Castle in Kamyanets-Podilskyi - fortress in Ukraine
Location show on map
Castle Street 1, Kamyanets-Podilskyi, Ukraine
Date of build
From the 12th to the early 19th century
The castle in Kamyanets-Podilsky is located on an amazing site, on a rocky peninsula, in the canyon of the Smotrich River. The combination of unusual nature with impenetrable fortress walls impresses tourists every day.
For centuries, the fortress was an important defensive bastion of western Ukraine, with unparalleled qualities in repelling invaders ranging from Cossacks to Ottoman Turks to Tatars. In the 13th and 14th centuries the castle managed to repel 51 attacks by Mongol hordes.
Initially, the fortress was used as an Old Russian wooden defensive structure. In the 15th century Kamieniec Podolski passed into the hands of the Polish nobility and became an important defensive point of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (years 1434-1793). The wooden fortress was then rebuilt in stone.
At that time the fortress in Kamieniec Podolski was called "the bulwark of Christianity" and "the gate to Poland", it was an important and strategic stronghold on the eastern borders of Poland.
The fortress consists of two parts. The first one is the Old Fortress with walls and towers, which had eleven towers in the shape of an irregular quadrilateral, joining in the fortress walls. The second part is the New Castle with ramparts and moats, it was built in the 17th century and is a bastion system with additional defensive structures.
The Old Castle is located on the edge of a high mountain corner (from southeast to northwest), while its dimensions are: width about 50 meters, length from the north - 135 meters, length from the south - 160 meters and 180 meters in the middle.
The area of the castle courtyard is about ¾ of a hectare (1.8 acres), and with the annexes it is more than 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres).
The castle has 11 towers (4 on one side, 4 on the other side, two connected on the west side and one on the north side), all of which are built entirely of stone and have stone brackets.
Each tower has its own name and characteristics, these are in turn:
- Pope Tower - five-story high, four-sided at the bottom, eight-sided in the middle and round at the top, covered by a cone-shaped roof,
- Kolpak Tower - circular with several shooting holes and a cone-shaped roof,
- Rainbow Tower - round with several arches and stone brackets on top, surrounded by a wall from the bottom to the center,
- White Tower (also known as the Ark Tower) - round, with an old white fence,
- Bottom Tower - round, tall and uncovered,
- New West Tower - large and uncovered tower that runs outside the walls, with several high gun ports,
- Rose Tower - round, with a conical brick roof,
- Water Tower - located by the river, formerly connected with the castle by the Field Gate,
- Lanckorońska Tower - round, three-storey tower, with a conical brick roof and small arches,
- The Well Tower - hides a well carved in the rock inside.
The new castle is trapezoidal in shape with a wide side to the northwest. Its width including the shafts is 250 meters and its length is about 220 meters. The area of this part is about 3 hectares (7.5 acres).
The fortress has twice passed into enemy hands. The first time the castle fell prey was in 1393. In the same year Grand Duke Vitold of Lithuania invaded Podolia. Upon hearing about the arrival of the Lithuanians, Duke Fyodor Koriatovich left the castle and fled to the court of his brother in the Moldavian Principality. The prince's escape greatly undermined the morale of the defenders, and Witold managed to capture the castle in Kamieniec Podolski without difficulty.
The second time took place in 1672, this time by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottomans constantly bombarded the castle with artillery. Additionally, they dug tunnels under the defensive structure and then blew them up to undermine the foundations of the fortress. Eventually, breaches were made in the castle's defenses and the Ottomans succeeded in taking the castle.
In 1793, after the Second Partition of Poland, the castle along with Podolia became part of the Russian Empire. As a result, the castle lost its defensive functions.
At the beginning of the 19th century the castle was converted into a prison.
During World War I the fortress served as the headquarters of the Russian army. In the interwar period (in 1928), the castle was turned into an open-air museum. Thorough renovation of the castle was carried out only after World War II.
Currently, it serves as an open-air museum where military and historical re-enactments and concerts are held.
Inside, you can explore the dark corridors, stone passages, dank prison dungeons, towers, and defensive walls you can only dream of.
The castle is recognized as one of the seven wonders of Ukraine, part of the traditional "Tourism in Ukraine" program.
In 1989, it was added to the Ukrainian UNESCO Information List, a list of sites that the state intends to consider for submission for inclusion on the World Heritage List.
The bridge connecting the fortress in Kamyanets-Podilskyi with the Old Town is also noteworthy. The Castle Bridge looks rather like a dam, this solid wall is 86 meters long and 28.2 meters high.
"built by God’s hand" - colloquial term for a castle