Vilkovo - is a small town located in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta, at South-West of Ukraine, on the border with Romania.
Founded about 250 years ago, Vilkovo was once situated on the Danube delta coast. Since then, the delta has moved out another 40 km or so, leaving the town behind on the bank of its northernmost branch, called Kilia.
The original settlers were "Lipovans", or "Old Believers" that appeared about 300 years ago, after a split of Russian Orthodox Church. When Patriarch Nikon made changes to the Orthodox worship in the 17th century, some believers continued to worship in the "old way": speaking old Russian, crossing themselves with two fingers instead of three, and keeping their beards. They broke away under the leadership of Avvakum Petrovich, an archpriest who was later executed. The government and the Orthodox church persecuted these people, and as a result many of them committed suicide by burning themselves.
Eventually, the Old Believers divided into sects, and some sought refuge in the delta marshes, where they constructed their own church of St Nicholas (patron saint of fishermen). To build homes, they created islands of dry land by digging mud from trenches and canals, forming a characteristic grid of square plots and channels.
The house walls were built from reed and mud wattle, while the roofs were thatched. The base of the walls were surrounded by shells to help drain away rainwater. Each year, the homeowners built up their plots but gradually, the houses sank into the mud and had to be rebuilt every few decades.
Transport until recently was solely by boat or by foot along boardwalks laid out along the channels. The main economy of the town is fishing, with winemaking and vegetable gardening also important. The local wine has a unique flavour as it cannot be stored in vaults and has to be drunk young. Fresh Vilkovo strawberries are simply delicious!