UKRDOUG Castle Tours - Kamianets-Podilsky Fortress Traditional Geocache
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Enjoy visiting The Pearl of Podilya - the premier fort in Ukraine. The GC is not on or in the castle or wall. So enjoy the castle before or after your hunt.
Kamyanets – Podilsky
Kamyanets-Podilsky literally means the rocky lowlands, but the town is known as the “Pearl of Podilya”. The town was first mentioned in 1062 as a town of the Kyivan Rus Principality, although it is believed to be the ancient Dacian city of Petridava (Stone City). The city was destroyed by the Mongolian ruler Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, in 1241. The subsequent disintegration of the Kyivan Rus resulted in the town becoming a part of the Galicia-Volhynia Principality until its last king was heirless and the region was annexed by Poland towards the end of the 14th Century.
The Old Town has a natural defense. The Smotrych River wraps around Old Town like a mushroom separated by a narrow natural land bridge at the stem. The Castle sits at the base of the stem protecting the only land route into Old Town. It was a multi-cultural city inhabited by Ukrainians, Poles, Armenians and Jews. The oldest church is in the Polish quarter. St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral was by order of Bishop Paul I (1428-1453). During the Turkish occupation (1672-1699), the cathedral was converted into a mosque with a high minaret built on its western side.
The oldest fortress described dates from 1494, but a fortress has been here since prior to Kyivan Rus occupation. The description portrays an incomplete fortress of irregular shape. A collection was taken at the beginning of the 15th Century to build the twelve towers that can be seen today.
The New Castle was built in 1621 to protect the more vulnerable western side of the fortress.
The forces of Cossack leader Bogdan Khmelnitsky attacked the fortress several times from1648 to1658. Each time they were able to take the city but they were unable to take the fortress. They did inflict much suffering on the Jewish community during each siege.
The Turkish Sultan Mahomet IV attacked the fortress in August 1672 with a 120,000 strong army. The Polish defense only numbered 1500 troops with 1000 of them defending the New Castle where most of the battle took place. Eventually the defenders retreated into the Old Castle. The Turks blew up the Big West Tower on August 25. The following day the Poles surrendered with one-third of their troops massacred. The Turks would hold the fortress until the end of the Polish-Turkish Conflict in 1699 when it was returned to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
At the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, Kamyanets-Podilsky was given to the Russian Empire and Russian troops occupied the fortress without a fight. Peter the Great visited the fortress twice and was impressed by its fortifications. By the beginning of the 19th Century the fortress lost its military significance and was turned into a prison. The Pope Tower held the rebel leader Ustym Karmeliuk, known as the Ukrainian Robin Hood, who escaped three times.
The fortress was occupied by Austria-Hungary in 1915 during World War I. With the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, the fortress became part of several short-lived Ukrainian states until it was ceded to the Soviet Union in the 1921 Treaty of Riga. The Soviet period was harsh on the city and its Polish and Ukrainian inhabitants were all shipped to Siberia under Stalin.
During World War II the fortress was turned into a Jewish ghetto. The first action of the Nazi Final Solution occurred inside the fortress on August 27, 1941. In two days 23,600 Jews were slaughtered. No effort was made to hide this atrocity from the local inhabitants. Reconstruction of the fortress began in the 1950s.
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