May 30, 2014

1089 UKRAINE (Khmelnytskyi Oblast) - Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle

Located on the Smotrych River, near to its flow into the Dniester, Kamyanets-Podilsky is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, for many centuries a major cultural centre of Podolia. It was first mentioned in 1062 as a Slavic town controlled by Lithuanians, but evidence suggests that was founded a thousand years before by the Dacians, under the name Petridava or Klepidava. In 1241 it was destroyed by the Mongols, and in 1352 was annexed by the Polish King Casimir III.

Under the Poles it grew into a center of international trade, second only to Lviv. In 1672 the city was captured by Cossacks and Turks, and remained in Turkish hands until 1699. After the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, the city belonged to the Russian Empire, and with the collapse of it after WWI it became part of the Soviet Union, in Ukrainian SSR. As a natural crossroad for trans-Carpathian and trans-Ukrainian trade, but also as a frontier town, Kamianets-Podilskyi has been always multi-ethnic and multi-religious.

The Poles and the Ukrainians have dominated the population, but in town have lived substantial Jewish and Armenian minorities, and also Lithuanians, Romanians, Russians, Turks and Germans. During the Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648-1658), the Jewish community suffered much, and during WWII, in 1941, under the German occupation, near the city occurred one of the first and largest Holocaust mass-murder events, during which 23,600 Jews were killed by Einsatzgruppen, most of them Hungarian Jews, but also local Ukrainian Jews.

Under Soviet rule, many Poles were deported to Central Asia, and many ukrainians were massacred, as "enemies of the people". In 1927, troops from Moscow suppressed the massive uprisings of peasants and factory workers. Now, the town is almost exclusively Ukrainian. Despite the twists in history, Kamianets-Podilskyi has managed to preserve its priceless buildings almost unchanged. The main sight is the castle, one of the best samples of fortification buildings in Eastern Europe.

Traditionally, it was thought to have been founded during the second half of the 14th century, when most of the territories of western Rus' were under control of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but archaeological excavations provided evidence suggesting that it might date back even earlier to the end of the 12th or the beginning of the 13th centuries. The wooden Kyivan Rus’ fortress was replaced in the 15th and 16th centuries by a large stone citadel, aimed to defend Poland from the southwest against Ottoman and Tatar invasions.

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. I can't conclude without mentioning the importance that had Kamianets-Podilskyi (Cameniţa in Romanian) for Romanian history, due to its location near Dniester, the natural and historical border of Moldavia.

On the one hand, between the walls of Camenița took refuge the princely family of the Movilesti, the chroniclers Miron Costin and Ion Neculce, the Metropolitan Dosoftei, the scholars dynasty Hasdeu, and many boyars, accused of one or the other,  fled from the wrath of the ruler and took exile in Podolia, Galicia, Pokuttia, and into the depths of Poland. When you running away  from Moldavia, could consider that got away just after crossing the Dniester to Khotyn, and reach to Cameniţa. On the other hand, here passing the most important trade route connecting the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, through Lviv, Cameniţa, Khotyn, until Cetatea Albă (now Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi) and Chilia.

About the stamps
Three of the stamps, depicting small-leaved lime / Tilia cordata (3,00 UAH), horse-chestnut / Aesculus hippocastanum (0,50 UAH), and betula pendula / Betula pendula (0,70 UAH), are part of a series about leaf and fruits, about which I wrote here.

The round stamp is part of a serie about Oriental Lunar Calendar, designed by Ivan Kravets and issued on 2013 (all with the same face value - 2,50 UAH):
• the rat
• the bull
• the tiger
• the rabbit
• the dragon
• the snake
• the horse
• the sheep
• the monkey
• the rooster - It's on the postcard 1089
• the dog
• the pig

Kamianets-Podilskyi - Wikipedia
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle - Wikipedia
Kamianets Podilskyi - Discover Ukraine
Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine - Travel to Ukraine

Sender: Marina Vaskovskaya (direct swap)
Sent from Cherkasy (Cherkasy Oblast / Ukraine), on 04.05.2014
Photo: Oleg Zahrli

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