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Zakarpattya Oblast

Visit the lovely city of Uzhgorod

Uzhgorod (Uzhhorod in Ukrainian) is a city which is situated in Ukraine, on the Slovakian border. It gets its name from the Uzh River which flows through the middle of the city and divides it into two. On one side of the river lies the old section of the city and on the other side lies the new. Roughly translated, "Uzh" means "eel" and "horod" means "city", so the name could be literally translated as "eel city". However, the city was named for the river that runs through it and not the creature which populates its waters.

It is commonly thought that the earliest founders of the city were the White Croatians – a Slavic tribe – who settled here in the second half of the first millennium. By the 9th century Uzhgorod’s fortified castle was beginning to be transformed into a fortified feudal town-settlement. In 903 AD the fortress came under attack by Hungarian tribes and the town’s inhabitants were defeated. Hungarians settled here and the town began to grow. It met with more calamities in the form of Tatar warriors who burnt the settlement. However, it kept growing despite setbacks and sometime after 1318, a stone fortress was built where the modern castle stands today. This continuous growth was only checked during the First and Second World War, but has continued at a reasonable pace during most times of peace. In the meantime, Uzhgorod gained factories, status and wealth.

Today Uzhgorod may be the smallest and westernmost regional capital in Ukraine, but it is still distinct. It has a State University and is the center of the Zakarpattya oblast. The old half the city is immensely interesting and well worth exploring if you have the time. Uzhgorod is not a big tourist spot, but for many that only adds to the city’s immense charm.