mineral waters from which balneological resorts have formed in many places of the region. Mineral waters of "Naftusya" are spread in the whole zone in southwestern part of Ivano-Frankivsk region within Bohorodchany, Verkhovyna, Dolyna, Kosiv, Nadvirna districts. Hydrogeological researches have shown that there are over 60 mineral water springs throghout the region. Only "Goryanka" mineral water with the source in the village Novy Mizunand "Guta" in the village Gute are widely used. There are over 25 springs at the foothills of Lviv region with ten different types of mineral waters, in particular sulfide mineral waters: "Truskavetska" and "Naftusya". Three prominent Ukrainian balneological resorts have formed in the surroundings of these springs: Morshyn, Truskavets and Shidnytsya. Transcarpathian region is one of the richest in mineral waters regions in Ukraine. The diversity of mineral waters here reaches the number of 350. Mountainous part of Chernivtsi region is also rich in mineral waters such as "Bukovynska" (Storozhynets district) and "Zelenchanka" (Putyla district)
Flora of Ukrainian Carparhian mountains is very rich and diverse in its species. About two thousand species of superior plants can be found here. Vegetation is basically represented by Middle European deciduous forests that make up about 35% of all flora: forest or ordinary beech, ordinary hornbeam, ordinary and rock oak, small-leaved linden (tilia cordata), maple, sycamore; grass plants are represented by: perennial copse, patchy arum, astrantsiya, spring snowflake and others. Euro-Siberian taiga forms, such as European spruce, mountain spruce, white spruce, Siberian juniper and others play considerable role in Carpathian flora (representing about 30% of it). Beech wildwoods of the Carpathians that are of extraordinary value among temperate forests belong to UNESCO World Heritage Site. These forests represent the most complete and the fullest ecological models which reflect processes that occur in pure and mixed forest stands under different climate conditions. Over 70% of the territory of this object is located in Ukraine, the rest — in Slovakia.
Carpathian highlands are represented by arctic-alpine plant species(18%) — herbal and obtusifolious willow, eight-petal dryad, Polygonum viviparum, hair-typed sedge, Anemone Narcissflora, Alpine hieracium. Alpine edelweiss can be found on the unapproachable rocky cliffs. Some representatives of steppe flora can also be found in Ukrainian Carpathians: stipa pennata, festuca rupicola, hungarian iris; representatives of northern Balkans(Dianthus compactus, Crocus heuffelianus and Crocus banaticus, Omeg banaticus) and Crimean-Caucasian flora. Endemic species that grow only in the Eastern Carpathians (Carpathian Rhododendron, pulmonaria filarskyana, Carpathian spurge, Carpathian rumex and others) occupy more than 2% of all the flora.
Fauna of Ukrainian Carpathians is dominated by representatives of the forest complex. There are deer, hare, fox, wolf, brown bear, wild cat, lynx, marten, otter, wild boar, badger and squirrel encountered. Among endemics you can find here: Carpathian squirrel and Snow Vole. The birds are represented by grouse, Hazel Grouse, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Black-backed Woodpecker, black tit and cristate tit, black stork, eagle, golden eagle, Red Crossbil, Short-toed Snake Eagle and many migratory songbirds. There are not many types of reptiles and amphibians in the mountains: fire salamander, Carpathian newt, wood Dolichophis, vivaporous lizard, agile frog and warbler toad. Fast mountain rivers are rich in trout.
The relative proportion of protected areas in Ukrainian Carpathians is about 13%. This index is three times bigger than the average rate on the territory of Ukraine. Natural systems of Precarpathian highland and Transcarpathian lowland forest-meadow physiographical regions belong to the protected zone only for 5%, the systems of volcanic-Carpathian zone — less than for 3%. Natural reserves of Precarpathian highland physiographical region are protected only for 5 % of its area, and within the territory of Bukovyna Precarpathians protected areas cover about 4,4% of the area.
The oldest traces of settlement by the people from Carpathian region belong to early Paleolithic epoch (more than 1 million years ago). About 60 ancient monuments of the Stone Age are found on the territory of Transcarpathian region. Multi-layered parking near Korolevo village on the old terrace is the most important of them. At the end of the last century near Dniester banks in Chernivtsi region there were excavated the settlements of the ancient people from Moldove and Korman. A number of findings from middle Paleolithic period (Mousterian period) were discovered in northeastern Precarpathian regions (on the territory of contemporary Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions).
According to most historians, in VIth century the territory of contemporary Precarpathian and Transcarpathian regions was settled by White Croats. Other Slavic tribes began to settle here later. At the end of Хth century, when Prince Volodymyr finishes the unification of all Rus lands (Przemysl, Chervensk cities, Transcarpathian Rus and others), Carpathian region becomes the part of Kyiv Rus. In 1144 Galician Principality was formed on this territory, and later on, in ХІІІth century Danylo Galitsky formed Galicia-Volhynian Principality which therefore became the most powerful Slavic state association of those times. After king Danylo's death these lands were shared between Poland, Austria and Hungary for centuries. Until 1804 some territory of the Carpathian region was a part of Hungarian Kingdom. From 1569 to 1795 northeastern part of Precarpathian region geographically was a part of Rzeczpospolita. From 1804 to 1867 Bukovyna and Transcarpathian region became a part of Austrian Empire. During the revolutionary period of 1848–1849 the people of Bukovyna took part in a series of peasant revolts which were headed by "people's avenger" Lukyan Kobylytsya (at that time he was elected to the Austrian Parliament). In 1848 serf labor was abolished here. This event facilitated the rise of the national-cultural movement of Ukrainian people which particularly intensified after the formation of the society "Ruska Besida" in 1869 in Chernivtsi. In 1867—1918 the lands of Bukovyna, Transcarpathia and Precarpathian region became a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire.
With the outbreak of World War I Austro-Hungarian military command established the legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (USS) in Stryj, Lviv region. It operated in Precarpathian region and made a significant contribution into Ukrainian state formation. After Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, the representatives of Uzhhorod, Khust and Presov councils formed Central Rus Council (Rada) of Ukraine and announced the union of Transcarpathia with Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, northern lands of the Carpathian region became a part of West Ukrainian People's Republic (ZUNR), and soon after the proclamation of the Act of Unity on 22 January 1919 they became a part of Ukrainian National Republic (UNR). From 1938 to 1939 there was an independent state formation called Carpathian Ukraine (Pidkarpatska Rus) on the territory of contemporary Transcarpathian region, but with the outbreak of World War II Hungarian occupation of it took place. From 1939 Soviet occupation substitues Nazi occupation: at first SSSR sets its rule in Precarpathian region; in 1940 — in Bukovyna; in 1944 — in Transcarpathia. During World War II there was a struggle of Ukrainian Rebel Army against Nazi and Soviet occupation on the territory of contemporary Carpathian region. Since 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union the lands of Carpathian region have been an inevitable part of Ukraine. All historical epochs and events have posted rich and diverse cultural and historical heritage on the territory of Ukrainian Carpathians.
Year after year Ukrainian Carpathians are becoming more and more popular place for recreation both for Ukrainian and foreign tourists. Natural and climate conditions, as well as historical and cultural heritage of the region provide opportunities for most modern types of tourism. Local tourism still has a lot of weaknesses which restrain it from being compared to the standards that are adopted in developed countries. Though steady increase in tourist flows and investments into local businesses stimulate the development of tourism industry which in turn affects both the improvement of socio-economical conditions of local population and the growth of economic indicators in Carpathian region as a whole.
Carpathian region offers quite a wide range of ski resorts to the tourists. You can find them in the section "Skiing" on our website. The base of balneological resorts in Carpathian region has been formed for those who want to have a rest and recover their health. You can find more information about accommodation, nutrition, entertainment, travel and transport services etc. through the search engine of our catalogue.