The Dovbush trail is a popular tourist route that winds along the beautiful beech-juniper-fir forest, smoothly rising to the famous mountain Makovitsa.
Once in these parts people’s insurgents hid, in history they are known as oprichki, their leader was the Ukrainian Robin Hood – Olexa Dovbush, who really lived here in 1738-1745 and became famous as a defender of ordinary people.
Today, centuries later, bravery, heroism and justice remember the local people, so it is not surprising that in his memory in 1902 the tourist attraction of the Ivano-Frankivsk region was officially opened – the Dovbush Trail.
But, before we begin our story, let’s see who is Olexa Dovbush and oprichki?
Who are oprichki?
The first historical mention of “oprichki” dates back to 1498.
During this period, the Ukrainian people experienced a fairly strong feudal and serf-owning oppression, so people could not stand it and began to unite into groups of popular movements, which later were called oprichki.
It should be noted that the peasants consciously became the peasants, tortured with injustice, who were fighting for their weapons, with the goal of getting rid of the races and permanently from the cruel oppression of strangers.
The oppressed people challenged the Polish gentry, Hungarian feudal lords, Moldovan boyars, and also proudly opposed the Austrian empire.
This popular resistance to Oprichkism lasted a very long time from the 16th to the beginning of the 19th century.
As a rule, they acted on partisan military tactics, were organized by small detachments in the territory of the Carpathian region, eventually covered Bukovina and Transcarpathia.
They skillfully hid in the Carpathian mountains, but from time to time they attacked only the rich landowners, mercilessly plundered, burnt their estates and destroyed them with documents that confirmed the ownership of the land.
The looted was shared among ordinary people, for which they earned the respect of the peasants and great support.
Therefore, thanks to the tremendous support of ordinary people, the remarkable knowledge of the surrounding area, skillful conspiracy, as well as sudden attacks, the oprichki managed to successfully resist the local authorities for a fairly long period.
But, it should be noted that the peak of activity of the movement fell on 1730-1740.
During this period oprichkov was headed by Olexa Dovbush.
Who is Olexa Dovbush?
To begin with, it should be noted that Oleksa Dovbush is a real historical figure who was born in 1700 in the village of Pechenezin, Ivano-Frankivsk region, in the family of a storekeeper.
Poverty and cruel treatment to the working people of the local gentry, prompted young Olex to go on the road of a rebel, protect the weak and restore justice.
As a result, he joined the movement of oprichki and eventually became their leader.
They often attacked well-to-do landlords and rich people who were extremely cruel to the common people.
As a rule, all the seized property of the wealthy Olex was distributed to the peasants.
As evidence and irrefutably confirm the historical data in 1738 Olexa already appears as a famous Carpathian robber and leader of the oprichki.
At one time, a Polish army of 2.5 thousand people was sent to capture him, and a specially created detachment of 150 people was engaged in a constant search in the mountains, the purpose of which was to catch Oleksa and the oprichki.
But, their efforts did not bring success, folk heroes were simply elusive.
The brave Dovbush was feared by the Polish nobles and the simple people were proud of him, who often turned to him for protection.
If you do not delve into the history and legends, the generous reward was appointed for the head of the leader of the oprichki, in the end, in 1745, Dovbush was wounded, then taken prisoner and after long tortures he did not become. According to historical data, the local inhabitant from Kosmachi village, Stepan Dzvinchuk, who was unable to resist the generosity of the Polish gentry, is guilty of Olexi’s death.
After the death of a famous oprichka, intending to intimidate the local population, his body was transported to neighboring villages for several days. Further to intensify the effect of intimidation, the body of the deceased was quartered, a severed head was planted on a stake, which was demonstratively shown in Kosmach.
Olexa Dovbush the hero of our time
Today, you can endlessly conduct a discussion about the activities or death of Oleksa Dovbush.
And only one does not cause a dispute, he is still a hero of our time, as, for example, Taras Shevchenko.
Dovbush is forever imprinted in the history of the Ukrainian people in numerous legends, books and in feature films like: “The Legend of Dovbush,” “The Legend of the Carpathians.”
Today in his honor called the streets, open local history museums, print stamps.
The activities of the national hero are also reminiscent of numerous toponyms:
known tourist attractions of the Ivano-Frankivsk region, which include: “Dovbush rock”, “Dovbush stone” and “Dovbush rock”.
The Dovbush trail is a natural tourist attraction among the amazing beauty of the Carpathian Mountains, which was officially opened in 1902, in honor of Oleksa Dovbush.
It symbolizes the thirst for freedom and pride for a man that bravely fought for a simple Ukrainian people, who were respected during their lifetime and remembered to this day, centuries later.
Ideal for summer holidays, traveling with children, green tourism.
A well-known hiking trail starts from the no less popular tract “Dribka”, then smoothly rises to massive rocks from where a beautiful panorama of the surroundings opens and then descends, forming a kind of ring.
The total length of the route is 9 km (4.5 rise + 4.5 release).
Route along the Dovbush trail
So, we leave on the start of the route, which starts along the street of Freedom (the city of Yaremche).
As a guide, there is a wooden sign in the best traditions of Hutsul masters, it is located just by the road.
Right behind the sign begins the majestic Carpathian forest, where its own unique life flows. Moving along the path in front of you will open a real forest fairy tale, from which you do not want to leave. The majestic moss-covered trees proudly rise to the sky, the wind wanders among the foliage singing its melody, somewhere near and far in the distance birds are singing, even from time to time the call of a hawk hovering above the mountains is heard.
If you look around, you can see a masterfully woven web on which the transparent pearls of the dew are hanging, creating an incredible beauty of the composition.
Small bilberry bushes, like a hospitable hostess, will treat you with a fragrant juicy berry. From time to time, one can see single strawberry bushes that are densely covered with favorite delicacies of children. A pure mountain air saturated with the aroma of forest grasses, flowers will fill you with positive energy and good mood.
On the route there are several remarkable stone works of the sculptor Darius Grabar, which the author shone on the people’s avengers.
Along the route, everyone can get acquainted with very interesting and informative information about the local attractions, which is indicated on the stands.
As a rule, most of the route passes along a dirt path, but there are areas where it is worth to be very cautious because of the stoniness.
Some of these sites have handrails, for convenience.
Further along the route, you will see a massive rock accumulation – the Dovbush Rock.
Some of them reach a 20-meter height, so here often train climbers.
But, it should be noted that you should not confuse the local Dovbush Rocks (Yaremche) from Dovbush Rocks, which are located near the village of Bubnishche in the Ivano-Frankivsk region.
These are completely different sights of Ukraine.
Along the perimeter of the rocks there are several observation platforms where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the Ukrainian Carpathians and relax a bit.
If you believe the legend, then in these rocks there is a secret cave, where the hidden treasure of Oleksa Dovbush is hidden. Only find it can only be the person who uses gold in favor of the common people.
Further, if there is a desire, you can continue your route to the top of Mount Makovice from where you can see an amazing panorama to the surroundings. In order not to get lost keep pointer, which will lead you to the intended goal.
Tips for tourists
I want to note that the route runs through the ring and if you stick to it, you will go back to the starting point.
But there is another possibility of descent to Yaremche.
In this case, from the foot of Mount Makovice you can go straight to the waterfall of Probi, and visit a small souvenir market.
What to see in Yaremche?
1. The Waterfall of Proby;
2. Rock “The Elephant”;
4. Waterfall “Girl’s Tears”;
5. Park-Museum “Carpathians in Miniature”.