12 February 2011

Castle Hunting: Kamyanets Podilsky

We are in the town of Kamyanets Podilsky, which is hard to sum up and difficult to describe. The old town is isolated on a rock island above a deep gorge, with two high bridges spanning the gap. Rebecca will have more on the town itself, eventually.
Guarding one of the bridges, and the little spit of land that originally connected the town with the bluffs around it, is the Kamyanets Podilsky fortress. I was able to get some great pictures of it on two separate afternoons, when the light was cooperative. It is dramatic, big, well preserved and situated in a particularly beautiful spot.
The original building dates to the 13th or 14th century, with major reconstruction beginning at the beginning of the 1400's - this whole period occurring during Lithuanian rule of the province. There is evidence, though, that earthen and wood walls existed here as early as the first century A.D., when the region was a roman territory. The current castle was designed by an Italian military architect, and is quite elaborate.
Some of the structure has been reconstructed, but it is largely whole. The inner defensive walls are remarkably low, in part because the cliffs surrounding the main defenses are so steep.
Though it is difficult to tell in this picture, the castle sits on the mainland side of the high "turkish bridge," which is essentially a rock isthmus with water on either side. During the 15th century, a system of locks and dams was put in place so that the canyon around the town could be flooded to a depth of 15 meters, cutting off the town from invasion from below. That left the bridge as the only means of reaching the buildings on the island, and put the castle in a key defensive position. The bridge is the wall of rock in the picture that looks like a hydro-electric dam.
While we were climbing around, we were joined by a friendly and silent dog, who trotted along beside us and did his best to get into the photos. A band was filming a music video on one of the walls, and we listened to the chorus of their song a few hundred times as they danced and pretended to play their instruments. They looked dramatic, perched up against the sky, and we think we might be making an appearance on Ukrainian MTV.
This is the view of the castle from the old town, across the bridge. We had a lot of fun scampering up and down the hills around it, trying to catch the sunlight between banks of oppressive clouds. There has been a constant, punishing wind that has nearly blown us off the cliffs a few times, but it's been worth it.

1 comment:

  1. If You are interested in history of this castle, You should watch this movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064785/ In the final there is great battle of Kamyanets Podilsky