Uniqueness of Vilkovo city
Why are we going on holidays “over the hills and far away”? While being attracted by new knowledge, we want to see places unlike our everyday living environment. And having chosen for our holidays a place having natural, geographical, architectural or historical background we turn such vacation into an educative journey. Holiday in Vilkovo is not only a mind-and-body refreshment but an exciting journey to the unique region of the Danube delta. You can admit on faith or you can come, see and make sure that you won’t find anywhere such a collection of unique places in one area. It’s for you to judge.

1. The ethno-confessional community of Russian Old Believers nicknamed “Lipovans” lives in Vilkovo, who over the centuries created and preserved their quite closed spiritual and cultural, but economically open world. Lipovans managed to preserve their original identity among the variety of Bessarabia ethnic groups and represent a unique subculture in the Danube delta region.

Липоване — город ВилковоЛиповане — город Вилково

Lipovans – are Russian Old Believers who fled from Russia to the Danube delta during Nikon church dissent in the XVII century. The followers of “ancient piety” run to faraway places, they run from violation of their faith and came to the Danube lands. Here, in the Danube delta they’ve got everything what they were looking for – the land of promise, or rather haven’t got, but created it by their own hands having paved of sludge thousands cubic meters of soil. Here they managed to keep their identity in environment of other ethnic groups. And here, on the banks of the Danube, the Old Believers were nicknamed “Lipovans.” That means “they pave” in Walachian language. Local old-timers say that a real Lipovan – is someone who was born onshore the Danube delta, “My father is a real Lipovan, he was born on the island, he is a Reed bed Lipovan!”. Religious identity of Old Believers and life in difficult environment formed an interesting kind of subculture attributed only to Vylkove citizens.

2. Vilkovo is the one Ukrainian city built on the man-made islands. Established by Lipovans, Vilkovo is located in the mouth of the Danube; this is the last settlement on the banks of this beautiful river. Lipovans created their own land, raising it from the mud with their own hands. They paved the whole city!
The Lipovans, these Old Believers came to the wild wetlands of the Danube estuary in the seventeenth century. Survival in harsh environmental conditions required tremendous will, self-belief and a titanic toil for territories improving. A land plot designated for housing was cleared of reeds; manually mucked out; the silt was used for paving (raising) the land plot, the shallow channels formed in the place of silt. In such a way the area both for housing and vegetable garden has been paved; therefore, a paving was made one and a half or two meters above the water level. Just imagine: to pave a land plot of six acres, more than one thousand cubic meters of silt should be mucked out and laid! Thus, the channel part of Vilkovo stretched along 72 man-made islands.

Город ВилковоГород ВилковоГород Вилково
Город ВилковоЕрик в городе ВилковоПрогулки по городу Вилково
3. Vilkovo is surrounded by the Danube biosphere reserve. By UNESCO decision the Danube biosphere reserve with total area of over 50,000 hectares, was included in the global network of biospheric conservancy areas as a part of bilateral Romanian-Ukrainian biosphere reserve “The Danube delta” one of the five transnational reserved areas in the world. The Danube biosphere reserve is a habitat of a huge number of rare plants and animals put in the Red Book of Ukraine and so-called international Red Lists. Vilkovo, with its unique history, original identity and way of life, can also be called a reserve, the conservancy of culture, manners and customs of Lipovans.

Пеликаны на берегу Чёрного моряЗакат — река Дунай город ВилковоПеликаны на берегу Чёрного моря
4. Vilkovo city just like Alaska in the United States of America and Kaliningrad in the Russian Federation has a “torn off” territory reporting to Vilkovo City Council the Snake island. The Snake Island is located in the Black Sea, a distance from Vilkovo to the island is 52 kilometers. PU “Ostrovnoe” provides group tours to the Snake Island. This is an unforgettable journey to the island covered with legends.

Остров Змеиный в Черном мореОстров Змеиный в Черном море
5. The only monument in the world to Old Believer has been erected in Vilkovo, the locals call it “a monument to Lipovan”. Usually the monuments are designated to perpetuate historical events or people. A monument to Lipovan reflects historical era of the Danube delta settlement by Old Believers. This artwork is created by the Honored Artist of Ukraine Alexandr Petrovich Tokarev, the author of famous monuments: “The sailor’s wife” at the Odessa harbor, Utyosov and Utochkin monuments at Deribasovskaya street, monuments to the legendary filmstar Gotsman, to Cossack Ataman A. Golovatyi etc.

Памятник верующему старообрядческой веры в г. ВилковоПамятник верующему старообрядческой веры в г. Вилково
6. The only monument in Ukraine to the poet and bard Bulat Okudzhava is also located in Vilkovo. In 1962 Okudzhava with his wife Olga visited Vilkovo, that was their honeymoon journey. Twenty-three years later, in 1985, Okudzhava wrote a poem “The Danube fantasy” dedicated to his wife Olga as memories of the idyllic great love, later enveloping with voice the song “Vilkovo fantasy”. In 2013 the International Festival “Bulat’s song over the Danube” took place in Vilkovo; during the festival a monument to Bulat Okudzhava on the main street has been unveiled. The festival’s opening began with the presentation of music video to Okudzhava’s song “Vilkovo fantasy”. Olga Vladimirovna Okudzhava became the most welcome guest of the event. During the festival, she lived in the Villa “Tihaya Gavan”. While leaving, Olga Vladimirovna said, “God grant that each person had his own “Tihaya Gavan”, even mentally”.

Ольга Окуджава — открытие памятника Булату Окуджаве в городе ВилковоОльга Владимировна Окуджава — проживала в Усадьбе «Тихая гавань» г. Вилково

7. The only monument in the world to the Danube herring was erected in Vilkovo. Depicted in sculpture the mating dance of Dunayka (this word the locals use to call the Danube herring) symbolizes the artistic image of love and procreation (providing future generations). The Danube herring is the Black and Azov seas spring-spawning herring mostly found in rivers: The Danube, Dnieper, Dniester, Don and Bug. But herring found in the Danube (hence the name, the Danube herring), is considered a valuable commercial fish because it has the greatest percentage of fat.

Памятник Дунайской сельди в городе Вилково
Ivan Alekseevich Bunin in his work “In Paris” (1940) describes the scene of ordering a dinner at the Russian restaurant” in one of the darkest alleys near Passi street”:
«– Would you amuse-bouche with something? We have wonderful Danube herring, red caviar of recent receipt, Korkunov soft-salted cukes…
– What with would I amuse my bouche? – He said, smiling. – By your favour, please just herring with hot potatoes».

Wonderful Danube herring with hot potatoes in Paris! It should be noted that herring is offered on a par with red caviar “of recent receipt”.

Дунайка, отваренная в саламуре
Want to taste a marvelous Danube herring? You have not travel to Paris, the “Tihaya Gavan” cook will offer you eighteen dishes of Dunayka, unusual dishes, from the fish cookery of Vilkovo Lipovans. Having dined the Danube herring, you understand that Dunayka is worthy of creation her monument!

8. There are two folk music National Ensembles of Ukraine in Vilkovo. An old saying is “if a person is talented, he is talented in many ways”. The same effect we reveal arriving to Vilkovo, its uniqueness is multifaceted. A small city in the farthest corner of the country, with a population of eight thousand people has two National Ensembles of Ukraine! Namely: the folk music ensemble “Moloditsa” (in Russian it means a young inventive lady plenty of energy) and the folk music ensemble “Retro”. In fact, you have the opportunity to see their performance, having informed in advance the “Tihaya Gavan” administrator office.

Народный ансамбль Украины «Ретро»Народный ансамбль Украины «Молодица»
9. Vilkovo is located on the same latitude as Venice. There exist lots of extra-scientific facts in the world. Often these facts are attributed to coincidence. Here we face the same: both Vilkovo and Venice are located to the exact minute on the same latitude; surely many other populated places being built on the same latitude, but Vilkovo, like Venice, is a city on the water, and they are located equally, 0 meters above sea level. Venetian channels carry gondolas and Vilkovo ones do carry Lipovan boats. Vilkovo and Venice have exclusive attractiveness, but let explain the fact that they are located on the same latitude as coincidence. Really unique coincidence!

9 венецияВилково — Белгородский Канал


9-а1 венеция на прогулкеПрогулка на лодке по Белгородскому Каналу в г. Вилково9-б венеция у ресторанаВилково ресторан «Якорь»

Walking through Venice
Walking through Vilkovo
The restaurant in Venice
The restaurant in Vilkovo

10. Vilkovo is the city of kings and presidents. Originality of Vilkovo is known far beyond its borders. Not only tourists come to see this unique city, but also state and public officials. Since ancient times Vilkovo was visited by crowned persons of European countries: kings of Romania and Yugoslavia; two Bulgarian kings visited Vilkovo; in the XIX century the Turkish Khan presented Ochakiv island to his son Kalim Bay, and Vilkovo citizens still call it Kalimbayke.

Три президента в городе ВилковоПрезидент Украины В. Ющенко в г. Вилково
Nowadays Vilkovo is a popular top-visits site of the Ukrainian President L. Kuchma, President of Romania E. Constantinescu, President of Moldova P. Lucinschi. Ukrainian President V. Yushchenko liked this city very much.

115Премьер-министры Украины Ю. Ехануров и В. Литвин в г. Вилково Чрезвычайный и Полномочный Посол России В. Черномырдин в г. Вилково
Also Vilkovo has been visited by: Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers A. Kosygin, Prime Ministers of Ukraine Yu. Yehanurov and V. Litvin, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Russia V. Chernomyrdin.
Vilkovo became a favorite place of rest for USSR cosmonauts, for world chess champion A. Karpov and many other public persons. The list is too large, choose the famous person, and you’ll find his name there.

Председатель Совета Министров СССР А. Косыгин в г. ВилковоВилково. Царь Болгарии Симеон-II в городе ВилковоМихаил Жванецкий в городе Вилково Килийского р-на Одесской обл.Космонавт СССР Шонин и Чемпион мира по шахматам А. Карпов в г. Вилково

Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers A. Kosygin
King of Bulgaria Simeon -II, third from the left
M. Zhvanetskiy
Cosmonaut Shonin and World Chess Champion A. Karpov

11. The tastiest fish soup in the world is cooked in Vilkovo and this fact is scientifically grounded. “You can do with me whatever you like, even let me jump in the cauldron, but the best fish soup have Lipovans in the Danube Delta. They cook such a soup that the soul flies out and floats unquiet, until the cauldron becomes empty”. (Alexandr Levintov (Monterey)).

В Вилково самая вкусная уха в мире!
The Danube Delta embodies a unique natural phenomenon that can be called a fish paradise. Food resources for fish here are so rich and diverse that it makes the fishmeat very nutritious and tasty. No wonder the Danube waters are called the workshop of fishing industry in Europe.

Qualitative and diversified nutrition of fish in the Danube delta is one of the main secrets of unsurpassed tastiness of Lipovans’ fish soup. Therefore, you can try the real Lipovan fish soup exclusively in Vilkovo in the Danube delta, where not only the most delicious fish is caught, but also the precious traditions of its cooking are preserved. In 2013 the book named “Vilkovo. The fish cuisine of Lipovans. History, traditions and modernity”was published. Its foreword is written by a writer, journalist, television presenter Boris Burda. The book contains 64 recipes of the Lipovan fish dishes. You can try any of them in the Villa “Tihaya Gavan”, and not only to try, but also to take a master class in cooking. The book is available at the bookshops of Vilkovo, Ismail, Kiliya.

Книга «Вилково. Рыбная кухня липован. История, традиции, современность»

12. Local history museum of Vilkovo. The reader may object that there are a lot of local history museums and the presence of such museum in the city can not be attributed to the uniqueness. That is right, but we are talking about museum exhibits, about more than 3,500 exhibits. The originality of the collection gathered is amazing. The museum’s exhibits are presented in the seven thematic halls, here you can see the Cossack boat fully-mission capable, and, according to legend, the hand washer of Kilim Bay, and many other exhibits are taking our imagination away for several thousand years back.

Краеведческий музей города ВилковоЭкспонаты Вилковского краеведческого музея

13. О Вилково написано семнадцать книг! Семнадцать книг о, казалось бы, провинциальном городке! Одиннадцать книг непосредственно повествуют об этом маленьком необычном городе, в том числе в прозе и стихах. Издано три книги ,в которых, в доступной форме для большого круга читателей, рассказывается о научных исследованиях природы, которая окружает город. Три книги научно-популярного жанра, отдельными главами повествуют о сотворении Вилково и людях его создавших. Первая книга о Вилково датируется 1881 годом, последняя 2013. Для более подробной информации о книгах перейдите в раздел – «книги»

Fish food Lipovans. History, tradition, modernityVilkovo city 3 churches, 72 islands and endless channelsRussian Old Believers on the DanubeOld Believers Bessarabia

Fish food Lipovans. History, tradition, modernity
Vilkovo city 3 churches, 72 islands and endless channels
Russian Old Believers on the Danube
Old Believers Bessarabia

14. European style of Villa Tihaya Gavan More than ten comfortably furnished tourist complexes provide services in Vilkovo. However, Villa Tihaya Gavan is the only estate with home interior and landscape designed in the European style. And this is the uniqueness of our city. European design is primarily determined by technological effectiveness, quality and comfort. The distinguishing feature of the European-style is a large comfortable open space where a person feels openness to the world around.

Villa Tihaya Gavan interior has been designed in the classic European style with soft colors. There is no color contrast. Halftones suggest quietness and tranquility. Landscape design of the Villa harmoniously complements the natural beauty of the surrounding nature. Contemporary European classical design of VillaTihaya Gavan, in conjunction with the wild nature of the Danube Delta, creates a unique atmosphere of light, airy spiritual freedom.

Exterior of Tihaya GavanView from the balconyPatioView from the mooring area

Exterior of Tihaya Gavan
View from the balcony
View from the mooring area

Hall of Villa «Tihaya Gavan»Kitchen of Villa «Tihaya Gavan»Room (first floor)Canteen

Hall of Villa
Kitchen of Villa
Room (first floor)

We presented originalities of Vilkovo and the main we’d say that one object having so many unique peculiarities, also represent a unique effect. Let us remind the meaning of word “unique”: One and only.