Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle (Ukrainian: Кам'янець-Подільська фортеця; Polish: twierdza w Kamiencu Podolskim;) is a former Ruthenian-Lithuanian castle and a later three-part Polish fortress located in the historic city of Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine, in the historic region of Podolia in the western part of the country. Its name is attributed to the root word kamin', from the Slavic word for stone.
Historical accounts date the Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle to the early 14th century, although recent archaeological evidence has proved human existence in the area back to the 12th or 13th century. Initially built to protect the bridge connecting the city with the mainland, the castle sits on top of a peninsula carved out by the winding Smotrych River, forming a natural defense system for Kamianets-Podilskyi's historic Old Town neighborhood.
Its location on a strategic transport crossroad in Podolia and made the castle a prime target for foreign invaders, who rebuilt the castle to suit their own needs, adding to its multicultural architectural diversity. Specifically, the complex consists of the Old Town fortified by King Casimir IV, the Old Castle rebuilt by Kings Sigismund I and Stephen Bathory, and the New Castle founded by Kings Sigismund III and Wladyslaw IV. However, in spite of the many architectural and engineering changes to the original structure, the castle still forms a coherent architectural design, being one of the few medieval constructions in Ukraine that is relatively well preserved.
Along with the Old Town neighborhood, the castle is listed as part of the National Historical-Architectural Sanctuary "Kam'ianets" and the National Environmental Park "Podilski Tovtry". The complex is a candidate UNESCO World Heritage Site, nominated in 1989 by the Ukrainian representatives, and also one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine. Today, the Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle is the most recognized landmark of the city, serving as an important regional and national tourist attraction.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.