Mukachevо (Мукачево)
Mukacheve (Мукачеве)
Panorama of Mukachevo

Coat of arms
Map of Zakarpattia Oblast with Mukachevo.
Mukachevо (Мукачево) is located in Ukraine
Mukachevо (Мукачево)
Location of Mukachevo
Coordinates: 48°27′00″N 22°45′00″E / 48.45°N 22.75°E / 48.45; 22.75Coordinates: 48°27′00″N 22°45′00″E / 48.45°N 22.75°E / 48.45; 22.75
Coat of Arms of Transcarpathian Oblast.png Zakarpattia Oblast
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

Mukachevo or Mukacheve (Ukrainian: Мукачево, 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 Mukachevo air base.

Mukachevo has a Ukrainian majority (77.1%) with a significant minority of Russians (9.0%), Hungarians (8.5%), Germans (1.9%) 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) or Мукачово (Mukachovo). Other names are Hungarian: Munkács; Romanian: Muncaci, Munceag; Russian: Мукачево, (Mukachevo); Polish Mukaczewo; Slovak and Czech: Mukačevo; German: Munkatsch; Yiddish: מונקאטש, Munkatsh, Minkatsh.


Early history: 9th-16th centuries

For earlier history (Great Moravia or Kievan Rus'), see Carpathian Ruthenia.

From the 9th to 11th centuries, Mukachevo may have been part for a time of the Kievan Rus' state. In 1018, Mukachevo was taken by the Hungarians and became a center of power of Hungarian kings.[citation needed] In 1397, the town and its surrounding was granted by King Sigismund of Hungary to 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, Mukachevo became part of the Principality of Transylvania. Anti-Habsburg revolts took place during 1604-1711, within the territories and in present-day Slovakia. A gymnasium was established in the city in 1646. During 1685-1688, the beginning of the anti-Habsburg Revolt of Imre Thököly took place in Mukachevo.

Austrian control and revolts

Mukachevo statue of Jelena Zrinska with her son, the young Ferenc II Rákóczi.

During the early 18th century, the beginning of the revolt led by Ferenc II Rákóczi took place here. During the mid-late 18th century, the city came under Austrian control 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 an all-European political prison, after the Storming of the Bastille. During 1821-1823, the Greek national hero Alexander Ypsilanti was imprisoned at the Palanok Castle.

Mukachevo during and after the wars

Mukachevo's town hall.
Orthodox Church in Mukachevo

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, Mukachevo 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. Mukachevo 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, Mukachevo has been the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese comprising Transcarpathia.



According to the census of 1910, there were 17,275 people living in Mukachevo. Of these, 44.4% were Jewish, 23.6% Greek Catholic, 20.4% Roman Catholic, 10.3% Calvinist and 1.1% Lutheran.

In 1921, 21,000 people lived in Mukachevo. 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 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 passing 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

Latorica river

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, Mukachevo 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]


Panorama of Mukachevo

Architectural landmarks

The Palanok Castle in Mukachevo (14th century).
  • 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

Twin towns

Mukachevo is twinned with


See also


External links

This article incorporates text from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has been released under the GFDL.

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