"There were spiders and draught there. So I ammediately thought that there must be a tunnel" – Oleksander Nikitchuk says.
A month ago, he started repairs in the parents’ house on Sobranetska street. And he found a dent in the floor. The suspicions were confirmed. It was found out that right under the house there was the once famous underground restaurant "Skala", which was once the calling card of Uzhgorod.
Yesterday, December 3, Oleksandr decided to show us the discovery. Armed with flashlights and appropriate clothing, we began the descent.
First you go down a small ladder into a human-height-deep pit. Then, the most dangerous area – you squeeze you body into a narrow passage (not good for those who suffer from claustrophobia), and then one more obstacle to overcome. And only after that you find yourself in a dark underworld.
To be more precise, we came out in… old restrooms of the restaurant. Now there’s only cracked tiles, shelled plaster there. From there, we began wandering in huge and, surprisingly, very straight cellars. Oleksandr said that he had tred to find some maps in the archives, but to no avail.
They say that these cellars, as well as the wine ones in Serednye, were dug by Turks. It is evedenced by stone protrusions in the walls and over the head. Occasionally we come acroos neatly stacked stones. Along the cellars, there are thin rusty pipes and flutes of muddy water underfoot.
And here is an old rusty safe and original old coat hangers in the same condition lying on the floor.
And here are the steps. People used to go down these stairs to the restaurant, as evidenced by a "roadmap" carved in the stone. The words "Entrance", "Coffee Shop" are well visible. And what is this miracle of white stone?! A huge girl holding a jug over her head stuccoed on the wall. They say that it is the work a prominent Transcarpathian painter Fedir Manaylo!
It was an incredible experience. It’s something like a time machine, when you find yourself in another century, you begin to imagine how waiters were walking here, people relaxing. We also found the main entrance to the restaurant, It was in a nearby cafe. There is a massive metal door there, that is now "barricaded" with supplies of vodka, beer…
And now a few historical facts. At the end of the XIX century, modern Sobranetska street was considered the outskirts of the city, but there are a few special places here that are interesting in terms of the history of Uzhgorod. This is the "Royal Cellar", which is located on the right side of the street at the site of the house №32 (now, the above mentioned cafe is situated there). The cellar, which was the largest not only on Sobranetska street, but in whole Uzhgorod, was called "Royal" because it belonged to the King, – historian Yosyp Kobal writes in his book "Uzhgorod known and unknown". Tradesmen would bring tithes of wine – a royal tax – there. In 1968, a luxury restaurant "Skala" was opened in the cellar. The total length of the cellar reached half a kilometer. The restaurant, which consisted of five different rooms (small, large, hunting, tasting), was located at a depth of 20 meters. The restaurant has been closed for almost 30 years. It would be interesting if someone would revive the former well-known tourist, gastronomic and romantic attraction of Uzhgorod…