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Monday, October 12, 2015
Wooden Churches of the Carpathian Mountains # 37 - Kostryna, Ukraine
Kostryna is a small village in the north-western part of Zakarpattya region in Ukraine, close to the borders with Slovakia and Poland. The church stands at the top of a hill above the village in a clearing among the trees. New wooden steps added in 2013 lead the way up the hill from the road. The church is a fascinating example of a hybrid architectural style encompassing both Boyko and Lemko elements in its design. This is apparent in the large, dominant central tower above the nave, a feature of Boyko design, combined with the three towers descending in height from the bell tower above the entrance area, a feature of Lemko style.
The Church of the Intercession was built in 1761 and the original structure is a fine example of Boyko design. However, the addition of a taller bell tower above the entrance area in place of the original tower converted the style of the church from Boyko to Lemko, showing the dominant influence of Lemko style in this region in the early nineteenth century. This modification likely occurred around the year 1800. The largest bell in the tower was taken and melted down as part of the war effort in the Hungarian revolution of 1848, and was later replaced with a new bell in 1899.
According to some accounts the church originally stood in a nearby village and the people of Kostryna purchased it and moved it to its present location in 1703. The church has been lucky to survive until the present day; in the 1860s the villagers planned to replace the wooden church with a new stone church on the same site, but a lack of funds prevented this from happening. Enough money for a new stone church was finally collected by 1914, but the outbreak of World War One stopped construction, and following the war devaluation of the currency they had collected prevented construction of a stone church yet again.
Kostryna can be reached from Uzhgorod by elektrichka (regional train) or by marshrutka (minibus). There are several buses and trains per day travelling in each direction, so making a day trip to Kostryna from Uzhgorod by public transport is possible. The minibuses are usually very full and often uncomfortable, so the train is a more pleasant way to travel there. The beautiful mountain scenery in the region is more easily seen from the windows of the train as well.