UKRDOUG Castle Tours - Bubnyshche Stronghold Traditional Geocache
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This ancient site is full of mystery. The name itself, and of the nearby town, is clouded in legend. The story goes that one-day the rock was being defended by enemies of the Turkish lords. Just as the Turks were about to achieve victory, a young maiden named Bubnyshche ran in front of the rocks and called out for protection. The Turks seized her and continued the battle that they eventually lost. The defenders found the girl who climbed to the top of the rocks to rejoice over the retreating Turks.
These rocks are of the same formations that form Tustan Fortress near the village of Urych. Archaeological finds suggest the rocks were used as a celestial observatory as early as the days of the biblical King David and even as far back as the prophet Moses. Some petroglyphs on the rocks and carved “sacrifice” cups suggest that these rocks once served as a temple to Perun that later was converted into an early Christian monastery. Kerfs carved into the rocks attest to a Rus fortress that once stood here by the 10th century AD.
Historians agree that this fortress was an outpost of Yaroslav Osmomysl who became the Rus Prince of Halych in 1153 at the age of 18. He built an alliance with the kings of Poland and Hungary against the Grand Prince of Kyiv. As a result the Grand Prince of Kyiv assisted Ivan Berladnik, the Rus Prince of Volhynia and cousin of Yaroslav, in attempting to capture several Halych towns on his border. After several years of war, Berladnik was banished to Byzantium.
Yaroslav was married to Olga, the daughter of Rus Prince Yury Dolgoruky, the founder of Moscow. In 1172 Yaroslav fell in love with the Halychian woman Anastasia and sent Olga away. The powerful Halych boyars refused to accept Anastasia as their queen and fomented a popular uprising that resulted in Anastasia being burnt at the stake and Yaroslav taking Olga back into his court. But a year later Yaroslav sent Olga and her son Vladimirko to Suzdal and named Oleg, son of Anastasia, as his heir. Oleg did not rule long as Vladimirko returned and killed Oleg and took the throne.
Yaroslav was also the father-in-law to Prince Igor Svyatoslavich, the central figure in the Russian poem “Tale of Igor’s Campaign.” The poem glorifies Yaroslav with these words:
Eight-minded Yaroslav of Halych! You sit high on your gold-forged throne; you have braced the Hungarian mountains with your iron troops; you have barred the [Hungarian] king's path; you have closed the Danube's gates, hurling weighty missiles over the clouds, spreading your courts to the Danube. Your thunders range over lands; you open Kiev's gates; from the paternal golden throne you shoot at sultans beyond the lands.
Today the rocks are named after Oleksa Dovbush, the Robin Hood of the Carpathian Mountains. Legend proclaims this as the hiding place, the “Sherwood Forest,” of Dovbush’s “merry-men”. Even Count Jozef Potocki with an army of 2000 men could not capture the elusive Dovbush. His end was the result of the betrayal of Dzvinka, the woman he loved, in 1745. She confessed her affair to her husband Stefan who together set a trap to collect the reward. It is highly unlikely that these rocks were Dovbush’s hiding place since they were well known at the time, but nevertheless he very likely could have spent a night or two here during his escapades.
The rocks today are part of a national park and sports complex. The main set of rocks contains four caves, three of which are manmade. Carved above the entrance to the main cave is an open shelf where the roof of a wooden side structure was probably once attached. The next artificial cave is thought to be a stable for horses.
Rock climbers practice their skills by climbing the steep pyres. The highest rock is called Battleship at 46 meters. Below this is Witch or Dovbush’s Head. There is also a narrow passage between towering cliffs known as Purgatory. Only those who are free from sin can pass through. Visitors also have labeled different rocks in the main complex such as Lion, Elephant, Turtle and Walrus. Just below the main complex is a rock that climbers call Trout. Up the hill is the 30-meter Odynets.
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