It is located in southwestern part of Belarus,
in Brest Region, 40 km north of Brest.
Population: about 9 thousand people (2002).
It was first mentioned in the old
Russian chronicles in the late 13th century, when a castle with the famous tower
of Kamenets was being built to protect
the northern boundary of Volyn's principality from the devastating raids of invaders.
The old Russian chronicles relate some
details regarding this construction. An advantageous location for the
castle on the stony steep bank of the Lesnaya (Lysna) River was found byOleksa
(Aleksa), a prominent builder and architect, who had built earlier some castles,
including that in Brest (Berestye). Prince of Volyn Vladimir Vasilkovich
appreciated the choice and in 1376 commissioned Oleksa to build a formidable
castle at this place.
The name of the place derives from the
"kameny" meaning "stony". The old name "Kamenets-Litovsk"
has the word "Litovsk" that means "Lithuanian" as it belonged to the Grand Duchy
of Lithuania for several centuries.
Like many European castles, it had a great
round tower, on the raised mound (motte),
surrounded by a moat on 3 sides and the river, an adjoining enclosure (bailey). This type of the motte-and-bailey castle appeared in
the 10th and 11th centuries between the Rhine and Loire rivers and eventually
spread to most of western Europe and even to the area of the present Belarus.
This red-brick tower was actually a donjon
or a keep. It is 30 m high, the walls are about 2.5 m thick, with a a pitched roof at the
top. Out of 5 levels the upper ones were residential rooms for nobility,
the lower ones were for service and guard.
The upper part of the tower was furnished with
battlements and several nice courses of brickwork, the niches
resembling window openings were plastered and whitewashed.
The pointed lancet
windows on the upper 5th level are bigger and let in more daylight. The openings were
earlier plastered and whitewashed.
In the middle was a balcony. Now we can see a window on
The windows on lower levels are narrow,
look like loopholes.
The holes in the walls were left after scaffolding was
removed after construction.
In a hole in the old wall a pigeon made a nest
The brickwork features a peculiar Baltic bond: a course consists
of 2 stretchers and 1 header.
Similar towers like that in Kamenets, i.e.
keeps, were built in Brest
(Berestye), Grodno, Turov, Novogrudok, but they were destroyed in the course of
wars. The tower of Kamenets is the only one that survived in Belarus until the
The tower of Kamenets in 1899
The tower of Kamenets-Litovsk,
water-colors by Napoleon Orda, 1876
the Tower of Kamenets is the main
dominating over the nowadays Kamenets.
A bagpiper with the famous tower in the
background welcomes the guests of the international festival of
knights in June 2009.
More about the
Opening of the
Holocaust memorial in Kamenets on July 26, 2009
You can get much more information and
pictures of Kamenets, Belarus at