Mukachevo is a lovely city in Western Ukraine, nestled in the Carpathian Mountains. It's culture has been influenced not only by the nation of Ukraine, but its nearby neighbors Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Romania.
While most of its inhabitants are native Ukrainians, the population is very diverse. There are people from this region, U.N. refugees from Africa, Ukrainians who have to relocate from the eastern part due to Russian aggression, a large Roma population, and more.
Ukrainian is the official language, but Russian, Hungarian, and a local Transcarpathian dialect are also prevalent. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, unlike the rest of the nation which identifies as Eastern Orthodox. There is also a strong Jewish influence in this community.
The city straddles the lovely Latorytsa river and is surrounded by the breathtaking Carpathian mountains, but is only a train ride away from cities such as Lviv and Kyiv.
Mukachevo city is a mix of the old and new with cobblestone streets, churches that date back to the 11th century, a history that goes back to the first century B.C., and horse-drawn wagons sharing the streets with new Mercedes Sprinters.
The contrasts continue with a modern mall sitting across the street from the Green Rinok where you can buy freshly butchered meat, vegetables and fruits, grains, spices, and household goods. Lining the streets outside are more people selling their produce out of boxes and fresh milk in repurposed plastic bottles.
The city is filled with Catholic and Orthodox churches, has nearby monasteries, and even has a castle. The architecture is stunning!
The city is also dotted with statues from Biblical and historical figures to random geese that pop up in the most surprising locations to a chimney sweep. At night you can see the castle illuminated atop a hill that sits above the rest of the city, rumored to have been built one shovelful at a time.