by Sasha Kurdyumova
Kamyanets-Podolsk, one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, is considered a phenomenon of great cultural importance. A rocky island skirted by the tight loop of the Smotrich river flowing in a picturesque canyon, served as a unique piedestal on which over more than a thousand years both well-known and anonymous masters created a miracle in stone. Kamyanets-Podolsk is striking for the harmonious blend of landscape and architecture.
In the 14th -18th centuries, due to its favorable geographic position, Kamyanets-Podolsk was coveted by numerous invaders who considered the city a fine stronghold. After a short period under the rule of the Lithuanian feudal lords from 1374 to 1430, the city laboured under the Polish yoke (1434-1793). Polish masters marked their protracted rule by building numerous churches, dwellings and fortified structures which, to a great extent, defined the general view of the city. Turkish rule, short as it was, 1672 - 1699, also left its imprint on the city's architecture. As early as the beginning of the 15th century, the main principles of the city planning and construction were established in accordance with Old Rus tradition which predominated over both West European and Muslim architectural traditions.
For many centuries Kamyanets-Podolsk was a major cultural centre for Podillya area. In 1977, to preserve the historical and architectural treasures of the city which numbers over 200 monuments, by a decree passed by the Ukrainian SSR Council of Ministers, Kamyanets-Podolsk was proclaimed a historical and architectural heritage.
The fortress is one of the many historic defensive structures within the city. It is a monument of military architecture of the feudal era. The first fortifications were built in the 11th - 12th centuries. In the early 16th century the fortress was redesigned by the Italian military engineer Camilius, and seven towers were built. In the 17th century bastion structures were built (New Fortress). The Old Fortress occupies almost 5 hectares. A part of an underground passage has been uncovered. And the massive fortifications of the fortress impressed not only travellers and merchants who came to visit the city: According to some historical sources, in 1621, seeing the fortress, the Turkish Khan Osman allegedly asked: "Who built this city?" "God Himself," was the answer. "Let God Himself own it," said the Khan and turned back his troops from the city walls.
How to get to Kamyanets-Podolsk:
The distance from Kiev to Kamyanets-Podolsk is about 635 km.
By train from station at Pryvokzalna 1 on trains "Kamyanets-Podolsk-Kiev" and "Chernovtsi -Kiev"
By bus from station at Knyaziv Koriativichiv 19
By plane to the nearest airports Chernovtsi or Khmelnitskiy
Where to stay:
The hotel is 1.5 km from the city-center. It has 14 rooms, a bar, billiards and parking.
Address: Lesi Ukrainki 84
Phone: +38 03849 28 106
The hotel is in the center of the Old City. It has a restaurant, a swimming pool and parking.
Address: Polskyi Rynok 8
Phone: +38 067 588 2215