Zakarpattia Oblast (Ukrainian: Закарпатська область, translit. Zakarpats’ka oblast’; Rusyn: Подкарпатьска област, translit. Podkarpat’ska oblast; Hungarian: Kárpátontúli terület, Kárpátalja; Slovak: Zakarpatská oblasť; also referred to as the Transcarpathian Oblast, Transcarpathia, Zakarpattya, or historically Subcarpathian Rus) is an administrative oblast (province) in western Ukraine. Its administrative center is the city of Uzhhorod. Other major cities within the oblast include Mukachevo, Khust, Berehove and Chop which is home to railroad transport infrastructure.
Zakarpattia Oblast was formally established on January 22, 1946 after the annexation of Subcarpathian Rus lands to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. During the Ukrainian independence referendum held in 1991, Zakarpattia Oblast voters were given a separate option on whether or not they favored autonomy for the region. Although a large majority favored autonomy, it was not granted.
Zakarpattia Oblast is in the Carpathian Mountains landscape of western Ukraine, and is the only Ukrainian administrative division which borders upon four countries: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. The Carpathian Mountains play a major part in the oblast's economy, making the region an important tourist and travel destination housing many ski and spa resorts.
The oblast is ranked 23rd by area and 17th by population. According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, the population of Zakarpattia Oblast is 1,254,614. Excluding Ukrainians, this total includes people of many different nationalities of which Hungarians, Romanians and Rusyns constitute significant minorities in some of the province's cities, while in others, they form the majority of the population (as in the case of Berehove).
Zakarpattia Oblast has a total area of 12,800 km² and is in the Carpathian Mountains region of western Ukraine. It is the only Ukrainian oblast to have boundaries with four countries: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. On the West it borders the Prešov and Košice Regions of Slovakia and Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg Counties of Hungary, on the South—the Satu Mare and Maramureş Counties of Romania, on the East and Northeast—Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, and on the North—Lviv Oblast and the Subcarpathian Voivodeship of Poland.
Zakarpattia Oblast mostly consists of mountains and small hills covered with deciduous and coniferous forests, as well as alpine meadows. Mountains cover about 80% of the oblast's area, and cross from North-East to South-East. The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians, part of which are within Zakarpattia Oblast, were recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
The largest rivers that flow through the oblast include the Tysa, Borzhava, and the Tereblia. The region's climate is moderate and continental with about 700-1000 millimetres of rainfall per year. The average temperature in summer is +21°С (70°F) and -4°С (25 °F) in winter. With a total height of 2,061 metres (6,762 ft), Hoverla, part of the Chornohora mountain range, is the tallest point in the oblast. The lowest point, 101 metres above sea level, is in the village of Ruski Heyevtsi in the Uzhhorodskyi Raion.
The four of the oblast's historical-cultural sites were nominated for the Seven Wonders of Ukraine competition in 2007: Palanok Castle, Museum upon the Chorna River, Mykhailiv Orthodox Church, and the Nevytsky Castle.
Zakarpattia was part of Kingdom of Hungary, later Austria-Hungary until the latter's demise at the end of World War I. This region was briefly part of the short-lived West Ukrainian National Republic in 1918 and occupied by Romania at end of that year. It was later recaptured by Hungary in the summer of 1919. Finally, it joined the newly formed Czechoslovakia as Subcarpathian Rus, of which it formed one of the four main regions, the others being Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia.
During the World War II German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the southern part of the region was awarded to Hungary under the First Vienna Award in 1938. The remaining portion was constituted as an autonomous region of the short-lived Second Czecho-Slovak Republic. After the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15, 1939 and the Slovak declaration of an independent state, Ruthenia declared its independence (Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine) but it was immediately occupied and later annexed by Hungary.
During the German occupation of Hungary in 1944, almost the entire Jewish population was deported; few survived the Holocaust. When the Soviet Army crossed the pre-1938 borders of Czechoslovakia in 1944, Soviet authorities refused to allow Czechoslovak governmental officials to resume control over the region, and in June 1945, President Edvard Beneš formally signed a treaty ceding the area to the Soviet Union. It was then incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, it became part of independent Ukraine as Zakarpattia Oblast.
The province has a unique footnote in history as the only region in the former Soviet Union to have had an American governor: its first governor was Gregory Zatkovich, an American citizen who had earlier emigrated from the region and represented the Rusyn community in the U.S. Zatkovich was appointed governor by Czechoslovakia's first president, Tomáš Masaryk, in 1920 and served for about one year until he resigned over differences regarding the region's autonomy.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine held an independence referendum in which the residents of Zakarpattia were asked about the Zakarpattia Oblast Council's proposal for self rule. About 78% of the oblast's population voted in favor of autonomy, however, it was not granted. There were also propositions of separating from Ukraine to rejoin Czechoslovakia, but after Czechoslovakia's dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on January 1, 1993, these ideas have been rendered largely moot.
On October 25, 2008, delegates to the Congress Of Carpathian Ruthenians declared the formation of the Republic of Carpathian Ruthenia. The prosecutor’s office of Zakarpattia region has filed a case against Russian Orthodox Church priest Dmytro Sidor and Yevhen Zhupan, an Our Ukraine deputy of the Zakarpattia regional council and chairman of the People’s Council of Ruthenians, on charges of encroaching on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.
Zakarpattia Oblast's local administration is controlled by the Zakarpattia Oblast Council (rada). The Chairman of the Council is Mykhailo Kichkovskyi, elected from the People's Union "Our Ukraine" party. Kichkovsky holds this position since his election in April 2006.
The Zakarpattia Oblast Rada consists of a total of 90 deputies. Based on the March 26, 2006 regional election results, the distribution of the council's mandates is as follows: 30 mandates for the People's Union "Our Ukraine;" 25 for the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc; 7 for the Lytvyn People's Bloc; 5 for the Party of Hungarians of Ukraine "KMKS;" 4 for the Democratic Party of Hungarians of Ukraine; and 4 for the Socialist Party of Ukraine.
Zakarpattia Oblast is administratively subdivided into 13 raions (districts), as well as 5 cities (municipalities) which are directly subordinate to the oblast government: Berehove, Chop, Khust, Mukachevo, and the administrative center of the oblast, Uzhhorod. There are a total of 7 cities, 19 towns, and more than 579 villages.
The following data incorporates the number of each type of administrative divisions of Zakarpattia Oblast:
- Administrative Center — 1 (Uzhhorod);
- Raions — 13;
- City raions — 0;
- Settlements — 609, including:
- Selsovets — 307.
Largest cities and towns in the province are (with population figures in 2007):
- Uzhhorod (118,231)
- Mukachevo (81,344)
- Khust (27,506)
- Berehove (25,288)
- Vynohradiv (24,366)
- Svaliava (16,217)
- Rakhiv (14,416)
- Tiachiv (9,256)
- Mizhhiria (9,133)
- Irshava (9,000)
- Velykyy Bychkiv (8,920)
- Solotvyno (8,774)
- Dubove (8,745)
- Velyki Luchky (8,540)
- Chop (8,436)
- Ilnytsia (8,420)
- Bushtyno (8,091)
Although ethnic Ukrainians are in majority here (80.5%), other ethnic groups are relatively numerous in Zakarpattia. The largest of these are Hungarians (12.1%), Romanians (2.6%), Russians (2.5%), Roma (1.1%), Slovaks (0.5%) and Germans (0.3%). The Ukrainian government does not recognize the Rusyn people living in that country as a distinct nationality but rather as an ethnic group of Ukrainians. About 10,100 people (0.8%) identify themselves as Rusyns according to the last census.
Their languages and culture are respected by the provision of education, clubs, etc. in their respective languages. Those who recognize Ukrainian as their native language total 81.0% of the population, Hungarian — 12.7%, Russian — 2.9%, Romanian — 2.6%, and Rusyn — 0.5% Residents in seven of Mukachivskyi Raion's villages have the option to learn the Hungarian language in a school or home school environment.
Zakarpattia is home to approximately 14,000 ethnic Roma (otherwise known as Gypsies), the largest population of Roma in Ukraine. The first Hungarian College in Ukraine is in Berehovo, the II. Rákoczi Ferenc College.
The oblast's main industry includes woodworking. Other industries include food, light industry, and mechanical engineering. Segment of foodstuffs in the structure of ware production of national consumption is 45%. The total number of large industrial organisations is 319, compared to 733 small industrial organisations.
The most common crops grown within the region include cereals, potatoes and other vegetables. In 1999, the total amount of grain produced was 175,800 tons, of sunflower seeds — 1,300 tons, and potatoes — 378,200 tons. The region also produced 76,100 tons of meat, 363,400 tons of milk and 241,900,000 eggs. The total amount of registered farms in the region was 1,400 in 1999.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zakarpattia Oblast.|
- carpathia.gov.ua — Official website of Zakarpattia Oblast Administration
- Verkhovna Rada website — Zakarpattia Oblast data
- Photos and infrastructure objects of Zakarpattia on interactive map (Ukrainian Navigational Portal)
- Zakarpattia Early & Recent History, and Photos
- all.zakarpattya.net — All about Zakarpattia
- mukachevo.net — Zakarpattia Oblast informational portal
- map.meta.ua — Digital map of Zakarpattia Oblast
- Zakarpattia Oblast - photographs