Mukacheve (Мукачеве)

Coat of arms

Map of Zakarpattia Oblast with Mukacheve.
Mukacheve (Мукачеве)
Mukacheve (Мукачеве)
Location of Mukacheve

Coordinates: 48°27′00″N 22°45′00″E / 48.45000°N 22.75000°E / 48.45000; 22.75000Coordinates: 48°27′00″N 22°45′00″E / 48.45000°N 22.75000°E / 48.45000; 22.75000

 Mukachivskyi Raion
Founded 896
 • Mayor Zoltán Lengyel[1]
Population (2008)
 • Total 93,738
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 89600
Area code(s) +380 3131
Website Mukachevo. City Council

Mukacheve (Ukrainian: Мукачеве; see name section) is a city located in the valley of the Latorica river in the Zakarpattia Oblast (province), in southwestern Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of the Mukachivskyi Raion (district), the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast. The population in 1989 was 91,000, in 2004 77,300 and is now 93,738 (As of 2008).

The city is now a rail terminus and highway junction, and has beer, wine, tobacco, food, textile, timber and furniture industries. During the Cold War it was home to Mukacheve air base.

Mukacheve has a Ukrainian majority (77.1%) with a significant minority of Russians (9.0%), Hungarians (8.5%), Germans (1.9%), Jews (number unknown), and Roma (1.4%).[2]


There are many different ways to name Mukacheve. In Ukrainian it is usually spelled as Mukacheve while Мукачів (Mukachiv) is sometimes also used in Ukrainian.[3] Its name in Rusyn is either spelled Мукачево (Mukachevo), also Mukacheve is also a Russian transliteration Russian: Мукачево as well as a name adopted by the local authorities and portrayed on the city's coat of arms. Other names are Hungarian: Munkács; Romanian: Muncaci, Munceag; Polish Mukaczewo; Slovak and Czech: Mukačevo; German: Munkatsch; Yiddish: מונקאטש, Munkatsh, Minkatsh.


Early history

Archaeological excavation suggest that early settlements existed here before the Middle Ages. For example a Celtic oppidum and metal works center that existed in the 3rd-1st century BC were found between the Halish and Lovachka mountains. A Thracian fort of the Iron Age (10th century BC) was found on the mountain of Tupcha. Around the 1st century the area was occupied by the Carpi people who displaced the local Celts from the area. From the 9th to 11th centuriy, Mukacheve may have been part for a time of the Kievan Rus' state.

Hungarian rule

In 895 the Hungarian tribes entered the Carpathian Basin through the Verecke Pass, about 60 km (37 mi) north of present day Mukacheve. During the next century they established the Hungarians and Munkachevo became a regional center of power of Hungarian kings. In 1397, the town and its surrounding was granted by King Sigismund of Hungary to his vassal the Ruthenian prince Theodor Koriatovich, who settled many Ruthenians in the territory. During the 15th century, the city prospered and became a prominent craft and trade center for the region. In 1445, the town became a Hungarian free royal town. It was also granted the rights of Magdeburg law.

During the 16th century, Mukacheve became part of the Principality of Transylvania. The 17th century (from 1604-1711) was a time of continuous struggle against the expansionist intentions of the Habsburg Empire for the Principality. In 1687 the anti-Habsburg Revolt of Imre Thököly started out from Mukacheve. The region also played an important role in Rákóczi's War of Independence.

Austrian control and revolts

After the defeat of Francis II Rákóczi the city came under Austrian control in the mid-18th century as part of the Kingdom of Hungary and was made a key fortress of the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1726, the Palanok Castle and the town, before 1711 owned by the Rákóczi family, was given by the Habsburgs to the Schönborn family, who were responsible for an expansion of the town. They also settled many Germans in the territory, thereby causing an economic boom of the region. During 1796-1897, the city's castle, until then a strong fortress, became a prison. The Greek national hero Alexander Ypsilanti was imprisoned at the Palanok Castle between 1821 and 1823.

Mukacheve during and after the wars

In 1919, after the American-Rusyns agreed with Tomáš Masaryk to incorporate Carpathian Ruthenia into Czechoslovakia, the whole of Carpathian Ruthenia was occupied by Czechoslovak troops. On June 4, 1920, Mukacheve officially became part of Czechoslovakia by the Treaty of Trianon. In November 1938, a part of the territory of the former Kingdom of Hungary was re-annexed by Hungary as part of the First Vienna Award. Mukacheve was then the only town in Hungary with a Jewish majority until 1944, when all the Jews were deported to Auschwitz by the Nazi German Eichmann Commando. The Hungarian Jewish community was the last Jewish community in Europe to be subjected to deportation, and then only partially.

In the end of 1944, the Red Army stormed Carpathian Ruthenia. At first the territory was given to the reestabilished Czechoslovakia, then became part of the Soviet Union by a treaty between the two countries, later in 1945. The Soviet Union began a policy of expulsion of the Hungarian population. In 1945, the city was ceded to the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). In 2002, Mukacheve has been the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese comprising Transcarpathia.



According to the census of 1910, there were 17,275 people living in Mukacheve. Of these, 44.4% were Jewish, 23.6% Greek Catholic, 20.4% Roman Catholic, 10.3% Calvinist and 1.1% Lutheran. Out of its population of 17 275 inhabitants 12 686 (73,44%) were Hungarians.

In 1921, 21,000 people lived in Mukacheve. Of these, 48 percent were Jews, 24 percent were Ukrainians, and 22 percent were Hungarians.[3]

The city's population in 1966 was 50,500. Of these, 60% were Ukrainians, 18 percent Hungarians, 10% Russians and 6% Jews.[3]


According to the 2001 census, 82,200 people live in Mukachevo. Its population includes:[4]

  • Ukrainians (77.1%)
  • Russians (9.0%)
  • Hungarians (8.5%)
  • Germans (1.9%)
  • Roma (1.4%)
  • Jewish Czechoslovakians (1.1%)

Jewish community

See also Munkacs (Hasidic dynasty)

There are documents in the Berehove State Archives which indicate that Jews lived in Munkács and the surrounding villages as early as the second half of the seventeenth century. The Jewish community of Munkács was an amalgam of Galician & Hungarian Hasidic Jewry, Orthodox Jews, and Zionists. The town is most noted for its Chief Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira who led the community until his death in 1937.

By 1851 Munkacs supported a large yeshiva, thereby demonstrating the community’s commitment to Talmudic learning and piety.

Materially impoverished, yet wealthy in ideological debate, the Jews of interwar Munkacs constituted almost half of the town's population. The Munkacs Jewish community was famous for its Hasidic activity as well as its innovations in Zionism and modern Jewish education.[5]

The Jewish population of Munkacs grew from 2,131 in 1825 to 5,049 in 1891 (almost 50 percent of the total population) to 7,675 in 1910 (about 44 percent). By 1921, the 10,000 Jews still made up about half the residents, though by 1930, the proportion had dropped to 43 percent, with a little over 11,000 Jews. The Jews of Munkacs constituted 11 percent of the Jewry of Subcarpathian Rus.[5]

Interwar Munkacs had a very large Jewish population, which was most visible on the Shabbat. On that day most stores were closed and, after services, the streets filled with Hasidic Jews in their traditional garb. The first movie house in the town was established by a Hasidic Jew, and it too closed on the Shabbat and Jewish holidays.[5]

The Chief Rabbi of Munkacs, Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira (who led the community from 1913 until his death in 1937) was the most outspoken voice of religious anti-Zionism. He had succeeded his father, Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Spira, who had earlier inherited the mantle of leadership from his father Rabbi Shlomo Spira. He was also a Hasidic rebbe with a significant number of followers. Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira was succeeded by his son-in-law, Rabbi Baruch Yehoshua Yerachmiel Rabinowicz.

Along with the dominant Munkacser hasidic community there co-existed smaller yet vibrant Hasidic groups who were followers of the rebbes of Spinka, Zidichov, and Vizhnitz. By the time of the Holocaust there were nearly 30 synagogues in town, many of which were Shtieblech ("[small] house" - small [Hasidic] synagogues).

The Hebrew Gymnasium was founded in Munkacs five years after the first Hebrew speaking elementary school in Czechoslovakia was established there in 1920. It soon became the most prestigious Hebrew high school east of Warsaw. Zionist activism along with chasidic pietism contributed to a community percolating with excitement, intrigue and at times internecine conflict

In 1935, Chaim Kugel, formerly director of the Munkacs gymnasium (Jewish high school) and then Jewish Party delegate to the Czechoslovak Parliament, gave a speech during a parliamentary debate: "…It is completely impossible to adequately describe the poverty in the area. The Jews… are affected equally along with the rest…. I strongly wish to protest any attempt to blame the poverty of the Subcarpathian Ruthenian peasantry on the Jews" [6] (Kugel later got to Mandatory Palestine and eventually became mayor of the Israeli city of Holon).

Government policies were covertly directed against Jews, who bore a heavy share of taxes and had difficulty getting high civil service positions.[5]

In 1939, the Hungarians seized and annexed Subcarpathian Rus—including Munkacs—taking advantage of the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Though antisemitic legislation was introduced by the Hungarian authorities, Subcarpathian Rus, like the rest of Hungary, remained a relative haven for Jews until Germany occupied Hungary in 1944.[5]

In the spring of 1944 there were nearly 15,000 Jewish residents of the town. This ended on May 30, 1944 when the city was pronounced Judenrein (free of Jews after ghettoization and a series of deportations to Auschwitz).

Today, Mukacheve is experiencing a Jewish renaissance of sorts [7] with the establishment of a supervised kosher kitchen, a mikveh, Jewish summer camp in addition to the prayer services which take place three times daily. In July 2006, a new synagogue was dedicated on the site of a pre-war hasidic synagogue with the attendance of hundreds of local Jews from the Transcarpathia region and a delegation of 300 Hasidic Jews from the United States, Israel and Europe headed by the spiritual leader of Munkacs Hasidic Jewry, Rebbe Moshe Leib Rabinovich, who currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.[8]

Architectural landmarks

  • Palanok Castle, 14th century. The castle of Munkács played an important role during the anti-Habsburg revolts in this territory and present-day Slovakia (1604–1711), especially at the beginning of the anti-Habsburg Revolt of Imre Thököly (1685–1688), as well as at the beginning of the revolt of Ferenc II. Rákóczi (early 18th century). This important fortress became a prison from the end of the 18th century and was used until 1897. The Greek national hero Alexander Ypsilanti was imprisoned in Munkács castle from 1821 to 1823.
  • Saint Nicholas Monastery
  • Wooden church built in the Ukrainian architectural style, 18th century

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Mukachevo is twinned with:


See also



External links

  • Mukachevo. City Council - Mukachevo. City Council websute
  • - Mukachevo city portal
  • Newspaper "Mukachivsjka Ratusha" Official news Mukachevo Mayor
  • Mukachevo News, Panorama Mukachevo -
  • Mukacheve, Ukraine (Munkács, HU) ShtetLink on
  • - Mukachevo-news online
  • The Palanok Castle - Pictures of the Palanok castle and view on Mukachevo from Sergey Sorokin - a private mountain guide
  • Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  • - Site dedicated to the Palanok Castle
  • Google maps - Mukachevo
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Jewish Community of Munkacs
  • A Jewish Community in the Carpathian Mountains- The Story of Munkács - Yad Vashem
  • A Film of Jewish Life in Munkacs
  • security agency "schit"
  • -logo.svg 
  • Mukachevo Survey City tour
  • Mukacheve - ShtetLink
  • Mukacheve Mukachevo, historical information, archival and contemporary photos, landmarks English:
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