Saturday, December 15, 2018

Huklyvyi, Ukraine

Huklyvyi is a small village located a few kilometres from the town of Volovets in a remote corner of Ukraine's Zakarpattia region. The Church of the Holy Spirit stands near the top of the village with a small stream running in front of it and forested hills behind. A crumbling wooden fence and a small grove of trees surround it and the accompanying bell tower. This is one of Zakarpattia's oldest and finest wooden churches, with beautifully proportioned contours.
Built in the middle of the 18th century, the church represents an early phase in the development of the Boyko architectural style, before the broad adoption of the three-cupola domed design plan. The beautiful iconostasis inside dates from 1784.
During the Communist period the church was preserved as a "Museum of Atheism," which helped to protect its iconostasis and interior fittings. In 1970 the church underwent extensive restorations, but by the 1990s the church had fallen into disrepair and some of the roof shingles had rotted to the point where rain could penetrate inside the structure. Community funds were raised to fix the roof and in 2001 work began on a new shingle roof.
The eight-metre bell tower is tall and narrow, with a ladder providing access to an upper platform below the bells. A second bell tower once stood on the opposite side of the church, but it was torn down in the 1940s. Several old stone cross markers surround the church, most are marked with dates from the early 1800s.
Getting to Huklyvyi by bus or marshrutka requires some advance planning with the timetables, but isn't too difficult. Buses from Uzhhorod and Mukacheve run to the nearby town of Volovec several times per day, and local marshrutkas head south quite regularly covering the 5 kilometres to the Huklyvyi bus stop. From there walk up the hill through the village about one kilometre to reach the church. The keys are theoretically kept by the family who live next door to the church, though I was unable to find anyone who could open it during my visit.

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