Throughout history Ukrainians have found refuge in these mountains. Those that came to call it home are the proud, resourceful and passionately independent Hutsuls. In the past, many of them adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle based on tending flocks of sheep in the alpine meadows during the summer. Others became craftsmen producing intricate wood carvings, colorful woolen blankets/rugs and leather goods. All had to be resourceful and live off the land. After hundreds of years, the beauty of the mountains has become part of their life. It is reflected in their culture – in their dialect, legends, music, art and architecture.
At the turn of the century Ukrainian artists, writers and politicians came to the Carpathians to be reinvigorated and inspired by the free Ukrainian national spirit that was nurtured in the mountains. Travelers from Western Europe would also visit here and were enchanted by the ancient and noble people of the mountains unspoiled by Western civilization.
Today, traditional ways of life that are rich in mystical beliefs and folklore are still very much alive here. (See the November 1997 National Geographic article about the Hutsuls of Ukraine) On Sundays and holidays villagers can still be seen wearing colorful traditional clothes. Hundreds of old wooden churches and traditional village homes have been preserved here and have become an organic part of the mountain landscapes. Yet, today this part of Ukraine is cut off from the world and few travelers come here. The Rural Green Tourism Association is working to help visitors discover this land.