Settlements of West Ukraine: Ljuta /L’uta (Havask?z)

L’uta is currently located in the Velikyj Bereznyj Region of the Zakarpatska Oblast, Ukraine. It is north and a little east of Uzhorod. From Uzhorod you ride through the cities of Perecyn and Velikyj Bereznyj.

The village length is 12km, on which 1,040 houses are arranged. In 1980 the population was 3,105. The village is situated in the L’utanka river valley. Since 1711 L’uta has belonged to the Uzhorod dominion.


L’uta is tucked nicely into a ravine almost too small to call a valley. There are fields on the sides of the mountains with creek running along the village. L’uta is only about 1 house deep on each side, and is 14 kilometers long. We weaved our way into town through cows and people walking their cows.

HistoryThe first written reference to the village is from 1599. L’uta is the Old Slavonic village name and means “snowy side”, “cold region”.

Czech administration came to the village at the beginning of 1919 as the Czechoslovak government’s representative in this area.

L’uta was the center of the partisan resistance movement in the western Zakarpatska region during the Second World War. Beyond the village are mineral springs and extensive poloniny – mountain meadows.

Several legends exist in connection with the village name. One of them says that a long time ago people from the other side of the Carpathians fled from Crimean Tartar attacks into this valley. They settled here, but because of great frosts many of them died. Therefore the village was called the name L’uta (“Regret”).

L’uta Today

L’uta is tucked nicely into a ravine almost too small to call a valley. There are fields on the sides of the mountains with creek running along the village. L’uta is only about 1 house deep on each side, and is 14 kilometers long. We weaved our way into town through cows and people walking their cows.

We stopped and Vladimir our translator popped out and said he was with some “Americankas looking for his Cihunka and Dranchak relatives here in L’uta. A cute little babushka offered to take us to our first house down the road…a Dranchak.

We got out and this cute old lady went in summoning in Ukrainian (editor’s note: they speak Rusin in this village) for another babushka. This cute little babushka came out and we told her My Great Grandmother Helen or (Olena) Dranchak was from this village. She was pretty old and it looked like she didn’t understand Vladimir our translator (editor’s note: she may not have understood because she spoke Rusin and the driver probably spoke a dialect of Ukrainian that she did not understand well). She said she was Olena Dranchak. Then the babushka who lead us here started yammering away loudly in her native tongue and she caught on that my great babushka was Olena Dranchak. She then got excited and said that was her aunt and that her father Yuri Dranchak was, Olena’s brother! We were talking with my Grandma Anne Kormylo’s first Cousin!

This first cousin of Grandma Anne’s told us she had never married. She was born in L’uta in 27 August 1925. She had two siblings, Ivan who still lives in L’uta, and Anastasia who lives in Mezhghirdia (spelling?), Ukraine. Olena told us her father Yuri Dranchak was born and died in L’uta. Her mother’s name was Olena Gretza. Olena Gretza was born in L’uta and died in L’uta when her daughter Olena Dranchak, was just a small baby. That was all the family history she could remember. She did tell us that last year a group of people came and she helped them do family research on the Dranchak side so maybe there is some current link ups out there on the family tree? She said they promised to send her some money and never did. I felt a little bad for her and probably should have given her some money, but we had a pretty big audience of townspeople and it didn’t feel right. We did buy Ukraine’s best chocolates to bring to people and she was pretty excited to get a box. We took video and pictures of her and hugged and kissed each other. She was very sweet and it was the coolest talking to one of Grandma Kormylo’s cousins!

Olena and our fabulous town guide talked more and mention going to another house to visit a son of Vasil Cihunka “the one who went to America”. We were really excited! We departed and drove down the street to visit Nikoli Feodervitch Karmentsa.

We got out of the car and walked up to meet Nikoli Karmentsa, and I told Vladimir to tell him “Vasil Cihunka was my Great Dedushka”. He immediately smiled and said that was his uncle that went to America. He said his mother was Yvah Cihunka (Grandma Anne’s Aunt). Jackpot! That was quick cut to the chase and the fastest yet that we had established our family link up. We shook hands and hugged and I could not believe that I was blessed enough to find not one but two of Grandma Anne’s first cousins in L’uta is such a short amount of time! I wish I could express my words, and I so wished Grandma and my mom were with me! Anyway Nikoli was the poorest relative we were to meet on this trip. I felt so bad that they lived in such humble conditions while I live so comfortably. Nikoli invited us into his one room house attached to the barn. It was about a 10 X 10 room with a wood stove, 2 chair and tiny table, an old bed that doubled for a couch when we were there, and their clothes hung up on the wall. The floor was wood and in bad shape. Nikoli’s pants were too small and shirt was in bad shape. It was real humble. Nikoli was married and in my rush, I forgot to write down her name. That is my first task to find out, when I write them. They live with their son Vasil Karmentsa and his wife Svetlana.

They live in the house on the property that looked like at typical house in L’uta.

Vasil had one brother, Nikoli who lives in Uzhorod. Once we were inside Nikoli’s little home, we began working him for information. He was quite old, partially blind and really did a good job racking his brain for information. We had established that his mother was Yvah (Eve) Cihunka at the beginning of the visit. His father was Feodor Karmentsa. Fedor Karmentsa’s father was Petroa Karmentsa. On the Cihunka side he said his mother Yvah had a brother Mikiel (pronounced mik-heil). He said also that his Grandfather and my Great Great Grandfather Gabriel Cihunka had a brother named Yuri. Yuri had a son born in 1914 who lives in Dubrincy, Ukraine. He couldn’t remember his name, but obviously a Cihunka who is up there in years. Next he told us about his 15 brothers and sisters….yes, I said 15. I don’t know if the order he gave them to us is the order of age, but here they are: Hafia, Yveh, Hannah, Stanko, Yuri, Maria and Maria. I know, I verified there were two Maria’s maybe they really liked that name? (Editor’s note: it was common for them to reuse the first name of a child after that child died) By this time Nikoli’s son Vasil had raced up from the creek where he was swimming with his daughter. His wife Svetlana raced down to the creek to get him when she heard who we were. He came crashing in all wet still in his speedo. Anyway they all confirmed these names and helped him work his memory. Anna. Died near Uzkavkah which is near Uzhorod. Nastia. Died. Olena. Lives in L’uta. Imagine that! Another one of Grandma Anne’s cousins named Olena that lives in Luta. That is only ten kids, but he couldn’t remember the other five. (editor’s note: I had the same experience with all the Olena’s).

We had worked Nikoli’s memory to the breaking point. They had a stack of old photographs, and upon inquiry we learned none were real gems like pictures of Cihunka parents or Grandparents, they led us to believe they were all Karmentsa pictures. We went outside and took more pictures and video of them. We gave them a box of the nice chocolates we had brought and a Ben Franklin to fix up their place a little. We started to walk to the car and then there was a little commotion, Nikoli’s wife ran into the house with Svetlana and Vasil told us to wait a minute, that they had something for us. I am not trying to brag or highlight the fact we gave them what they thought was a lot of money, but to give you an idea, the 100 bucks we laid on them was probably at least a year, maybe 18 months income for old Nikoli. The pensions there since the fall of the Soviet Union has been cut to something almost as pathetic as an American saying he is going to retire on his social security only. I think they were overwhelmed with the gift.

We are waiting by the car saying goodbye to Nikoli and then Vasil comes tearing around the corner with mother and wife in trace with a bag to give us. They pulled it out and excitedly told us it was an old dress outfit with all the fancy embroidery on it. It was gorgeous. When they told us it was Nikoli’s wife’s GRANDMOTHERS we kept saying nyet, nyet that it was too generous. They were giving us something that was well over a hundred years old and was in fantastic condition! They wouldn’t say no. It was like trying to give money back to Grandma Kormylo…it’s not going to happen without getting a black eye. We were so touched that these people with almost no possessions would give us something they treasured so much! Tears just run every time I think of this sweet gift. We hugged them all and then got in the taxi and drove way. Yelling “shesh leavo” (good luck) and “dopobachenya” (goodbye). I was in awe at the experience we had just had. It made me realize that nobody throws down the welcome mat for family like they do. I understood now the roots of where my mother and grandmother got that trait from of stuffing your belly and sending you home with half of the refrigerator and the shirt off their back to anyone who came over. I really felt a lot of love from these good people.

On the way out of town we stopped by the L’uta church to check it out, and the cemetery that was there. The catholic priest (editors note: the church is Orthodox under the Orthodox Church of Russia) let us in and we took some video of it. It had been refurbished 10 years ago, but I was lead to understand the inside was still original. So our ancestors likely went to mass there years ago (editor’s note: it was a Greek Catholic Church before communism). We asked about church records and the priest told us the Germans destroyed them in World War II. We only had a few minutes so we just took video of the cemetery. The older ladies of the town, our guide’s friends all said the cemetery “had been plowed or flooded over three times…very difficult to find anything”. That may be a translation error from Vladimir, I can’t see a dumb farmer on a horse doing that, so I think it may have been bombed in during a war or something. They also mentioned floods, so maybe some of it got washed away?

We came down the hill from the church, gave our sweet little old tour guide a box of chocolates and then were adamantly persuaded to come with this enthusiastic gentleman to come and see the L’uta museum. I laughed, and you would too after seeing how small L’uta is, that he said he had a great museum.

We spent about 15 minutes there. We signed his registry and saw Karen Varian’s name there from her visit. It had mostly ancient L’uta clothing and domestic things like a weaver machine, some household thing from the 1800s to 1900s. It was cool and we were glad we went. We saw a dress that looked exactly like the one we had just been given by the Karmentsa’s labeled year 1900. He somehow ran like the wind to his house and then came with his wife racing up with their daughters with 2 big plates full of cookies and pieces of cake from a wedding they had just had in L’uta the night before. I was excited to see some cookies my mom made every Christmas, Russian Teacakes! I was feeling right at home with my people and wished I could stay there a week. We said dopobachenya, and weaved our way again between cows and babushka’s walking the cows, as we drove out of L’uta.

I was sad to leave. The visit made such a huge impression on me that I will never forget it. It is hard to describe, but it actually felt like home even though I had never been there. My relatives had lived there from at least the 1850’s and perhaps even later and I felt so blessed to be able to go there.

Folk Dress of L’uta

Perhaps the most characteristic feature of Rusin folk costumes is their embroidery. Regardless of village, every Rusin folk costume uses some type of embroidery as its ornamentation, with particular patterns used in particular regions. One familiar with Rusin embroidery can look at the pattern on a man’s shirt or the trim of a woman’s skirt and know what region or county the costume comes from.


Characteristic to the village of L’uta and the Velikyj Bereznyj District is the flowered embroidery found in their costumes as well as their embroidered linens and scarves.
The traditional woman’s folk costume of the village of L’uta includes a woman’s shirt of white cloth. The shirt reaches the thigh, with a heavier half-slip of hemp-cloth attached, reaching to the knees. The front of the shirt is finely smocked, with embroidery in straight lines along the gathers forming a flower design. The shirt is finished at the top with an embroidered neckband. The sleeves are gathered at the wrist with a cuff and an added crochet band for finishing. The same flower pattern is repeated on the cuff and the shoulder.

The skirt is made from five widths of white fabric. Four widths are finely gathered, and the fifth – the front is left smooth. The portion of the skirt made from the four gathered widths is embroidered at the knee trimmed with borders of tucks. Along the hem of the skirt there is a crocheted finish. The front of the skirt, the smooth width of the fabric, is usually not embroidered.

The apron is always part of a Rusin costume. This costume has a black finely pleated apron that is a bit shorter than the skirt. This pleated apron is similar to that of the Lemko Rusins. It has a row of embroidery at about knee length that is bordered by rows of colorful rickrack and wavy stitches. The hem is trimmed with a crocheted edge. The pleats are made by first dampening the cloth, then folding it into fine pleats, tying and leaving it to dry.

At the waist is a sash woven from red wool yarn. The sash is wrapped around the waist twice. Unmarried young women tie it at the front, the married ones at the back.


From church records and contacts with others whose ancestral home is L’uta the following surnames are known to be from L’uta:

Berjak, Cihunyko / Cihunka, Csako, Didik, Didicin, Douhanich, Dijanuz, Dranchak, Elnicky,

Gebrian, Gondorcsin, Hebryan, Hlivak, Horta, Kornuta, Lebo, Matovka, Mihovkaniz, Nostic,

Palzak, Perelzgak, Piznak, Puzak, Regan, Sachko, Scerbanic, Skripic, Susla



  1. The article on Ljuta is interesting. My Mom Anna Didicinova was born in Ljuta. Her father was Ivan Didicin and her mother was a Puzjak, whose sister emigrated to the US. My mom’s cousin was Vasil Cihunka who died in the Czech Republic in 1963-5. I visited Ljuta in 1962 and would like to go back. i would like to connect with anybody who is related to my Mom’s family. I now live in Canada.
    Thanks for the info on Ljuta
    Jean Durcak

  2. It has been fun reading about Ljuta, where my grandfather and grandmoter lived before coming to settle ultimately in Connecticut USA. It is interesting that our name, “Gebrian” is in the Church records in Ljuta. We have quite a list of accomplished Gebrians !- engineers and designers, anthropologists and artists, chemists and even a ball player. Nice to join the “family”. Thanks for all of your hard work to bring this part of our heritage to life.

  3. A neten ?desaap?m sz?rmaz?sa utan kutatva Aki 1934-ben ker?lt el Lyuta / Havask?z / falub?l 76 ?ve; Aki a legt?bb 87 ?ves n?pess?g. ?desap?m: Jaczkim L?szl?; magyarorsz?gon el, ?zdon. Apja neve: Jaczkim Gy?rgy, anyja neve: Rogan Anaszt?zia.?desap?m m?sodik gyermekk?nt sz?letett AZ 1923-ban sz?letett Mih?ly b?tyja utan. A csal?dban ot MEG M?ria, Ilona, ES Gy?rgy k?vette. ?n a FIA AZT szeretn?m ha valaki IRNA Nekem ?desap?m sz?l?hely?r?l, valamint a csal?dr?l.
    K?sz?nettel: Jaczkim L?szl?

  4. Az interneten ?desap?m csal?dja utan kutatva, Aki 1934-ben ker?lt el Lyuta falub?l 76 ?ve, Aki a legt?bb 87 ?ves n?pess?g AZ ?n?k e-mail c?mere bukkantam. A t?rk?pet n?zve Viska, / Viharos / Lyuta / Havask?z / a Szomsz?d k?zs?gek. NEM tudom tudna-e seg?teni abban, hogyha van Lyutai ismer?se esetleg Faluk?zpont, Tan?cs vagy ?nkorm?nyzat, aminek AZ e-mail c?m?t, vagy postai c?m?t elk?lden? sz?momra, akikt?l tudn?k ?rdekl?dni csal?dom utan, vagy egy?ltal?n el tudn?k indulni a keres?sben. ?desap?m sz?lei Jaczkiv vagy Jaczkim Gy?rgy ?desanyja Neve Rogan vagy Regan Anaszt?zia ?desap?m Jaczkim L?szl? ?zdon El m?sodik gyerekk?nt sz?letet a b?ty?t Mih?lynak h?vt?k 1923 sz?letet ?ll?t?lag baleset k?vetkezt?ben fel keze volt ?desap?mat M?ria, Ilona ?S Gy?rgy k?vette. Rendben lyut?n ?lnek, ?ltek. A Gy?rgyr?l tudok k?pet k?ldeni EGY mell?kelem MEG ?desap?m sz?let?si anyak?nyvi kivonat?t
    Megk?sz?nve seg?ts?g?t,

    ?dv?zlettel: Jaczkim L?szl? Kazincbarcika
    [email protected]

  5. I wrote this and had no idea it was on this website. Like to have contact with those of you who replied

  6. My daughter is doing a heritage project and this really helped. My husbands great grandma came over in 1910 from Ljuta. The name was changed from Matovka. Do you by chance have any pictures of the village or typical house you could email me? She has to make a presentation and I am trying to find any pictures of the area.

  7. maria grodzova. narodila som sa v obci ljuta. moja mama sa vola eva didicinova, jej mama sa volala puziak.moj otec sa vola juraj susla.ja zijem na slovensku.moji bratia ziju v uzhorode, aj cela moja rodina z maminej strany.v obci ljuta zije len otcova sestra olena.moj dedo sa volal ivan didicin a babka anna puziak.dakujem za clanok o nasej obci. email: [email protected]

  8. sme pou?ili internet tlmo?n?k na ??tanie e-mailu Som zna?ka matouka a ?ijeme v Florida, Spojen? ?t?ty m?j dedko, ?primn? matouka, bol syn Anny Puziak, ona bola vydat? za Mih?ly (Michael) Matyovka alebo Matovka, ktor? sa stal Matouka po pr?chode do New Yorku v roku 1910 moja dc?ra, Nadia Matouka, rob? rodokme? (geneal?gie), projekt pre ?koly sa sna??me z?ska? viac inform?ci? o predkoch M?te nejak? fotky z Ljuta?
    zn?mka matouka


  9. Hi

    I’m looking for information on my great grandfather Wasil Dranchak. No known brothers or sisters. Married to Veronica (Grommish, Gramaz?). I think that Wasil came from the Slovak side of the Carpathian Mts and settled in Scranton, PA USA.


    [email protected]

  10. Я народився в с. Люта(Lyuta)Закарпатської області в Україні. В даний час проживаю у м. Києві. Мого діда Матьовки МиколиЮ який проживав і помер у 1963 р. в с.Люта. було ще 6 (шість) братів – Михайло, Юрко, Федір, ще один Юрко, Миколай, Степан (Штефан) і сестра Анна. На початку 20-го століття Михайло, Василь, Степан і Юрко переїхали до США. Проживали у Нью-Йорку. Через деякий час Юрко з дружиною Марією повернувся до села Люта, а Михайло, Василь і Степан залишились в США. Через те, що у 1946 р. Підкарпатська Русь і с. Люта перейшли до складу Радянського Союзу жодного листування з США не могло відбуватись. Була повна ізоляція. Тому доля цих родичів, по батьковій лінії, наразі не відома. Буду радий і вдячний за будь-яку інформацію.

    З повагою, Юрій Матьовка

  11. Я народився і виріс в с. Люта (Lyuta)Закарпатської області в Україні. У мого діда Матьовки Миколи, який проживав і помер 1963 в с. Люта(Lyuta) було ще 6 (шість) братів – Михайло, Юрко, Федір, ще один Юрко, Миколай, Степан (Штефан) і сестра Анна. На початку 20-го століття Михайло, Василь, Степан і Юрко переїхали до США. Проживали нібито у Нью-Йорку. Через деякий час Юрко з дружиною Марією повернувся до села Люта, а Михайло, Василь і Степан залишились там. Нажаль, через те, що у 1946 р. Підкарпатська Русь і с. Люта перейшли до складу Радянського Союзу жодного листування з США не могло відбуватись. Була повна ізоляція. Тому доля цих родичів, по батьковій лінії, наразі не відома. Буду радий і вдячний за будь-яку інформацію.
    Дякую, Yurii Matjovka.

  12. This was so helpful to me. My mother’s parents came from Ljuta in the late 1800’s. My grandpa was Peter Hlivka. My grandma was Anna Didik. I know I still have family there and am trying to get in contact with them. If any of you are related or have information about the people with these surnames, please let me know. Thank you.

  13. My heritage traces back to Lyuta as well. I’d love to hear from any of you with ties to Lyuta, especially anyone related to the Matjovka or Hricsak surnames. Please email me at cahrichak at hotmail dot com. I am willing to share what I know about the village, as well as photos I have found online. I’d love to learn more about Lyuta!


  14. My Granddad came from Lyuta his name was Laszlo Gondorcsin looking for any info on him, or if I have any relatives still living there!!!

  15. My Grandfather Michael (Scerbanic) Silvanic was my Great Grandfather. I am interested in Taking my Father to L’uta to visit. Any information or relatives information would be appreciated.

  16. Am searching for Hotra surname. Could Horta be that name? Any help appreciated.

  17. My grandfather, Johann was born in Lyuta in 1919. My great grandfather was Nikolai Didik and my great grandmother Philomena Mendle. My grandfather married in Germany and moved to Australia. I would love to know of the heritage in Lyuta.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *