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Have you ever noticed that ancient cities are the most romantic ones? Kamianets-Podilskyi is no exception. Old castles, cobble-stone streets, centuries-old history and picturesque landscapes are the main reasons to travel to the city for a minimum of a weekend. Did we mention it also hosts Ukraine’s annual hot air balloon festival? Here are a few things that make Kamianets-Podilskyi a wonderful place to visit.
The main attraction of the city is definitely the fourteenth century Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, even though the exact age of the building is unknown (some sources claim that it has existed since the twelfth century). The fortress has always been an intimidating stronghold, and it has only been captured twice. Each tower, dungeon and wall has a unique past and story to tell. Nowadays, the fortification is a part of the National Historical-Architectural Sanctuary. Some parts of the sanctuary and castle were used as settings in the film, Firecrosser – a Ukrainian film you can watch in English.
Zamkova Street, 1, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine, +3803849 23784
The Ukrainian hot air balloon festival takes place in Kamianets-Podilskyi every May. It was held for the first time in 1998 and has attracted thousands of tourists each year since. This spectacular show is also an amazing opportunity to spend a romantic weekend in one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine. Imagine flying over the enchanting Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle and river canyon with your loved ones.
The fortress of Kamianets-Podilskyi is one of the most splendid castles in Ukraine. It is a massive construction with high towers and walls, and it is difficult to see all of its details from a single vantage point. Therefore, curious tourists can visit the Museum of Miniatures and its exhibit called Castles of Ukraine. The museum is located on a hill overlooking the castle, so you can compare the real version to the miniature. Moreover, you can also explore the beautiful Shenborn Palace, mystical Pidhirtsi Castle and other Ukrainian mansions all in one place.
Starobulvarna Street, 10, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine, +38068656565
Kamianets-Podilskyi is a green city with extremely picturesque views. The valley of the Smotrych River and the steep slopes of the adjoining canyon are unique monuments of nature. The height of the rocks reaches 50 meters (164 feet) and the length is 9 km (5.6 miles). Therefore, the canyon begins in the Kamianets-Podilskyi city and ends in the village of Tsybulivka. There are also permanent and seasonal waterfalls, which make the natural wonder of Smotrichsky Canyon even more enigmatic.
The city of Kamianets-Podilskyi tries to keep up with the large cities of Ukraine and promotes a competitive coffee culture for locals and tourists. So, if you’re a real coffee expert, pop into the Policmeystr Coffee or Kava vid Policemeystra to refuel. There are around 20 coffee varieties, but even so, the selection is not the main reason to visit the café. Come for the incredible interior design created by antique furniture, household items, old photos and other thoughtful details. In addition, Policmeystr Coffee’s homemade cakes are delightful.
Starobulvarna Street, 8, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine, +380677130469
To visit the city’s castle, you’ll need to traverse the ancient Castle Bridge. It is one of the oldest bridges in Ukraine, and it could be argued that it is the most romantic one. Couples in love attach locks and pledges to the bridge and take pictures of the unbelievable view. Moreover, it is the hub for thematic entertainment like archery. You will have a lot of fun learning how to hold a bow and shoot arrows at targets. You might even be able to shoot a bullseye by the end of the lesson.
In 2013, Kamianets-Podilskyi acquired another attraction that quickly became a favourite. The Monument to the Tourist is symbolic, as the city is among the best destinations to visit in Ukraine. A traveller’s statue, dressed in a T-shirt, shorts and a cap stands in front of the City Hall on the main square of Kamianets-Podilskyi. Thus, it is impossible to bypass and not take a picture.
Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral is a fifteenth century architectural ensemble that will have you marveling for hours. Its main feature is a 40-meter (131-ft) high minaret. The minaret was sculpted by the Turks, who captured the city in the seventeenth century and wanted to destroy all the Catholic churches, but the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral held steadfast. In 1756, when the Turks were driven away, the top of the minaret was decorated with a golden leaf sculpture of the Madonna. The sculpture can be seen from almost any point in Old Town.
If you walk behind the Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, you’ll notice a strange concrete plate: the Table of Consent. It symbolizes the cultural diversity of the city and the nations that participated in creating Kamianets-Podilskyi. There are seven stones around the plate; each one symbolizes a nation or group of people that had a hand in developing the city: Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Armenia, Turkey, and the Jewish community. The eighth stone, which lies to the side, is a symbol of any other nation or community that may also affect the development of the city in the future.
Souvenirs and trinkets, although cheap, are an integral part of remembering a trip. Luckily, Kamianets-Podilskyi has an entire market with souvenirs. You might find a vyshyvanka (a traditional embroidered shirt), a bulawa (a ball-shaped weapon used by the Cossacks) or objects decorated with the popular Petrikivka painting style. It is located in Old Town, so you can sight-see and buy gifts for family and friends at the same time.