Vylkove, a Ukrainian city resembling Venice

Marusia Bilous | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Ukraine is an incredibly interesting and rich country with many amazing natural wonders, high mountains, wide rivers, and beautiful seas. In this article, we will introduce another wonder to you. It is a unique place - a true Ukrainian Venice without any filters and decorations. The Vylkove city, located in the Danube Delta, in the south of Odessa Region. It is the only city in Ukraine built on human-created islands. Besides, this city is the last settlement on the banks of the Danube River in Ukraine. It is here that the majestic Danube flows into the Black Sea.

The unique city on the water

What are the commons between Vylkove and Venice? The answer is simple - canals. Vylkove is converging on seventy-two small islands that washed by a huge number of canals or “herics” (auth. the local name of the canal). However, Ukrainian Venice is a poor city without good infrastructure. The so-called Lipovans - Russian Old Believers (old ritualists) who escaped from the Russian Empire to the Danube Delta in the 17th century during a church split, created this unique settlement. This terrain was not intended for construction at all. Nevertheless, thanks to hard work and the desire to preserve their faith and community, the Lipovians built a city here. 

© iStock /JuliaLototskaya

Vylkove consists of about 70 islands, which are broken by a huge number of canals. Because of the large number of developments, the canals eventually began to turn into real rivers, and at some point in time, the city was entirely surrounded by water. Traffic on the city streets could be done only by boat. Little bridges were built between the houses. Today, many canals become small and dirty, but in the city centre, you can still see how people lived here more than 200 years ago. 

Zero Kilometre

From Vylkove, you can book a guided excursion to Zero Kilometre. The Danube is the second largest river in Europe. Its water flows through ten countries and four capitals. The river originates in the Black Forest of Germany and ends with the Black Sea. Usually, the length of the river calculates from its source, but in the case of the Danube, the situation is the opposite. The Zero Kilometre is the place where the Danube flows into the sea. Due to the muddy delta, the colour of the Danube is brownish-green, so its borders can be easily seen near the blue waters of the Black Sea.

The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve

The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, which is home to more than half of the bird species in all regions of the country, starts in Vylkove. The real wonder of this reserve is the pink pelican you will not regularly find in Ukraine. The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve covers more than 47,000 hectares. To learn more about the sanctuary and see its inhabitants, you can take a separate excursion from Vylkove

© iStock /Volodymyr Kucherenko

Ukrainian Venice can be safely called a hidden treasure because sightseeing tours here are a rare occurrence. Because of a very bad road, it is not easy to get to this place from Odessa. Therefore, the best is to go there by car. You should be ready for a trip that can take you from 3.5 to 5 hours from Odessa and only 200 km. Some tourists joke that Vylkove is more like Kerala in India, not Venice. In any case, if you like to discover the hidden treasures of our planet, you need to go to Vylkove - Ukrainian Venice, an unaltered beauty without any decorations and filters.

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