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The most beautiful castles in Ukraine: top 5 ancient fortresses

Albina PanchenkoNews
The most stunning fortifications in the country

It seems that fall is the time when you might feel a bit restricted in your travel options. The sun is not as intense, beaches and reservoirs are closed to visitors, and unexpected rain can disrupt outdoor activities. While these points are valid, there are still plenty of other options available, such as sightseeing tours, particularly those exploring ancient bastions.

The off-season presents a great opportunity to delve into the history of your homeland. Therefore, we've compiled a list of locations that every Ukrainian should consider visiting.

Akkerman Fortress

Topping the list is the largest fortification in our country and even Europe, covering an area of more than 9 hectares, with outer walls stretching for 2.5 kilometers. Situated in the Odesa region, in the city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, the castle stands proudly on a hill above the estuary. While it used to stand on the main trade route of the Northern Black Sea coast, a formidable army of Turks and Tatars ultimately destroyed this once-impregnable stronghold.

Constructed in the 13th century with 34 towers, most of which have survived to this day, the bastion lost its defensive significance in the nineteenth century. It is now included in the list of cultural and historical monuments.

While you can visit at any time of the year, fall offers a particularly beautiful setting. The mighty walls of the castle envelop the waters of the Dniester estuary, surrounded by vibrant hues of orange. Even in cloudy weather, the fortress takes on a formidable appearance, adding to its majestic aura.

There are two ways to explore the building: you can either purchase an entrance ticket and stroll around the territory on your own or opt for a themed tour, of which there are plenty. Unfortunately, no events are currently taking place. Previously, demonstrative knightly tournaments were held here, but the war made its adjustments. However, after the victory, the program will undoubtedly be resumed.

The most beautiful castles in Ukraine: top 5 ancient fortresses

Lubart 's castle

Moving from the south of Ukraine to the west, we arrive in Lutsk, where an equally famous bastion awaits. Interestingly, it is depicted on the 200 hryvnia bill. Its history is as striking and intriguing as its southern counterpart. The exact origins of the fortifications are unknown, but the Ipatiev Chronicle mentions the fortress in 1085, featuring wooden defensive structures at that time. The construction of stone walls began a few centuries later during the reign of Lithuanian Prince Lubart, from whom the fortress derives its name.

Regrettably, not all the fortress walls have endured in good condition to the present day. Only the central citadel has been fortunate; the remaining towers and turrets are now in ruins. However, this doesn't diminish the structure's appeal, drawing tourists all year round, especially in the fall when the heat has subsided, allowing for leisurely walks to admire this historical monument.

Visitors have the option to explore the castle independently or join an engaging tour. It's advisable to opt for a guide who can not only narrate the building's past but also guide you through the ancient dungeon. Moreover, the fortress houses four museums, showcasing painting, weapons, bells, and book printing.

The most beautiful castles in Ukraine: top 5 ancient fortresses

Khotyn fortress

The impregnable bastion is located in the city of Khotyn, in the Chernivtsi region. Historians continue to debate the exact timeline of the fortress's construction. It is likely that a wooden outpost was already established here during the reign of Prince Volodymyr the Great. Subsequently, Danylo Halytskyi took control and erected stone fortifications in this location.

Throughout its history, no enemy successfully stormed the castle on their first attempt. Only through prolonged and arduous sieges were its inhabitants subdued.

Today, the fortress has been fully restored and is open to visitors. A museum of torture is on-site, and you can also book an engaging tour covering the entire territory. Visiting in the fall is highly recommended. During this period, there are fewer noisy tourists, and the surrounding nature captivates with its vibrant orange hues.

The most beautiful castles in Ukraine: top 5 ancient fortresses

Olesko Castle

Let's continue. Next on the list is not just a fortification but a historical museum reserve. Initially serving for protection and defense, like other bastions, it changed hands multiple times. Continuous wars took a toll on the stone fort, but in the 1960s, it underwent reconstruction. Today, it is considered the best-maintained among other defensive structures.

Currently, the fortress buildings house the Lviv Art Gallery, showcasing icons and paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It also boasts the largest collection of wooden sculptures in Ukraine.

Make sure to visit the castle in the fall and take a stroll around its grounds. It is enchanting here in any weather, even during autumn's inclement conditions.

The most beautiful castles in Ukraine: top 5 ancient fortresses

Kamianets-Podilskyi Fortress

The last one on our list is a medieval citadel located on a rocky peninsula in the Smotrych River canyon. Historians believe that the first fortifications appeared here during the times of Kyivan Rus. However, it was only during the reign of the Polish gentry that stone walls began to be constructed on the territory of the bastion.

Incidentally, the fort served as a defensive point until the nineteenth century and held military significance. It wasn't until 1937 that the castle was designated a museum-reserve.

Today, tourists visit the medieval fortress from all over Ukraine and beyond. Engaging excursions are conducted here, along with various festivals. Visiting in the fall is like hitting the jackpot. It's not as crowded during this time, yet surprisingly beautiful.

The most beautiful castles in Ukraine: top 5 ancient fortresses

Always travel. Don't postpone your adventures. The off-season is the best time to explore new locations and delve into the history of our homeland.

Earlier OBOZ.UA told you about the most picturesque villages of Ukraine.

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