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Kamenets Tower

Brest, Belarus

The Kamenets Tower is located in the town of Kamenets, Brest Oblast. It is a  unique specimen of defense architecture also referred to as the Kamenets pillar or Kamenets Vezha). Its origins go back  to the second half of the 13th century. Kamenets Tower  is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.

The majestic building resembling a chess rook is located on the hill near the Lesnaya River which was full-flowing back then.

According to the chronicles, the Kamenets Tower was built between 1276 and 1288 on the orders of Galicia–Volhynia Prince Vladimir Vasilkovich by architect Aleksa who found the site to build a town and a wooden castle.

The Kamenets Tower is Volhynian type and shares some features with donjon towers that were widespread in Western Europe in the 12th-13th centuries.

The five-tier round building (30 meters high, 2.5 meters thick with the outer diameter of 13.6 meters) has a 2.3-meter-high foundation which is 16 meters in diameter. The tower is made of dark-red and yellowish bricks.

The tower in Kamenets was built for defensive purposes and therefore lacks architectural and decorative elements.

By the 19th century the Kamenets tower had lost its defensive importance and was neglected. In 1822 attempts were made to disassemble the brick masonry, but over the centuries it turned into a stone.

Currently the silhouette of the Kamenets Tower is one of the most recognizable architectural symbols of Belarus. The word combination Belaya Vezha (White Tower) as it called often has become a brand.

However, the tower in Kamenets has not been always called Belaya Vezha. The name was born in the 20th century after the author of the book Belovezhskaya Pushcha Georgy Kartsov made a blunder writing that the tower was located on the Belaya River. The color of the Kamenets Tower was always brick-red because the red color masked the damage to the walls which made it more difficult for the enemy to shoot with maximum efficiency.

Today the Kamenets Tower is a historical and cultural monument protected by the state.

The Kamenets Tower museum is located in the tower.. The excursions named "Kamenets’ Architectural Monuments" are organized on the observation platform of the tower. This is a must-see sitesiing that is  included in various excursions.

The town of Kamenets is situated 37km to the north of Brest on the outskirts of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

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