Chapter 1

Western Carpathian Lands

What is this Lemkivshchyna?

Lemkivshchyna - that is a decent spread of land on both sides of western Carpathian Mountains from rivers Syan and Uzh to river Poprad. This spread of land is about 100 km long, and about 60 km wide. Here resides the Ukrainian tribe known as Lemkos. As I said, Lemkos are a Ukrainian tribe, sticking out farthest to the south west from the remaining land, that is inhabited by Ukrainians. Lemkos inhabit the space of 100 km of Carpathian foothills on both sides, along Carpathian mountains themselves. As part of Lemkivshchyna we include also these 16 villiges, north of Korosno: Blizyanka, with neighboring Hvozdyanka, Malivka, Barichka, Poloma, Yavirnik, Hvoznitsa, Zharnova, Nebil'tse, Bonarivka with Visotski Budy, Vanivka (Weglowka), Krasna, Oparivka, Ripnik, Chornoriki. These villages are surrounded by Polish villages, however they yearn more towards Lemkivshchyna and there is no doubt that earlier they were part of it.

One look at the map, and we see that borders of Lemkivshchyna form a triangle.

In the south east, Volosad Beskid guards the border, and an ethnographic dividing line runs along river Volosadka - northwards by Seredne Selo, includes little towns of Uhertsi and Lis'ko. Here it turns slightly in the north-westerly direction close to the village of Voloska Tiryava, Dobra, and Ilyucha. Then leads straight north to the town of Dunova, to the village of Yavirnika, where it makes a sharp turn alongside Kanchuha, Markovoi, Lan'tsut, Turinya, up to Ryashiv (Rzeszow - wm) railroad tracks, from Ryashiv leads to Pstruhova, Frishtak, Osibnitsya, Bich, Lunenin, Mohil'na. Along the rocky hills it crosses settlement Vil'shanka, across Noviy Sanch to Stariy Sanch. From there it heads for Korostenko, from Korostenko, it leaves on the right side, currently foreign to us villages. From Korostenko, it includes mountain Rabshtin, villigaes of Pivnichna, Zhubrik, runs along mountain Skalka, across Mushina, mountains Vapenni on Zimniy Shpil', mountains Visokye, and Berestya. Takes a fancy hop close to villages of Mushinka, Tilich, Polyanki, Bilich, across Ostriy Verkh, Blikhnarsku Visoku, by hamlets of Rehetiv, Konechnu, Radotsinu, with the hill of Tisove, and the village of Tikhannya. From the mountain Yavoristi it climbs across Studeniy Verkh. Overtakes Dukla hills, villages of Zindranova, Cheremkha, Yaselko with the river Yasel'. It disappears in the Moshchanrets forest, runs along the border peaks across Vislichanskye uphills, then south-east up to the stream of Solinka, across peaks of Kizlata and Vyasela. It finally descends along the stream of Richitsy to Volosatka - Volosatskye uphills.

Lemkivshchyna lies roughly over a similar stretch of land on the southern slopes of the Carpathians; in the East from rivers Uzh with Ulichka, Laborets with Tsirka, Ondava valley, Tarcheva in the South, to the source of river Poprad, in the West.
This triangle includes within itself, in the south-eastern corner areas by Balihorod, slightly to the north the town of Lisko, with its hamlets. Above it lie areas around Sanok (Syanichyna) and Rymaniv (Rymanivshchyna), that at an angle into lands known as mezhilaborets-Kalinivshchina. Nearby lie areas by Dyniv, with Bereziv, and Ryashiv to the north. The western part stretches in the north over the lands by Noviy Sanch - and slightly to the south areas around Stariy Sanch. The western corner is filled by areas around Korosten'ko, with which border areas around Horlitsi, and in the north areas around Hribiv. Along the longest, southern edge of this triangle lie: furthest to the west, areas around Mushina, with these villages sticking out furthest to the west - Bila Voda, Chorna Voda, Shlyakhtova, Yavirki; on the other side of the Carpathians with Osturna, followed by areas around Rehetiv, Korosno including Dukla, which merges in the east with the Rimaniv-Syanik district. The center of this Carpathian base consists of areas around Yaslo and Strizhkiv - in the north.

That is more or less the ethnographic map of the western Carpathian lands.
Ukrainian linguist, Yosip Shemley, reports in his short research paper "Z badan ' nad gwara Lemkowska" (Research about the Lemko dialect) the border of Lemkivsh chyna, outlined on the basis of localities and their speech patterns at that tim e. He supplemented these notes with his own material, which he recorded in 1932, for the counties of Horlitsi and Yaslo.
He writes: (we cite according to tr anslation by Shemleyev). Except for furthest sticking to the west Osturnya, whic h is surrounded by villages with Polish population, areas populated by Lemkos start at the river Dunayets. Four villages: Shlyakhtova, Yavirki, Chorna Voda and Bila Voda, form a union with Lemko villages on the Slovak soil. From Zhehestov and Zubrik runs a line to the north, bypassing polish (Dr. P. Dombovski "Stosunki narodowosciowe ziemi sanockiej", Lviv, 1926, reports that Lemkos lived there up to the XV th century) Pivnichna, across Mala Verkhovnya, Velika Verkhovnya, Rostok, Labova, to Ruska Koroleva, from here runs across Bohusha, Binchareva, Florinka, Vafka, bypasses polish Ropa, to Shklyarok and Shimbark (polish village, with the exception of hamlets, "Nad Izdom" and "Dolina"; crosses to Velika Mushina, and Mala Mushina, Rozdilya, Bodnarka, to Tseklinska Volya (with small Ukrainian population), to Klopitnitsya and Prehrimka. By Zhmihorod, the line continues through the following villages: Berezova, Skal'nik, Kuti, Mistseva, Hirova, Terstyana, Zavadka Rimanivska, (Voloski) and Polskiy Korolik, Balutyanka, Vil'ka, Korolivski and Shlyakhots'kiy Voroblik, and ends across partially Ukrainian Ladin' to Bos'ko. From the (river) Visloka, by Bos'ko - the northern border of Lemkivshchyna runs, as it approaches the kneecap of river Syan, by Voloska and Sil'na Tiryava, in Syanichina; from here it turns south along the Oslava creek (slightly to the east of it) across villages: Stare Zahirya, Velikopole, Kulyashne, from Turin to Lupkiv Pass. The further border of Lemkivshchyna in the east (in the Zakarpatya) is the river Virava, the left tributary of Laborets', (village of Zbiyne displays constant stress, except for some words with moving, or "passing" stress). All localities to the west of Virava, seperately from Laborets with the Ukrainian population of the former Zeplinsk, Sharisk and Spis'k komitats (administrative unit of Hungary, with local authority, corresponds to former Russian gubernia, exists since the X th century), belongs to Lemkivshchyna, and its population calls itself Lemaki (Lemki)."

This work taken together with another, research by professor dr Ivan Zilinski " Lemkivska hovirka sela Yavirok" (Lemko dialect of the village Yavirok), based on the new research prove that the dialect of the Lemkos is without exceptions a Ukrainian dialect, and that a Lemko from time immemorial is a Ukrainian. Best example of this is the dialect in the village of Yavirok, even though this village is sticking a lot to the west, and a strong influence of Slovak and Polish languages is felt, in its conversational foundation, the dialect of this village belongs to the Ukrainian dialects.

Besides this, even during the previous century, researchers, linquists such as Ivan Verkhratskiy, Ukrainian scholar, naturalist and philologist (1846 - 1919), researcher of the Galician-Ukrainian dialects, wrote "Pro hovir Halitskikh Lemkiv." (About the dialect of the Galician Lemkos) Lviv, 1902, and many scientific papers dealing with ethnology (Greek for knowledge about peoples) and dialectology (Greek for science dealing with dialects), and also Olyaf Brokh, professor at the University of Oslo (Norway), norwegian philologist, active member of the Shevchenko Society, author of an excellent book dealing with slavic phonetics "Slavische Phonetik" and "Ocherku fizyologii slovyanskoy ryechi", described dialect of the village Ubli in the Zakarpatya - both prove in great detail, that the Lemko dialect, originates from the Ukrainian language, and it's within this field, that it should be researched.

View towards the village of Hyrova, near Dukla
From the cited works of I. Shemley, professor I. Zilinski, professor I. Verkhratskiy, and professor O. Brokh, taken together, that is a proof, that Lemkivshchyna from time immemorial is part of the Ukrainian soil.

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Page prepared by Walter Maksimovich

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© LV Productions, Ltd.  Originally Composed: April 8th, 1996
Date last modified: February 25th, 2003