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Kamenetsk-Podolskiy is a town in the Khmelnitsky region of Ukraine, the administrative center of Kamenetsk-Podolskiy district, one of the oldest cities in the province. Kamenetsk-Podolskiy is a town located on the Smotrych River and its total area comprises 27.84 square kilometers.

It is one of the oldest towns in Ukraine, and it’s the historical center of Podolia. Age of the Western Ukrainian city of Khmelnitsky region remains a mystery and causes a lot of disputes among contemporary historians. Legends connect the foundation of this town with a beautiful story of deer hunting by young Lithuanian princes Koriatovichey. The first written mention of Kamenetsk dates back to the 60’s of XIV century, it was found in the annals of "On the Podolsk land" (as it turned out later, it was a false instrument). From other sources we have learnt that the city was founded by the Romans in the first century AD, leaving behind a five-arched wooden bridge, shown on the Trajan column in Italy.

Kamenetsk-Podolskiy is called the city of seven cultures - for the number of nationalities living and bringing a contribution to its development. At different times, Russians (Ukrainians), Turks, Tatars, Armenians, Jews, Lithuanians and, of course, the Poles lived there. The Tartars built the first fort, the Turks - the minaret of the bastions, for some reason, having buried the Roman arch bridge in a stone sarcophagus, the Armenians formed the largest community in the Ukraine, that was so rich that Polish kings took out a loan for military purposes from it; Ukrainians lived working and building, Poles were building the city, and again, fighting at war.

Kamenetsk-Podolskiy is called the pearl of Podillya, “The pearl on the stone”. The rich historical and cultural legacy that he posses made this city occupy the third place in the world by the number of monuments it has to offer. Location of the city is unique in its own way: the river Smotrich flows in the deep canyon surrounding rocky peninsula.
Every year thousands of tourists visit this unique museum under the open sky, every stone of which was taken care of late.

The city is easily accessible by car, bus or train. If you travel by car, take Road No. P48, H03, T2326, T2317 or Road No. T2321. The nearest airport is situated in Chernovtsy (Chernovtsy International Airport) , approximately 70 km far from the city of Kamenetsk-Podolskiy. The railway station is in the western part of the city. You can travel around the city by bus or you can use taxi services.

Places to visit:

Ratusha is located in the center of the Old Town and played the leading role in the life of a medieval Kamenetsk. During several centuries the most important events of a civil life of the city took place in this building. Ratusha has another name, which is the House of the Polish magistrate, built in 30 – 40 years of the XVIth century. In 1754 it was rebuilt. The word "Ratusha" was brought into Ukrainian from the German language, mediated by the Polish. This building was often used as the platform where executions and tortures were often performed and heretical books were burnt. Ustym Karmelyuk was also beaten at this place. Ratusha consists of two parts: two-storey buildings and eight-stage bell tower. There used to be a distance of 3 meters between them, but after a fire in 1616 they have merged.
There are a basement and tunnels under the Ratusha, which were a secret passage in the Dominican and Franciscan church. The building has a lot of rooms: 10 on the first floor and 9 on the second, and also the basement. However, out of 9 basement rooms only three are working.
In September 2001 the exhibition “The Court of medieval Kamenetz” was opened. In addition, there is a second stage of the basement which is not working: according to experts, there should be additional 9 rooms. There is a mechanical clock on the tower, placed in 1884 and still working.
Ratusha is an interesting building, which is executed in different styles - Renaissance, Baroque. The western facade is decorated with the steps and an arch, built of hewn white stone. Stairs lead to an open gallery with a balustrade, made with extraordinary skills, which certifies a high level of stone-close trades.

Old Castle in Kamenetsk-Podolskiy
Kamenetsk-Podolskiy Castle is a former Polish castle, now located in the historic town of Kamenetsk-Podolskiy. The castle stands atop a peninsula, surrounded by the winding Smotrych River valley, which forms a natural defense system for the castle. It is the most perfect medieval defensive fortress of Eastern Europe! Coming here you will see hydraulic, strengthened gates and numerous towers for centering the fire on the bank; approaches to the castle and inner territory of the fortress. You will also see religious and civic installations used as defensive ones.

During its age-old history the city-fortress was besieged three times. But it was never conquered. It is no wonder that when Turkish Osman Khan was asked who could build such a fortress, the only answer he could give was: “It is God Himself” .

There is a display “Defense of the castle” where one can find renewed battles of the Turk siege. Here you can see a deep debtor's prison, where people not paying taxes served their sentence (local people say that if you throw a coin into a prison you will never owe anybody). Unique architecture discoveries and a big numismatic collection are waiting for you.

You can visit a “Medieval trial” museum that shows you wide-spread ways of torturing such as impaling, breaking on the wheel, “Spanish boot” and rack crucifixion.

 Castle Bridge
Castle Bridge was built in ancient times, and the other name of it is the Turkish bridge. During the ownership of these lands by the Turks in 1672-1699, they held his grave reconstruction, hence the name. The stone bridge connecting the old town with the castle is built above the canyon of the river Smotrich in the place where two streams converge into the river, which flows round the city ring. In the XVI century the bridge was made of wood and was standing on the stone piers. German traveller Ulrih von Werdum stated, that the bridge was arch and very high. However, Russian and Polish Castle Gate Bridge was part of the defense of the city waterworks. During the Turkish occupation, the castle bridge was lined with stone masonry, which acquired the form of a solid wall. There remained strong fortification on the part of the city, such as the city gates (XVI-XVIII), as well as Armenian bastion (XVI-XVII centuries). Castle Bridge is registered in the "Book of Records" as the oldest bridge in Ukraine.

Peter and Paul Cathedral is a Catholic church and a historical monument of culture and architecture. It is built in the style of Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Gothic. The architectural ensemble includes the Peter and Paul Cathedral, bell tower, Triumphal Arch and the Turkish minaret.
The exact date of foundation of the cathedral church is not known, it was built around 1370. The founders of the first wooden church were the Lithuanian princes Koriatovichi, which governed Podolia during that time.

In the middle of the XVI century episcope Leonard Slonczewski built the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the north and in the south-west – the chapel of Blessed Virgin. During the period of Turkish domination (1672-1699) episcopes were outside of Podolia, and there were almost no Catholics. Cathedral has become a major Muslim mosque. A minaret was added on the west side. After returning to the Poles, the minaret was decorated with a statue of the Virgin. The Virgin stands on the globe and crescent, blessing the city and region. There is a halo with 12 stars around her head. The entrance to the church gate was built by the type of triumphal arch in the late Baroque style. The arch is decorated with a group of sculptures in the form of four angels and the central figure of St. John.

Kamenetsk-Podolskiy offers a number of museums. The most visited ones are the already-mentioned museum of history, seated in the castle, the State Historical Museum of Kamenetsk- Podolskiy, which presents the history of the city, and also the Museum of Art with 120 000 exhibits.

Entertainment

Kamenetsk-Podolskiy is a venue of numerous cultural events, festivals, and theatre and music performances. The most important of them are: the Terra Heroica Festival, which features reconstructions of historic battles and tournaments, the multicultural "Festival of Seven Cultures" and the artistic "Festival of Free People". Another important celebration is the City Day. Kamenetsk-Podolskiy is well-known for annual Ukrainian championships in flying balloons and for car races.

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photo. Ukraine. Kamenets-Podolskiy

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Photo Kamenets Podilski

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