Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #6--Day 6 (September 6, 2016), Part 1

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

On the overnight train from Vinnitsa to Mukachevo (formerly Munkacs), I actually slept.  The solution: sleep with noise-cancelling headphones playing a white noise app.  I highly recommend that strategy!
View from the train

The train arrived mid-morning, so we were able to see the scenery as we entered the Carpathian Mountains.  There were lots of rolling hills with small villages scattered throughout.

When we got to Mukachevo, we walked through the center of town a bit.
Center of Mukachevo
In the center of town is a monument to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
Plaque dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg
We found the local shul (synagogue), although it was locked so we couldn't see inside.
Mukachevo (Munkacs) Shul
We then headed towards the castle, perched up on a hill overlooking the town.
Mukachevo Castle
The castle has a series of external walls, built over time for fortification purposes.
Mukachevo Castle
From the castle, there were spectacular views of the surrounding area.
View from Mukachevo/Munkacs Castle
We then set out for Khust, which was to be our base for the next few days.  It was a beautiful drive through farmland with mountains off in the distance.
On the way from Mukachevo to Khust
In Khust, we stayed right in the center of town on a pedestrian mall.
Pedestrian mall outside our hotel in Khust--note the "I Love Khust" in the center
Just down the block is Khust's shul (synagogue).
Khust shul/synagogue
The inside showed what must once have been a spectacular building but one which is now not in the best of conditions.
Inside Khust's shul
The art was once done with intricate detail, and much of it remains.

Inside Khust's shul
There are thousands of disintegrating books--I was able to see siddurim (prayer books), chumashim (bibles) and gemaras (talmuds).
Books in Khust's shul
Outside in the shul's courtyard is a monument to the Jews from the town and the area who were killed in the Holocaust.
Memorial in Khust's shul's courtyard

Then I went up into the mountains--and that'll be in the next post.

So where was I geographically in this post?

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  1. Laura, is the Khust shul still in use? I know in the past a congregation in Delaware got new prayer books and donated the old to a European shul but I don't know if there's a organization that arranges things like that or if it was just a lucky connection someone had.

    1. It is in use, but by only a handful of people. These books seemed to all be pre-war.

  2. Do you have any idea what the outcome for those beautiful books will be? So sad to think they will continue to disintegrate. Enjoyed the post! Pictures were wonderful.

    1. I don't know--there was no one in there to ask. :(

  3. Beautiful beautiful photographs! What a bittersweet trip for you!

  4. you've brought joyful tears to my eyes. my family was from Munkacs (Mukechavo). when I was a kid and whenever the family got together this is what I remember them talking about. My great grandfather Solomon Gottesman left in 1880 and I've no clue how many family were left there. love the photos and you've inspired me. thank you