to hear the voice of centuries
Different peoples left behind a multitude of fortification structures on the Ukrainian lands throughout the ages.
The fortresses and majestic castles have a history, legendary aura and destiny all their own. In the western part of the country quite a few castles of the 11th-17th centuries have survived to our days. They were alternately possessed by the Poles, Austro-Hungarians, Lithuanians and Russians. The fortress at Kamianets-Podilsky is among Europe’s matchless strongholds of the Middle Ages. It dominates a meandering canyon with the river Smotrych murmuring at the bottom. The tourist is warned not to fall under the beguiling spell of the narrow streets, mysterious looking walls, palaces, monasteries and churches. The castle at Mukacheve in Transcarpathia crowns a steep hill. Throughout the centuries conquerors invested the castle time and again, but only a few managed to force its defenders into submission. After the fall of the Bastille in Paris, the Mukacheve Castle became Europe’s biggest political prison. A no less fascinating experience will be a tour of the castles at Olesko and Zolochiv in Lviv Region, the fortress at Khotyn in Chernivtsi Region, and in the town of Zhovkva. In the valley watered by the Southern Buh and Buzhok rivers towers the grand fortress at Medzhybizh, Khmelnytsky Region.
The Akkerman fortress at Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky is a dominating feature along the Dniester River in the southern part of Odessa Region. Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky developed on the site of Tyras, a town founded by the ancient Greeks two and a half thousand years ago, about the same time when Rome, Athens and Jerusalem were built. Sited along the Black Sea shores are a number of Genoese fortified outposts. The Genoese fortress at Sudak is perhaps the best preserved. The tourist will be advised to travel to the Crimean inland to be introduced to something that is quite unusual for Europeans – the cave cities of Mangup, Chufut-Kale, Seki-Kermen and Tepe-Kermen.