Scenery

Scenery

Kamianets-Podilskyi – UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Kamianets-Podilskyi

No epithet is able to describe fully the splendor of this ancient city, which no other city can match, even in Europe. Founded on an island, which was created by the Smotrych River bend, Kamianets-Podilskyi has a history, which has formed its diverse appearance. An incredible quantity of amazing 11th – 19th centuries’ monuments and landmarks are concentrated on the territory of the Old City. They are a big reason why this city is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

ancient city

For over a thousand years, Kamianets-Podilskyi, located at the crossing of European trade routes and influenced by different cultures, had been a frontier castle, for which the East and the West fought constantly. The first fortification buildings appeared here in times of Kyivan Rus. However, most consider the city to have been founded in 1362 by the Lithuanian Koryatowicz princes. Legend has it that while out hunting, the brothers chased a beautiful deer, which led them to an unusual island surrounded by a deep canyon. In that place, a location saved by nature from outer threats, the Lithuanian princes decided to build a fortress.

The city grew so rapidly, that it soon turned into a large trade and craft center and began to compete with Kyiv and Lviv. But Kamianets-Podilskyi experienced real prosperity in the 15th century, when it passed to Poland. At that time, three ethnic communities lived here – Poles, Armenians and Ukrainians – each of which decorated its neighborhoods with distinct architecture. During the Polish period, Kamianets-Podilskyi became known for its impenetrability. According to legend, a Turkish sultan, who had tried in vain to enter the city, asked the local citizens: “Who built this fort?” “The God himself did!” – was the answer. “So let God conquer it!” – the sultan conceded.

19th centuries' landmarks

priceless buildings almost unchanged

Ironically, in 1672 the fortress surrendered to the Turks, who left a big imprint on the city during their 27 years of governance. Later, in 1699, Kamianets-Podilskyi returned to the guardianship of Poland, and a century later it passed to the Russian Empire.

Despite the twists in history, Kamianets-Podilskyi has managed to preserve its priceless buildings almost unchanged. The main sight is still the Ancient Fortress, considered to be one of the best samples of fortification buildings in Eastern Europe. Massive walls and bastions continue to inspire with their might and majesty. Among the fort towers, the ones that stand out are the Black Tower, which contains a 40-meter well, and the Karmeliukova Tower, which is the tallest tower and was named in the 19th century after its prisoner – Ukrainian national hero Ustym Karmeliuk.

In the towers and dungeons of the fortress are unique exhibitions, which brightly illustrate the pages of Kamianets-Podilskyi’s history: scenes of medieval trials, defenses of the fort, and weapons collections are all depicted. The “Antiquities of Podolia” exposition, describing the past of the region, is especially interesting. The castle bridge that leads to the fortress is separate tourist attraction on its own. It is often called the Turkish bridge, because in 17th century, when the Ottomans ruled the city, the bridge was considerably rebuilt.

Kamianets-Podilskyi

The sacral architecture of Kamianets-Podilskyi is no less impressive – it fascinates with its richness and variety of represented cultures. A special place among the treasures of the city belongs to the Armenian Cathedral and to the St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, an example of the beauty that combination of two different religious architectures can bring. During the Ottomans’ brief stay, the cathedral was turned into mosque. Since that time, it has been supplemented by a Turkish minaret. The complex of the Dominican Monastery also bears the imprints of different epochs and styles. And St. Nicolas’ Catholic Church, included in the complex, is considered to be one of the most ancient city temples.

Because of so many historic monuments, Kamianets-Podilskyi gives you the opportunity to dive into a truly medieval atmosphere. And in order to get the most out of this wonderful city, you should visit it during a holiday or festival, which take place here almost all year around!

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

TOP 4 UKRAINE SKIING PLACES

bukovel

With gorgeous Carpathian Mountains piled up in the western corner of the country, Ukraine has got itself into a great deal with the ski lovers.  Famous with local tourists, Ukraine skiing spots are slowly getting onto the radars of more distant travelers.  It’s not just the thrill of ski jumps that attracts visitors: cozy tucked away traditional villages, delicious home-made food and plenty of ancient holiday traditions add up to the charm!

If you are interested in testing your skis out in Ukraine, this post will be your ultimate guide to country’s top well-known and hidden ski spots.

 

BUKOVEL SKI RESORT (IVANO-FRANKIVSK REGION)

Bukovel ski resort

If we have to choose one place that offers excellent service, great slopes and plenty of snow, Bukovel would be it.  Easily accessible by regular bus shuttles from Ivano-Frankivsk, this famous ski resort is up and coming place for ski lovers. Keep in mind that Bukovel is the most expensive of all Ukrainian ski resorts, and has been built on bare land: it’s in a way its own compound, with skiing, entertainment and accommodation located in one place. While it might be convenient for many, it is rather commercialized vacation spot and does not have the feeling of authenticity, that many smaller places have.

BUKOVEL SKI RESORT: FACTS SNAPSHOT

Slopes: averaging 900 m to 1370 m height

Number of lifts: 16, almost all are chair lifts

Total length: 50 km

Service quality: high

Accessibility: high

Snow: available November to April, slopes are usually groomed and there are snow-making machines

All categories of difficulty are available for great snowskiing and snowboarding.Beginners can try themselves out on a gradual slope, and kids will love short tows.  For more experienced skiers there are several black diamonds. Night skiing is available from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m, on two slopes that are upper intermediate.

Getting there: take a train to Ivano-Frankivsk. Outside of the train station there will be buses running in the direction of TC Bukovel. Expect two hours by bus (110 km)

Staying there: there are plenty of hotels and B&B available around the resort. Make sure you book well in advance, as Ukrainians tend to flock there during high holiday season (December 29th – January 12th).  Most of the hotels in Bukovel do not offer one day package, and you have to buy few days accommodation.

SLAVSKE SKI RESORT (LVIV REGION)

Slavske ski resort

This resort is most popular with students, youth and anyone who lives in or around Lviv. It’s located merely 120 km from Lviv, and is easily accessible by public transportation.  Four mountains – Trostian, Pohar, Menchur and Politechnik – give plenty of options for skiers.  Pohar and Politechnik are favorites of beginners. Mountain Zvynets hosts ‘Zahar Berkut’ ski resort and is great for more advanced skiers. Trostian is the highest, and most of the time has good snow.

SLAVSKE SKI RESORT: FACTS SNAPSHOT

Slopes: averaging 600 m to 1232 m height

Number of lifts: 20, only some are chair lifts

Total length: 12 km

Service quality: medium

Accessibility: high

Snow: available December to March, there are not enough snow-making machines, so check the weather forecast in advance

Staying there: look out for small B&B and rural guesthouses. Some will offer pick up truck transportation all the way to the slopes. Book way in advance, if you want to get the best price and service. Slavske is known for its good food! Lots of options, reasonable prices and fast service. If you don’t want to wait 40 min to get your cup of tea, Slavske is your place!

PYLYPETS AND PODOBOVETS (ZAKARPATTYA REGION)

Pylypets and Podobovets in Transcarpathia

These places are not yet ski resorts in its full sense, however, they are developing rapidly and surprise skiers with good prices.  Three mountains (Podobovets, Pylypets and Mahura) are the base, with most services provided by private sector: locals. There’s good selection of ski slopes, however, it does not have yet all the necessary machinery to maintain it. Check the weather forecast to make sure there is enough snow. Most of the slopes are not suitable for beginners. Some have 45 degrees’ angle!

Also, entertainment infrastructure (loud bars and discos) is not developed at all. So, if you are into the local authentic culture, these two villages will be your first choice! Local villagers still keep old traditions of rural Ukraine and are always eager to prepare home-made borshch, teach you how to weave carpets and show you the famous village hospitality.  If you are interested in short tours around the area, you will love a trip to Ukraine’s highest mountain lake – Synevyr, or a visit to beautiful Shypit waterfall.

PYLYPETS AND PODOBOVETS FACTS SNAPSHOT

Slopes: averaging 700 m to 1500 m height

Number of lifts: 10

Total length: 25 km

Service quality: medium

Accessibility: medium

Snow: available December to March, there are not enough snow-making machines, so check the weather forecast in advance

Accommodation: very reasonable prices (starting from 6-8 euros per night), mainly locally owned guesthouses.

DRAGOBRAT (ZAKARPATTYA REGION)

Dragobrat – Ukraine’s highest ski resort

This ski resort is the highest in Ukraine (up to 1800 m). It also has no doubt the most beautiful views. While there are not enough snow-making machines, nature fills up the need: snow appears usually around November, and stay all the way till May. Sometimes the snow cover is 5 m high! If you are beginner, then this place is not for you. The slopes are rather tough, and there is barely any entertainment available.  Ski resort is also not easily accessible, as there is no yet proper road up to it.  If you decide to try out Dragobrat, plan for a fun ride in a local pick-up truck along the bumpy mountainous road! Great experience for those, looking for something off-the-beaten track.

DRAGOBRAT SKI RESORT FACTS SNAPSHOT

Slopes: averaging 1400 m to 1800 m height

Total length: 10 km

Number of lifts: 10

Service quality: medium

Accessibility: poor

Snow: available November to May, there are not enough snow-making machines, so check the weather forecast in advance

If you are not afraid to try out the very local experience, you can do the train. However, if you are looking for more comfort, take a train from Lviv to Ivano-Frankivsk. Then get a bus to Yasinya. From the village of Yasinya one will have to take local public transportation (the famous pick-up trucks) in order to get up to Dragobrat. If you are driving your own car, keep in mind that the road from Yasinya to Dragobrat is actually an absence of one, so don’t event attempt to drive it. It’s safer to park your car in Yasinya, and use the pick-up trucks (One ride will cost you around 2 euros).

Accommodation: very reasonable prices (starting from 8-10 euros per night), mainly locally owned guesthouses.

Best Posts

Kamianets-Podilskyi

Kamianets-Podilskyi – UNESCO World Heritage Sites

No epithet is able to describe fully the splendor of this ancient city, which no other city can match, even in Europe. Founded on...
Tunnel of Love

Tunnel of Love