Kamianets-Podilskyi is waiting for you!
It’s beautiful, famous and at the same time mysterious city…
This city like a courageous grey-headed warrior keeps one of its biggest secrets among all its treasures. During decades generations of researchers can’t puzzle out this mystery.
The secret of this amazing town hides in the gloominess of ages.
Majority of chronologists consider that the history of ancient Kamianets is connected with Old Russian state. After all there are many arguments, which support the theories of Lithuanian or even Roman foundation of Kamianets. All these theories have many evidences and rejections…
But there is no doubt that Kamianets’ natural and geographical situation is unique. Modern scientists consider that picturesque cliffs, that surround historical center of Kamianets-Podilskyi, are the reminders of geologic processes and climate patterns which over millions of years created comfortable conditions for humans and their vital needs.
The River Smotrych that flows through the city makes a loop between precipitous, unscalable cliffs and forms peninsula that gives people the feeling of safety since olden times. Houshold’s development, centralization of administrations transformed settlement into the real capital.
For the additional defense people built fortifications from the local stone. They named this town Kamianets. Here passed trade route, priests of different religion and confessions arrived here, Kamianets became the main city of Podillia.
The history of the city also remembers tense times of Mongol-Tatar Yoke. Hereupon the Lithuanians gave the community of the city self-administration right in 1374. It helped renew social and economic life.
Tax exempt, organized community and fair climate conditions brought Kamianets to the level of European cities.
In due course Kamianets felt aftermath of Islamic and Christian influences.
Because of the permanent military peril people turned peninsula to the perfect fortification center. They developed fortification according to the best European patterns till 18 century.
The value of Kamianets’ fortress changed due to the new warfare that applied modern weapons and was quite different from the medieval one.
However Kamianets was remembered as unconquerable fortress-city in Europe for a long time. Writers tagged descriptions of the warriors’ and civilians’ legendary deeds to the heroic pages of the stone city’s history. One of these stories dedicated to Volodyievskyi, hero of patriotic trilogy written by Henrikh Senkevych. It still reminds readers about sacrifice for Motherland protection.
Events of 1672 changed serious-minded researches’ attitude to others cultures, because exactly the Turks made full inventory in the Kamianets after its conquest. They opened the first in Europe coffee house as early as in 17 century and kept capital status of the city.
The minaret near the Cathedral reminds visitors about that period of time. It is an original symbol of ethnical and religious mixture of traditions. There is no such combination in any other city – Holy Mather is on the minaret of the Cathedral.
Since 15-th century, after Kamianets became a part of Polish state, its community had obtained internal autonomy. There were three large national communities inside of it, and thanks to this law each of them could deal with the matters according to their own traditions.
Besides the Ukrainian and the Poles, there was large Armenian community. Some names on the territory of the Old Town still reminds about Armenian influence. These are Armenian well, Armenian square, Armenian street and many others.
It’s well known that till 16-th century the town was called Kamianets. But because of its important role in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s life clerks of that times decided to add to the city’s name word Podilskyi, which point to its territorial situation, because there were couple of towns with such name. Historically Kamianets was the main city of Podillia.
In 18-th century city was considered to be a strategic center between Christianity and Ottoman Empire. But the quick changes on political map led to joining Kamianets and the largest part of Podillia to Russian Empire. This event opens new page in the city’s life.
Ethnic composition changed a lot, increased the number of Jewish community, the Gipsies began to settle in the suburbs of the city. Essentially they changed the balance in the community’s religious life. But the main changes were connected with the confined territory of the peninsula, where the city was developing.
“New plan of governorate city Kamianets-Podilskyi’s development was prepared and put into life by the chancellery of the Emperor Nicholas I. Step by step the territory of the city began to increase due to the development of the territories beyond the canyon, which surrounded the Old town, and joining the ancient suburbs: Russian and Polish estates, Karvasary and Pidzamche. As time went on slopes around cliffs were modified into beautiful park, which girds canyon like a horseshoe and separates old center of the city from modern streets’ noise.
In our times citizens and visitors of the city have great opportunity for having rest and walking on the path in this park.
The tumultuous events of the 20th century led to some of the greatest acts of heroics as well as terrible tragedies in the history of Kamianets.
One can actually learn a lot about some of the past events that occurred during the last century by looking at the various alterations that were made to many of the old buildings, churches and temples, and by remembering all the people who lost their lives during the various foreign occupations of Kamianets-Podilskyi.
During the second half of the 20th century, Kamianets was well known as an educational and industrial center. In 1977 the territory of the Old Town was declared as a National Historical and Architectural Reserve. Over the time it became a prominent cultural center similar in stature with Kyiv and Lviv. The unique significance of the Old town has gained it a National status and is also currently on the tentative list for World Heritage Sites.
One can feel the pulse of Kamianets-Podilskyi by simply walking along the streets of the city or witness the different eras that have gone by. One can also enjoy the fresh air of the shady alleys that accompany the city streets. Kamianets also has a number of universities with large student basesthat account for 1/3 of the city population.
Due to its unique characteristics, the combination of modern and ancient, Kamianets leaves no one uninterested.
Hotel “Reikartz” offers you a great place to stay with beautiful views of the City Hall (Ratusha) and the Old castle, friendly personnel and comfortable rooms.
Certainly one may feel that the city doesn’t reveal all its secrets entirely. However, once the mystery slowly and gradually starts to unfoldI can assure you that you will be looking forward to exploring this beautiful and mysterious cityeven more.