Small Ukrainian town at the South of Odessa Region Vilkovo is calling also “Ukrainian Venice”. This small, but very picturesque town is located exactly in the Danube Delta, at the connection point of the river and the Black Sea.
The old part of the town is located at the… water and it makes it really unusual. The streets at this town are channels and people move there mainly on local "gondolas" and motor boats which are the most popular transport in the city.
Channels are calling here “eriks”, they are narrow, 1-2 meters wide only. The territory with this kind of streets-channels covers around 50% of the total city area. So, one can get to any part of the town sailing such boat.
Residents sail by “eriks” , standing in the boat and pushing the bottom or the coast with the long oar that is similar to a pole. They call it “babayka”. Both men and women operate such “babaykas” dexterously. Even old women, calling there "moloditsa on the babaykakh" do it with the great professionalism and grace.
The wooden layings sidewalks are on both sides of channels and along houses. Unpretentious wooden bridges built on the channels-“eriks”. Those bridges turn into peculiar movable bridges, so, they can be raised for moving the freight by the channels if necessary.
Vilkovo's uniqueness consists also in its population. The majority of it is consists of Christian conservatives – “the lipovena”. The settlement was founded in the middle of the XVII century by the Don and Zaporozhye Cossacks. They were pursued by the imperial authorities for religious and political reasons and were compelled to run to Danube. So, they settled here more than 300 years ago. In those days the territory of the Danube mouth belonged to the Ottoman Empire which treated them very favorably.
Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin is standing at the center of the town.
This settlement was called as "Lipovanskoye" at the beginning, but later the town was renamed into Vilkovo. The city is obliged to the geographical position for present name . Actually “Vilkovo” comes from the Russian word “Vily” that means pitchfork in English. As the town is located at the point that Danube disperses to the several sleeves and it really looks like pitchfork (“Vily” in Russian). So, the name "Vilkovo" comes from that!
The main occupations of locals should be mentioned separately. Their kitchen gardens are basically on a kind of islands to which they float by boats. Like it was at the Ancient Eypt, they use silt as a fertilizer. Vilkovo is famous for the strawberry which can be grown here actually through the year round. The other popular product that is planting in Vilkovo is grapes of a grade "Novak". This grade can't be mixed with any other one, it’s taste is absolutely unique, as anywhere else the grapes are grown on the water and silt!
A wonderful “Novak” wine is making here from this grapes. It is both has a gentle taste and has a high degree.
Locals joke that it is easy to recognize the Vilkovo resident if he is a bit drunk with the “Novak” wine: he always shakes forward-back, but never left-to-right. Otherwise he can fall into channel!
However the fishing is still the main job and the source for living for locals. Lots of guests come here from all over Ukraine, Russia and other countries arrive here for fishing!
One more sight nearby Vilkovo is… “0 kilometer”. What does it mean?
Danube is the only river of Europe, which measurement is conducted in the opposite direction: not on a current, but against it. So, the point that Danube meets with the Black Sea, in pother words, the very beginning of the river is marked as “0 Kilometer”. There is a special sight (see photo).
Tourists can take a few excursions there: sailing by Danube (visiting “0 kilometer” stature), to to admire the picturesque nature of the Danube biospheric reserve. Normally the cost of the excursion that is really very reasonable, includes a nice dinner with the “Novak” wine.