Ukraine: Kamianets-Podilskyi – Around Town
Kamianets-Podilskyi is one of the oldest towns in Ukraine, first mentioned in 1062 at the height of Kievan Rus. In the 14th century it was annexed by Poland and became the eastern gateway to Poland,and thus was extremely elaborately fortified with massive walls and a huge castle to defend against Tatars from the south. In the 15-16th centuries, it became one of the most prominent cities in the Great Duchy of Lithuania, and the spectacular fortress and other fortifications continued to improve. In 1793, the city fell to Russia, and subsequently Peter the Great visited it twice, impressed with the fortifications (which he was obsessed with). In 1917, the city briefly came to be a part of an independent Ukraine and then fell into the Soviet hands, who conducted massive anti-peasant and anti-minority operations, killing thousands and deporting Armenians and Poles into the Central Asia. Nazi invasion came in 1941 and Kamianets-Podilskyi became the sight of the first and one of the largest Holocaust massacre exterminations on the Ukrainian territory, when 23,000 local Jews were killed in just two days as part of the Nazi Final Solution… Today, it’s a very beautiful and picturesque city, surrounded by massive walls and a castle sitting outside the modern town (next post). The are about a dozen churches and monasteries and cathedral, both orthodox and catholic, and the central Town Hall Ratusha towers above the main square. Panoramic views of the town can be had from the bridge leading to the castle.