of Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle was a crucial defensive bulwark in western Ukraine for centuries, with an unparalleled record of repelling invaders from Cossacks to Ottoman Turks to Tatars. Traditionally, Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle was thought to have been founded during the second half of the 14th century. However, archaeological excavations during the 1960s, however, provided contrasting evidence suggesting that the castle might date back even earlier to the end of the 12th or the beginning of the 13th century.
Bastions of Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle
In the XVII century, to improve the defense capabilities of the fortress T. Schomberg developed, according to the latest achievements of Dutch art of fortification, and implemented the project of the new fortress, consisting of Northern and Southern bastions.
New fortifications fortress consists of a system of fortifications, ramparts, and moats, which were connected to the old castle on the means of the suspension bridge. The castle at one time featured no less than 12 towers, though only 7 remain intact today. Still, what remains is impressive, as it sits picturesquely sprawled over the hillside across the winding Smotrych River.
From the beginning of the 18th century, Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle had lost its defensive role and was used more as a military prison than a military fortification. Even though it had lost its defensive role, it was one of the strongest fortresses. From 1816 until 1914, the fortress was converted from a military prison into jail for debtors, criminals, and political prisoners
The history of Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle in the 20th century
During the late 1930s, plans were made to turn the abandoned castle into a museum, and reconstruction work on the buildings was started in 1937. In 1947, abandoned Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle was placed on the Soviet Union list of historic preserves.
In 2004, the “Kamianets” reserve was upgraded to that of a national preservation district. On August 21, 2007, the complex was declared one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine when it came in 3rd place in a nationwide competition.
Main Towers of Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle
- Papal Tower — was built in 1505 – 1515 on the left side of the castle;
- Cap Tower — built in the shape of a cylinder with a conical roof. It was significantly upgraded in 1544 when the foundation of the castle was strengthened.
- Tenchinskaya Tower — the name of this tower is connected to a castellan (administrator of the castle in XV century) Jan Tęczyński. The height of the tower is 21 meters.
- Lask White Tower — got its name for the storage of episcopal things (constructed in XV). “White” is associated with the physical properties of the tower – white color dominates in its masonry.
- Ancient Tower — the oldest tower (XII – XVI) is in the perimeter of a rectangle with a lot of loopholes. The main architectural feature of this tower is an open roof.
- New Big Tower — after the invasion of the Turks during the Polish-Ottoman War (1672 – 1676), the tower was badly damaged. The tower is completely outside of the abandoned castle and it has an additional wall.
- Lanckoronski Tower — was built at the expense of Jan Lassa (1456 – 1531) – Primate of Poland (the head of the bishops of the country).
- Water Tower — outside of the abandoned castle, the Water Tower served as the main source of water during the siege. The tower has a hidden tunnel to the Rozhanka Tower of Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle.
- Rozhanka Tower — the tower has a historic sign that says “Tower Kreslava, the Bishop Vladislav, who finished construction of the castle in 1505”. That sign dates back to the end of the construction of the original stone castle at the expense of the bishop Kreslav from Kurozvenki in 1505.
- Commandant Tower — a small cylindrical tower (XV century) with a conical roof, acted as the lookout for the garrison commander, and loopholes designed to provide additional protection to the castle
- West Tower — a small western tower was designed to strengthen the defenses of the castle from the west. West Tower and Big Tower provided protection to one of the weakest points of the castle.
- New West (Black) Tower