Khmelnytskyi

Khmelnytskyi region: the last capital of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, a picturesque flooded village, and the development of aeronautics

There is a fortress on this land that has been captured only twice in its entire history. Here, they fight against stereotypes about Ukrainians and restore lost traditions. The city of Kamianets in the Khmelnytskyi region (Ukr. oblast) became the last capital of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. But the struggle of the region, as well as of the whole country, will continue as long as it is necessary.

Flooded village

Once, there was a historical settlement here that was part of the Galicia–Volhynia principality. In the city of Bakota, foot trade and waterways converged. Now it is a flooded village near Kamianets-Podilskyi, one of the most beautiful places in Ukraine.

But that beauty has a price. Hundreds of families left their homes and farms to build a reservoir here for a hydroelectric power plant—the Dniester HPP. This is the highest (over 100 meters, or 328 feet) and largest hydroelectric power plant in Europe.

But 28 villages, 16,000 hectares (39536 acres) of fertile land, and 100 hectares (247 acres) of forest, vineyards, and orchards were underwater. The resettlement of residents lasted for eight years, and the flooding of the area with water lasted for another six. Now, this reservoir is 200 km (124 miles) long, and the floodplain extends over 1,590 hectares (3928 acres).

 

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Avenger of Khmelnytskyi region

In Khmelnytskyi region, alongside Carpathian Oleksa Dovbush, there is an avenger: Ustym Karmaliuk. Under his leadership, the town of Letychiv became the center of a popular uprising against the nobility and the Moscow occupation.

Letychiv is one of the oldest settlements, it was often destroyed by Turks and Tatars until the wooden castle was rebuilt into a stone fortress. Now only the castle walls on three sides and a round tower similar to a crown have survived.

Very close to Letychiv—Medzhybizh Fortress. The fortress has managed to be preserved in good shape until now, despite the fact that the Soviet authorities placed an oil factory, a rural council, and a collective farm here. It was during this time that the castle was seriously damaged.

The “Old Medzhybizh” festival is held in the fortress, where you can watch real knightly battles. In 1846, Taras Shevchenko visited here—he participated in an archaeological survey.

Better safe than sorry

In Sutkivtsi, there is a church that does not look like a church. Except because of the cross. But those were the times, at first, the church was built as a defensive structure. Ukrainians say: “God protects the protected, but the saber protects the Cossack.” (“Better safe than sorry”). There is now a temple and a museum. 

Podilski Tovtry

Something similar in terms of the geological structure of landforms is found only in the USA and Great Britain. Podilski Tovtry is the remains of an ancient barrier reef of the Pontic Sea, formed from corals and other organisms.

Here you can go hiking, raft the Dniester, fish, ride a bicycle, climb caves, fly on a paraglider, and observe nature—145 species listed in the Red Book (60 plants and 85 animals). You can also drink mineral water—there are a lot of them here. And look at Vrublivetskyi forest!

A living organism of walls

The first mention of the fortress dates back to 1374 when the city received Magdeburg rights. But archaeologists believe that the date of the foundation is 200 years younger than the officially accepted one.

The Kamianets-Podilskyi fortress is one of the most impregnable on the territory of Ukraine. They were only able to capture it twice in history, and the locals are very proud of this. 

Now the fortress is not just a museum complex but a living organism: traditional crafts are practiced here, including archery, pottery, carving, and bread baked according to ancient recipes. The clothes and weapons of that time are also reconstructed.

It is also worth looking at the Zamkovyi Bridge, an architectural monument of national importance. It connects the Old Town with the fortress.

 

From top to bottom

In the city of Kamianets-Podilskyi, the relief of the city is very good, right in the middle of the canyon. Why is he there? In ancient times, of course, it was an impregnable fortress. And now it is very suitable for windsurfing.

There is a large stadium here, as well as a ballondrome and an aeronautics museum. When such festivals take place, it is a real fairy tale. And before the beginning of aeronautical events, another train station is opened: “Balloondrom”. There are approximately 60 balloons and 50 pilots from the Aeronautical Federation of Ukraine in Ukraine.

There is also a fortress in Kamianets-Podilskyi, scroll down.

 

People

This respectable man, Meletii Smotrytskyi, introduced the letter Ґ characteristic of the Ukrainian language. It is the fifth letter of the Ukrainian alphabet. Smotrytskyi lived a long time ago, studied at the Ostroh Academy, and was an intelligent man: a linguist, writer, and priest.

Kostiantyn Misevych founded the Ukrainian Kobzar school in the 20th century. But in addition, Misevych actively participates in the creation of Ukrainian statehood. In 1917, he became a deputy of the Central Council of Ukraine and also ran for the future Ukrainian parliament, the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly, but it did not take place due to the armed aggression of the Moscow Bolsheviks.

Mykola Mazur’s sculptures can be viewed not only in museums in Europe but also in Canada and the USA. On the playgrounds of Khmelnytskyi, those whimsical animals are everywhere!

To see the creations of Serafym Lesko, you need to go to the village of Velyka Yaromyrka. He built the museum on a foundation made of glass bottles and walls made of plastic

The exhibits are mostly collected on the territory of the village, some items are brought by fellow villagers. Serafym Lesko studied the biography of the people of Yaromyrka and created a book of memories of the residents of Yaromyrka—there are already 1790 pages! And all because Ukrainians are not indifferent to the history of their families.

 “When a person knows history, he looks at the world differently,” says Serafym Lesko.

Tree of life

This beauty is sometimes confused with Petrykivka paintings, but they are different. Samchyky decorative painting is done mainly with plant ornaments: “pot”, “paradise tree”, “tree of life”, “wonderful and fabulous tree”, “cross and world tree” and “tree of dissolution”. The basic colors here are yellow, green, blue, and red, contrasting colors are purple, brown, and black.

Previously, they were used to decorate the walls of houses in order to protect them from harm or to indicate that there were unmarried girls in the house. 

Samchyky painting originated at the end of the 19th century, and after the Second World War, the tradition declined and was almost lost. Now there is a school here that teaches folk painting. The school has over 60 students, so the tradition is renewed and will live on!

Not for the faint of heart

In Kamianets-Podilskyi, motoball is played, a European sport that has been in the city for 52 years. The motoball field is the size of a football field but without a central circle, and the goal area is semicircular and has asphalt or gravel covering. The ball is several times larger than a soccer ball. Of course, all without exception are on motorcycles.

Also Kamianets-Podilskyi has the highest bridge for bungee jumping.

The “Tovkuchka” market also requires patience. This is a large goods market, one of the largest in Ukraine and Eastern Europe in general. You can find literally everything here. And consider this: since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on March 10, entrepreneurs have been hard at work. Because people “might need something”.

And here you can buy an unusual delicacy: Zinkiv sausage. This sausage is already included in the list of elements of the intangible cultural heritage of the Khmelnytskyi region. Its special feature is its black color and aroma, which can be heard far from the smokehouse.

Industry

The Khmelnytskyi NPP operates on the territory of the Khmelnytskyi region. Back in 2007, IAEA experts highly rated the state of compliance with the safety of the station. But after the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, the situation changed.

On November 15, 2022, the NPP lost full access to the power grid due to a massive Russian missile attack. Both reactors had to be stopped. On February 10, 2023, Russia struck again, and one of the blocks stopped. The IAEA confirmed that this happened as a result of shelling.

The Khmelnytskyi region is also one of the most important regions for growing sugar beets. 900,000 tons (992080 US tons) were collected in 2021. Currently, there are 16 sugar factories in the region.

Life goes on here.

Ancient traditions are being restored. Castles are being restored. Heroes’ stories are written, and new ones are born. During the full-scale war, a boy with a record weight of 6.4 kg (14 pounds) was born in the Khmelnytskyi region. And since February 24, 2022, a total of 195,000 little Ukrainians have been born in Ukraine. We are fighting now for a peaceful and free world for them, as well as for millions of other children on all continents.

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Last updated 24.02.2023

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