Map of Cultural Landscape of Canyon in Kamenets-Podilsk
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Site visited July 2013. Kamyanets-Podilsky was a pleasant surprise. This site really deserves to be inscribed. It is not to be missed if you travel in Western Ukraine.
Kamyanets-Podilsky is one of the best, or at least one of the most interesting, sights in Ukraine but unfortunately many people haven’t even heard of it because it is clearly off the tourist track. There are three things that make this place worth a visit: the old town, the castle, and the most importantly, the breathtaking landscape.
I made a day trip to Kamyanets-Podilsky from Chernivtsi. A trip by marshrutka takes less than two hours. Along the route it is possible to visit another impressive castle, Khotyn fortress. From the Kamyanets-Podilsky bus station it is about three kilometers to the old town and the castle.
At the site the landscape is dramatic and almost fairy-tale-like. It has a great setting with deep and lushly vegetated river canyon which completely encircles the old city. It makes the area of the old city a natural fortress. The old town is located in the loop of the River Smotrych. At the bottom of the loop is the castle and the old bridge.
The castle, the oldest parts of which are from the 14th century, is in a quite poor condition but it is a good place for enjoying the sceneries. From the towers there are panoramic views over the old city and the river canyon. I had a lunch in the courtyard of the castle where people were roasting meat and boiling potatoes.
The bridge that connects castle with the old city is told to be the oldest in Ukraine and made by Turks. Since the ancient times the old city of Kamyanets-Podilsky is home to many ethnic communities. Armenians, Poles, Jews, Greeks and Russians all have their own quarters and churches. Overall, there are lots of different types of churches in such a compact city.
I totally agree with the earlier reviewer that if this kind of site was in some Central European country it would have been inscribed a long time ago. The landscape with ”wow” factor, the castle with great setting and old city with rich history and many ethnic communities make this site unique. The old city and the castle need some restoration. Otherwise Kamyanets-Podilsky would be a great addition to the World Heritage List.
Out of over 500 cities I have visited in Europe, this site puzzles me the most in regard to why it has not been inscribed on the list yet. I believe it has been nominated over 2 decades. The natural setting on which this cultural town sits is so unusual and therefore so mind-boggling. It has to be the politics, although I don't know the politics. Preservation works are underway but would probably take years to come. It's unfortunate that, since this town is located in the middle of nowhere with no ohter attractions nearby, very few foreigners visit this site. I'd say if this town were in Western Europe, say in France, it would be as big a tourist attraction as Mont-Saint-Michel or Carcassonne. So the town wouldn't get much money from tourists, either. It's all the more reason why the UNESCO should inscribe it and protect/preserve it as soon as possible.
There is a bus that directly runs from Prague through Poland to Kamenets-Podilsk in western Ukraine. The two cities are the terminus of the line. This line goes through several WHSs, such as Wroclaw, Krakow, and Lviv.
There is also a bus that directly runs from Prague through Slovakia to Rakhiv near the Beech Forest WHS area in western Ukraine.
It may not be so surprising in light of the fact that the country of Czechoslovakia extended all the way to the current western Ukraine in early 20th century.