Kamyanets Podilsky Castle
Kamyanets Podilsky Castle Kamianets-Podilskyi Reviews
Kamyanets Podilsky Medieval Fortified Town and Citadel Jun 17, 2011
Kamyanets Podilsky is a town in western Ukraine. The place is amazing! The Disney-esque castle is of course spell binding, but the medieval town itself is also a wonder. Its narrow winding lanes are hard to photograph and capture, but are in their completeness make one of the best sites in all Europe. Situated in a huge double bend in the river, both the town and the castle are surrounded by water and high cliffs. The castle is connected to the town by a narrow causeway. There is a single high bridge that connects the modern town, with the old town, that’s it!
Five hundred years ago Kamyanets Podilsky was one of the main frontiers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. From 1434 until its annexation by the Russian Empire in 1793, the castle played a major role in the defence against the oncoming Cossack, Ottoman and Tatar invasions. Throughout the 15-17th centuries, the castle was attacked by Tatar hordes a total of 51 times. The Tatar invasions of 1448, 1451, 1509 and 1528 as well as the Ottoman siege of 1533 were destructive to both the castle and the city; however, all of them were successfully repelled.
In 1651, the castle was yet again under another Cossack siege. Just one year later, the castle was attacked by a 40,000 strong force Tatar horde. In 1672, a 300,000 strong Ottoman force and a 40,000 strong combined force of Tatars and Cossacks attacked the fortress. The city leaders surrendered against this huge horde, but in protest the fortress's commander blew up the castle's remaining gunpowder, killing himself along with 800 defenders. The castle remained in Ottoman hands for 27 years before being handed over to Polish control. In 1793 the castle was handed over to the Russians. In Napoleons 1812 invasion of Russia, the Imperial Army was stationed nearby, though the castle lost its strategic importance and was turned into a prison.
An odd one this. I was walking up the hill away from the castle on the main road when I heard hoofs thundering behind me. My heart jumped at the sudden sound but I unwisely didn’t even look over my shoulder (I should have ran for my life!). There after eight horses with riders (dressed in circus style clothes) stormed past me in an impromptu street race. One of the horses lost traction on the corner and slid over, badly damaging the rider’s leg. Another horse galloped into a crowd of tourists and knocked a cyclist to the ground very hard. Her mountain bike was bent in two by the force. Further up the road one of the horses has somehow smashed the back of car, and a policewoman was stumbling around with a broken leg. The locals were really annoyed at the horse riders, and I saw them giving police statements later. I still have no idea what had occurred.
To get a great view of the fortress, consider walking a complete loop around the main structure. Behind the medieval castle are the remains of angular renaissance fortifications for cannon.
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