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Kudryntsi
Me and the castle. March-2002
Me and the castle. March-2002

Map

 Podillia is a generous land that for centuries found itself torn among Turks, Poles, Lithuanians and Tatars. Whether they wanted to or not, Podillians had to think in terms of protection and defense. Perhaps this is why Podillia is a land rich with stone fortresses and gloomy castles.
One of the most scenic outposts of this one-lime borderland is situated in the village of Kudryntsi. The Zbruch River mirrors the grey ruins of castle turrets, like a great stone trident whose crown graces the heights of Mount Strilka. facing the opposite bank as though in challenge.

17th century fortress in Kudryntsi: a scenic outpost on the borderland

What the pictureos landscapes are here! Forests, hills, the river like a snake... This river was a border for two countries during many decades. The Zbruch is 244 km long. Not so big. But its role in Ukrainian history is much bigger.

 Across the river is the Khmelnytskyi region, but here it is still Temopil territory. Today, this is the ghost of a border marking two administrative areas in modern Ukraine. But years ago the river Zbruch marked the dividing line between die empire of the Romanovs to the cast and that of the Habsburgs to the west.
This fortress on its high white rock was built in 16I5 by the Herburt grandees. The village, located on the Bessarabian border along the bloody Tatar-Wallachian rail, begged for a castle. Tatars raided the region throughout the 16th century, while the Wallachians greedily eyed the rich Podillian soil.
The shape of the fortress was determined by the terrain itself. It is built in a four-square plan with three huge corner towers and stone walls a meter and a half thick. The battlements were suited to both crossfire and flank attacks. Protected by the steep canyon of the Zbruch the eastern side was virtually impregnable.

Wars and Uprisings

Alas, the fortress failed to live up to its heroic demeanor. In the summer of 1648, the Kossacks under Maksim Kryvonis helped an uprising of villagers drive away the Polish garrison. In 1672 Turks seized the fortress - and again in 1694. Meanwhile, the rapid development of artillery meant that the castle walls and towers were a convenient target for cannon practice.

Beware! The castle is haunted!
Beware! The castle is haunted!

By the early 17th century Kudrynisi's fortress gave up all pretense of being formidable and became the family nest for the local landowners, the Humeneckis. Living in the towers was not especially comfortable, so a six-room residence was built in the courtyard, next to the east wall of the fortress. In time, the fortress passed into new hands, the Kozibrodskis, who decided to turn it into a sort of a museum, filling its rooms with family and other portraits, as well as antique furniture.
The remains of the Kozibrodski collection can be seen today in the Temopil Museum of Ethnography. In Kudryntsi itself, not a trace can be found of the residence; the wars of the 20th century wreaked the greatest havoc with the east wall.
But the other three walls survived, along with the southwestern and southern towers and part of the tower over the main entrance. A secret passageway - the inevitable attribute of any romantic relic of the Middle Ages - began under the south-em tower, but today it has fallen in. Near the south wall visitors can see a small gate used for forays against an enemy. A shallow area in the courtyard indicates the place where a well once stood. 

Legends of the Castle

Photo by I. Khoma

Old ruins without legends are like food without salt. So locals from both Khmelnytskyi and Ternopil side of Kudryntsi are always ready to tell tales, both tall and true, about their fortress. You can hear about the underground passage-ways that go all the way to Kamianets-Podilsky - a mere 20 kilometers away -under the Zbruch River.

About the young girl who was walled alive by Turkish barbarians and whose restless ghost still wanders the castle grounds on moonlit nights. Or about the immense fire that started when lightning struck one of the towers.

Of course, the most popular legend is about the countless treasures buried under the grey stone walls by the fortress's various owners. The clue to their hiding place is simple: where the groung hums. That would seem fairly straightfoward - if not for the fact that Podillia happens to be one of the most cavernous regions in the world! Just three kilometers from Kudryntsi is a very popular, three-story-high cave called Atlantis (in the village of Zavallia, Kamianets-Podilsky region). And karst where groundwaters meet underground streams in limestone terrain, really does hum. The old-timers might not know the word "karst," but they've seen plenty of strangers wandering around the fortress with spades in their hands.

...

The tourists who climb Mount Strilka under the watchful eyes of numerous lizards may never find the fairytale treasure. But the real treasure of Kudryntsi is a rendezvous in these romantic ruins among the gentle Podillian hills and pine forests. For the really observant visitor, nature even offers a little surprise: if you look where you put your feet, you will see. between the grass and the wildflowers, the gleam of white, fragile marble.

Before the Storm.


Napoleon Orda's engraving
Napoleon Orda's engraving
Castle in the beginning of XX c.
Zamek w Kudryncach
The wind! 23rd of July, 2005
The wind! 23rd of July, 2005
Among the apples. 30.08.04
Among the apples. 30.08.04
Castle in summer
Castle in summer
Castle tower
Castle tower
Remnants on the hill
Remnants on the hill
My first visit to the castle, 1998
My first visit to the castle, 1998
August-2005
August-2005
M.Grejm's picture.
M.Grejm's picture.
My favourite shot
My favourite shot
Arm-chair from the castle (now in Ternopil museum)
Photo by I. Khoma.
The Zbruch

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