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Kamianets-Podilskyi ( , translit. Kam’yanets’-Podil’s’kyi; also referred to as Kamyanets-Podilsky or Kamenets-Podolsky; see #Nomenclature section below for more names) is a city located on the Smotrych River in western Ukrainemarker, to the north-east of Chernivtsimarker. Formerly the administrative center of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast ( , translit., Khmelnutska oblast’), the city is now the administrative center of the Kamianets-Podilskyi Raion (district) within the Khmelnytsky Oblast (province), after the administrative center of the oblast was moved from the city of Kamianets-Podilskyi to the city of Khmelnytskyimarker in 1941. The city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast.

The current estimated population is around 99,068.


Kamianets historical coat of arms
The first part of the city's dual name originates from kamin’ ( ) or kamen, meaning "stone" in the Old East Slavic language. The second part of the name relates to the historic region of Podillia ( ) of which Kamianets-Podilskyi is considered to be the historic capital.

The name is written and pronounced similarly in different languages: ; ); ; ; ; Yiddish: קאַמענעץ (Kamenets)


Kamianets-Podilskyi is located in the southern portion of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast, located in the western Ukrainian region of Podillia. The Smotrych River, a tributary of the Dniestermarker, flows through the city. The total area of the city comprises . The city is located about from the oblast's administrative center, Khmelnytskyimarker.



Several historians consider that a city on this spot was founded by the ancient Dacians, who lived in what is now modern Romaniamarker, Moldovamarker, and portions of Ukraine. Historians claim that the founders named the settlement Petridava or Klepidava, which originate from the Greek word petra or the Latin lapis meaning "stone" and the Dacian dava meaning "city".

Middle ages

Modern Kamianets-Podilskyi was first mentioned in 1062 as a town of the Kievan Rus' state. In 1241, it was destroyed by the Mongol Tatar invaders. In 1352, it was annexed by the Polish King Casimir III, and became the capital of Podole Voivodship and the seat of local civil and military administration. The ancient castlemarker was reconstructed and substantially expanded by the Polish kings to defend Poland from the southwest against Ottoman and Tatar invasions.

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Modern times

During the Khmelnytsky uprising (1648-58), the Jewish community there suffered much from Chmielnicki's Cossacks on the one hand, and from the attacks of the Crimean Tatars (their main object being the extortion of ransoms) on the other.

After the Treaty of Buczacz of 1672, it was briefly part of the Ottoman Empire and capital of Podolya eyalet. To counter the Turkish threat to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, King Jan III Sobieski built a fortress nearby, Okopy Świętej Trójcymarker ("the Entrenchments of the Holy Trinity"). In 1699, the city was given back to Poland under King Augustus II the Strong according to the Treaty of Karlowitz. The fortress was continually enlarged and was regarded as the strongest in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The preserved ruins of the fortress still contain the iron cannon balls stuck in them from various sieges.
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, 2008
About the middle of the 18th century, Kamenets-Podilskkyi became celebrated as the center of the furious conflict then raging between the Talmudic Jews and the Frankists; the city was the residence of Bishop Dembowski, who sided with the Frankists and ordered the public burning of the Talmud, a sentence which was carried into effect in the public streets in 1757.

After the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, the city belonged to the Russian Empiremarker, where it was the capital of Podolskaya Guberniya. The Russian Tsar Peter the Great, who visited the fortress twice, was impressed by its fortifications. One of the towers was used as a prison cell for Ustym Karmeliuk, a prominent peasant rebel leader of the early 19th century), who managed to escape from it three times.

Kamenetz-Podolsk was also the residence of the wealthy Joseph Yozel Günzburg. During the latter half of the 19th century, many Jews emigrated from that city to the United States, especially to New York, where they organized a number of societies.

World War I

During the World War I, the city was occupied by Austria-Hungary in 1915. With the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, the city was briefly incorporated into several short-lived Ukrainian states: the Ukrainian People's Republicmarker, the Hetmanate, and the Directoriya, and ended up as part of the Ukrainian SSR when Ukraine fell under Bolshevik power. During the Directorate period, the city was chosen as de-facto capital of Ukrainemarker after the Russian Communist forces occupied Kyivmarker. During the Polish-Soviet War, the city was captured by the Polish Army, but it was later ceded to Soviet Russia in the 1921 Treaty of Riga, which determined the future of the area for the next seven decades as part of the Ukrainian SSR.

Soviet times

Poles and Ukrainians have always dominated the city's population. However, as a commercial center, Kamianets-Podilskyi has been a multiethnic and multi-religious city with substantial Jewish and Armenian minorities. Under Soviet rule it became subject to severe persecutions, and most of the Poles and the Ukrainians were forcibly deported to Siberia. Massacres such as the Vinnytsia massacre have taken place throughout the Podillya, the last resort of the independent Ukrainemarker. Early on, Kamianets-Podilskyi was the administrative center of the Ukrainian SSR's Kamianets-Podilskyi Oblast, but the administrative center was later moved to Proskuriv (now Khmelnytskyimarker).

In December 1927, TIME Magazine reported that there were massive uprisings of peasants and factory workers in southern Ukraine, around the cities of Mohyliv-Podilskyi, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Tiraspolmarker and others, against Sovietmarker authorities. The magazine was intrigued when it found numerous reports from the neighboring Romaniamarker that troops from Moscow were sent to the region and suppressed the unrest, causing no less than 4,000 deaths. The magazine sent several of its reporters to confirm those occurrences which, of course, were completely denied by the Kremlin official press naming them as barefaced lies. The revolt was caused by the collectivization campaign and the lawless environment in the cities caused by the oppressive Sovietmarker government.

World War II

One of the first and largest Holocaust mass-murder events occurred on August 27-28, 1941 near the city of Kamianets-Podilskyi. In those two days, 23,600 Jews were killed, most of them Hungarian Jews (14,000-16,000) and the rest local Polish Jews. As the researchers of the Holocaust point out, the Kamianets-Podilskyi massacre was the first mass action in the “final Solution” of the Nazis, and the number of its victims reached 5 figures. Eye-witnesses reported that the perpetrators made no effort to hide their deeds from the local population.


An old street in Kamianets-Podilskyi's old town quarter.
Although the streets are in disrepair, recent restorational works are being conducted.

Main sights

The different peoples and cultures that have lived in the city have each brought their own culture and architecture. Examples include the Polish, Ukrainian and Armenian markets. Famous tourist attractions include the ancient castle, and the numerous architectural attractions in the city's center, including the cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the city hall building, and the numerous fortifications.

Ballooning activities in the canyon of the Smotrych River have also brought tourists. Since the late 1990s, the city has grown into one of the chief tourist centers of western Ukraine. Annual Cossack Games (Kozatski zabavy) and festivals, which include the open ballooning championship of Ukraine, car racing and various music, art and drama activities, attract an estimated 140,000 tourists and stimulate the local economy. More than a dozen privately-owned hotels have recently opened, a large number for a provincial Ukrainian city.

Famous people

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Kamianets-Podilskyi is twinned with:

See also


  1. Disorder in the Ukraine?, TIME Magazine, December 12, 1927
  2. accessed 6 Jan 08

External links

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