Kamianets Podilskyi is a city in the western part of Ukraine, northeast of the city of Chernivtsi. The most dominating attraction is the Kamianets Podilskyi Castle, which is included in the Seven Wonders of Ukraine along with such famous sites as Pechersk Lavra. Strategically situated on the Smotrych River, Kamyanets Ukraine has played an important role in the history of the country. Armed with a number of historical and architecturally beautiful attractions, this town is a must-see for visitors of Ukraine.
Although the site dates back to antiquity, as it was occupied by ancient civilizations, the current name of the city first appears in the historical record as early as the eleventh century. Offering a foothold on the Smotrych River, an offshoot from the Dniester River, Kamyanets Ukraine has been a coveted site and was conquered by several nations, including the Kievan Rus’, Poland (under whose rule the castle was constructed), the Ottoman Empire, Russia, the Soviet Union, and finally Ukraine. The events that occurred throughout the history that surrounds Kamianets Podilskyi are echoed in the various relics that remain standing today.
A number of cultural and historical sites greet the visitors of Kamyanets Ukraine, including several markets; forts, such as the Stephen Bathory Tower and the Vitryana Gate; the cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul; and several examples of historic architecture located at the town’s center. The local markets are a great way to experience the mixture of cultures, including Ukrainian, Polish, and Armenian, that have come together to create this city.
Lovers of architecture and history will be right at home here. The eponymous Stephen Bathory Tower was designed by the man himself (a nephew of the cruel Transylvanian ruler Elizabeth Bathory), after being commissioned by the Polish king. A beautiful structure, featuring a golden Virgin Mary atop its tallest spire, the cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul is but one of the lovely specimen of the city’s architecture.
The most notable feature of the city is the Kamianets Podilskyi Castle, which is the largest and most dominating of the landscape. Set upon a precipice on an inland peninsula formed by the Smotrych River, the castle has holds a crucial strategic position. In the past thousand years, the, the fortification that occupied this place has undergone countless changes and has been used for several purposes, including a military prison and a common jail for criminals, political captives, and debtors. During the 1920s and 1930s, the castle was converted into a cultural and historical preservation site and a museum, and has since, in 2007, become one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Featuring twelve grand towers, solidly fortified walls, a bridge crossing the river into the Old Town, and a wealth of fantastic views and relics, this castle is the main attraction for many visitors of the city.
From the Stephen Bathory Tower to the Vitryana Gate to the illustrious Kamianets Podilskyi Castle surrounded by local legend, Kamyanets Ukraine offers an abundance of appeal for visitors who love to walk the footsteps of historical figures and experience some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes. If you’re looking for a pleasant day trip, book one of the hotels in Chernivtsi and travel here on your journey through this part of Ukraine.