Welcome to Starokostyantyniv! It is a town of mysterious and interesting history. The first documentary mention of the town in the image of Bolohiv Kobud dates back to the Ipativskyi Chronicle of 1242. At that time the town was burned by Danylo Halytskyi. And when the last torch and ashes died away the town calmed down as if the river Slutch dried up.
The town hid but didn’t disappear. The waters of the river Ikopot-the Slutch’s brother-splashed about its existence. The historians explain the name of the river Ikopot as the derivation from "Kobud”. The town of Kobud was probably situated on the bank of the river with the same name. Two rivers were called Slutch and Kobud. May be in the course of time the river got its name "Ikopot”.
From the XIII to the XVI centuries the waters of the river Ikopot splashed at the banks of the old town which was hidden in the village of Kolyschentsy.
Kolyschentsy… There is something mysterious in its name. It says about the secrets of time. The village seems to protect the old glory for future generations to find out the Truth.
The year of 1561 was a great event for the town. Prince Ostrozkyi decided to make ruined Kobud-Kolyschentsy the capital of his principality. At the same time he hoped his principality to become the centre of Ukraine. But the revived town inherited the difficult destiny of its founder-it was prosperous and miserable, it was young and full of energy. But sometimes the town became weak and disabled. But it was never desperate because it knew its destiny to be the capital.
The history of the town had the permanent character. According to the scientists from Kobud till nowadays we speak about the same history of the same town which changed its names in thecourse of time. And now this town is known as Starokostiantyniv.
The residents of it are proud of their native town which is situated on the crossings of three rivers: the Slutch, the Ikopot and the Shahivka.
It was in the XII century. Our land was called Bolohivska, courageous and hard-working people lived there. They built a lot of well-defended towns which were ruined by the time. The Bolohiv land was unique in the history of Ukraine. It existed in the XII-XIII centuries. The Bolohiv land was situated in the basin of the rivers of Horyn, Slutch and Teteryv, in the Upper Southern Buh. The land bordered Halytsyan-Volyn and Kyiv principalities. The area of Bolohivschyna was as big as the territory of Belgium or the Netherlands and it was in the form of ellipse. According to the political organization the Bolohiv land was the federation of feudal principalities. Though the land was not big, the brave and hard-working people who lived there were famous for their courage and independence. They never gave in the Halytsyan and Kyiv principalities though they boarded both of them.
This land was inhabited by volynyans and duliby who were great craftsmen. They lived in the times of permanent wars but managed to build so many towns that Bolohiv land was called the land of towns. We know about some of them: Hubyn, Kobud, Horodets, Bozheskyi, Dyadkiv…
The Bolohiv towns were built on the banks of the rivers. They were fortificated with unique buildings and impregnable ramparts. There were deep moats filled with water. The level of water was regulated by dams. The archeologists prove that their houses were two-storey and they were built in line. The independence of Bolohiv Rus, the way of life of the brave people who lived there worried powerful prince of Rus Danylo Halytskyi.
He was greatly worried because of Bolohiv towns rebuilt from the ashes of 1241.
He wanted to conquer them and the Bolohiv towns stood up for their freedom. The prince considered it to be the threat for the country. And Danylo Halytskyi decided to put an end to it.
…Danylo came all of a sudden. As the chronicle says Hubyn was burnt first and then Kobud. Swords’ blows, cries of wounded and captured. And fire, fire, fire… Everything that had been built during the centuries was burnt. It was the last fight of our freedom-loving ancestors. It was the last mention of Bolohiv Rus in the
It’s true: our forefathers didn’t manage to survive in the fight with the powerful enemy. The state called Bolohivschyna vanished. But in the splashes of spring waters of the Slutch river we can vividly hear cheerful " Kobud”. And there is life in the town named Starokostyantyniv on the banks of the same old river. It means that nothing has been forgotten, nothing has disappeared… Lost in time Kobud is being revived in Starokostyantyniv. Thanks to the efforts of the town Rada and L. Vynohorodska , the scientist of the Institute of Archeology , the excavations of the old town have been carried out for the last seven years. The results of the excavations and the materials of the chronicles prove that Starokostyantyniv is the inheritor of the old Bolohiv town of Kobud.
Such a space sign of the town didn’t let it die. Many years passed. The town lived with a different name and status.
It became the village of Kolyschentsi. Having received the torch of the head of glorious princes Ostrozkiy family, Vasyl’-Kostiantyn managed to become one of the most prominent among
its representatives. His public life started early enough – according to the royal verdict his majority was acknowledged at 15 and when the prince was 17 he began to learn military art.
At the age of 23 he was appointed the Volodymyr headman and became the marshal of Volyn land. It was very honorable for that time. He became the real pride of Ostrozkyi’s family.
His political and military achievements were so impressive that in1587 Prince Ostrozkyi became the pretender to the royal crown.
As a politician the prince was the supporter of full independence or at least independence of Ukrainian lands from Poland.
It was an early spring in 1561. The ice was melting on the rivers Ikopot and Slutch. The wild geese were flying back from the warm countries. There was a crowd of high rank people. Prince Kostiantyn Ostrozkyi was in front of them and the priest near him was performing a religious rite of consecrating the place where a new castle would be built and the whole town had to be built. The sanctification was taking place opposite the sun on the places where the town walls would be built.
On the 4th of January 1561 Vasyl Labunskyi who was the great landlord of Rich Pospolyta sold one third of Kolyschyntsi territory to Vasyl-Kostiantyn Ostrozkyi "with the green soil, people, payment, profits, their duties and different belongings ” for 5 thousand Lithuanian brasses. It seldom happened at that time and it was a great sum of money. One could buy an estate or even the whole villages for that money. The historians explored that for the money the prince had paid, one could buy 357 fast horses . If you compare the sum with the price of the villages that had been sold at that time, the price of Kolyschentsi was ten or even 100 times bigger.
On the 26th of March of the same year the prince received two royal certificates. One of them gave him the right to found a town, a trade and a fair. And another one for magdeburskyi right with a unique phrase "to broaden the place", which wasn’t accidental and witnessed the existence of the old settlement.
So, the document that became the evidence of the foundation of the town of Strarokostiantyniv was the royal certificate, by means of which the prince started its rapid development and it really looked fantastic. It was built for 10 years.
What did my town look like in ancient times?
Starokostiantyniv is a classic middle – aged town. While building prince Kostiantyn- Vasyl Ostrozkyi wanted to make it not only a defensive outpost, but also an economic and administrative centre, choosing a favourable place for it – the head-land that formed Slutch and Ikopot that faced the east, which was liked by our ancestors very much .
The town fortress was separated by the channel that was 220 metres long and 210 metres wide. From the fortress’ side the channel was framed by the rampart with comfortable bastions for the gun-fire.
The town was built according to all rules. The greatest attention was paid to the fortifications.
Along the banks of both rivers there was a rampart 2.2 km long. It was also used as a defensive attribute.
The prince thought over the town planning according to the number of the inhabitants and their social and economic state.
The rights of the new built town were ensured by self-government.
The explorers affirm that the town fortifications are similar to those in Kremp, Schentsin (Poland), Hamburg (Germany). The fact makes it possible to affirm, that the builders of Staryi Kostiantyniv were European architects and craftsmen. We must also admit that there is some resemblance of the town buildings with those in Kyiv defensive system. There were three entrances controlled by the Slutch tower across the Slutch river, the Starytskyi tower across the Ikopot to Nove Misto and the L’viv tower across the rampart, that protected the town from the west (It is Kriposnyi Val street nowadays).
The entrance of the town was defended by the entrance gate with the wooden bridge on the stone props. From both sides of it there was a stone fortress wall 1.5-2 m thick and 5.8 m. high. There was a hole in the form of an arch, which was protected by the moving gating, it was for the boat communication. After the wall was ruined the hole was destroyed too.
The fortress wall connected five towers that protected peace inside. Nowadays we can see only the Narizhna tower. It is round at its base and its western side is connected with the south -western part of the fortress.
The castle itself is a two-storey building with the basement which is called kamianytsia by the explorers. It reflects the middle-aged combination of defensive and living functions in its dwelling buildings. The building where the arms were kept clearly illustrates it. On the first floor there were dwelling-rooms which had the ceiling made in Italian manner (a corridor, a room and a storeroom). There was a well inside.
The wall inside is varied and its exterior configuration is quite different. Moreover its outer walls make the castle more exquisite and unusual.
This impression is intensified by the Troitska church added to the castle. It is a wonderful building with its obvious defensive functions.
Having started the building of a new town, the prince laid the first building stone into the foundation of the Troitska Church. Ten years later the first church bell called the inhabitants of the castle to prayer. Being located inside the castle, the church was more for men of families than for all people.
The Troitska Zamkova Church interests everybody not only for its unique architectural creations but also for the peculiarities of the building. It is not big in size, it’s one apsed church without any premises. The altar wall doesn’t face the east , it faces the north east. This proves its protective role.
At the same time a defensive rectangular tower was built in parallel to the temple. Originally it was two - tiered with a cylindrical vault. The tower was crowned with Gothic attic. Each of the three towers (which are 1,5 m width) has loopholes built into a wall. Only the low tier, which is used as a sacristy has been preserved to our days. The loopholes were bricked up. The windows and the door of the church have the elements of Gothic style. And a decorative ledge on the western side of the church is performed in style of baroque. The cornice made of planed bricks and the framed ledge prove this. The church was painted with plant ornamentation and frescoes. The preserved frescoe paintings which represent Olexander Ostrozkyi’s funeral and the prince’s emblem on the western wall of the church, are of unique value. The walls were decorated with oak panelling. The gallery, ladders and all wooden ornaments were made of oak. Graffiti of the XVI century was found on the walls of the temple.
The Saint Trinity Church has outlived and endured a lot. There were events when riders in full arming used to ride into the church to pray. Their horses stopped in front of the altar watching the odd action and watchfully breathing strange air, full of candle fumes. At once after the divine worship, they were carrying their riders under the guidance of Severyn Nalivaiko, the leader of the prince’s court army towards the terrible battle, defending their native land, their faith, confirming the cross and the halfmoon on the Troitska Church. Only the church the parishioners of which won in duel with an enemy, the dignity of which wasn’t disgraced by a strange land prayer had the honour to combine the cross and the halfmoon. Being one and the same part both of the landscape and the history of Staryi Kostiantyniv, the Saint Trinity Church blessed the town to glorious deeds and protected the name of its godfather and founder from forgetfulness. The Watch Tower
The considerable autonomous town – building formation appeared in the southern part of Starokostiantyniv on the bank of the river Slutch in the last quarter of the XVI th century. It comprised a seven – tiered tower – Donjon and the Zdvyzhenska Church was attached to it on the north side.
The tower was first mentioned in 1603 when Olexander and Yanush Ostrozki were fighting a duel in order to share their father’s inheritance. Historians believe that the building of a tower refers to Ostrozkyi’s first building acts in our town.
The tower is square at its foot, 2,00 m in width. The walls were made of jagged limestone. Elements of brick – building were used in the vault of tiers, in the window frames and in the architectural decorations. The upper tier was made of brick. The builders of the tower put all their artistic abilities into its decorations. Being very high and lancet, the windows of the tower strive for reaching the sky. The suit of loopholes are next to them.
The upper tier has a great number of loopholes. The multi-tiered donzhon which was able to contain a large amount of weapon, provisions and people used to be a powerful defensive building. At the end of the XVI century the Watch Tower was attached by Zdvyzhenska Church which was first mentioned in 1570. The annex was made at the level of the first and the second tiers of the tower. The temple is not large in size and has a rectangular shape. The main peculiarity is the pentahedral altar. The doors and the windows express the builders’ striving to Gothic style. The walls had two – tiered loopholes: the lower ones were for cannons, the upper loopholes - for fire arms. The gallery was on its western wall.
The temple was a property of the Orthodox Church till the death of Kostiantyn Ostrozkyi. When his son Yanush acquired inheritance, he granted the temple and the tower to the Catholic Dominic Order. They attached a two – tiered building of the Dominic Monastery to the complex. And a yard with household buildings, typical for this period of time (stables, cellars, kitchens , servants’ houses) was added. There must have been a garden where masters and their noted guests were walking. The whole complex behind the high wall made of moats, ditches, lifting bridges had both defensive and sacred role and used to be a prince’s residence. It was an autonomous town – building formation.
The complex served its purposes till 1919. When Starokostiantyniv got into "the death quadrangle” and the cannons of the attacking army division of the UNR took aim at the cupolas of the Watch Tower, which had been changed into the sniper’s ambush by bilshovyky, the Tower caught a fire. The fire destroyed the cupola and the temple, made the walls become dumb.
It is so calm and silent. And the tower is looking into the sky and the future with pride. What can it see?
About the Kostiantyniv Academy
A rapid development of the new built town of Kostiantyniv promoted a foundation of the circle of cultural and educational activists. Economical, social and cultural causes contributed to the fact that famous people of that time came to the town. Prince Osrozkyi himself and the first printer Ivan Fedorov invited by the prince facilitated it as well. The centre of the cultural activities was Troitska Zamkova church, the priests of which were Ostrozkyi’s faithful comrades. The church was the centre of rewriting books. It happened that due to the prince’s promotion and under the influence of the printing circle a school like Ostrozkyi academy appeared in Kostiantyniv. It was called "Kostiantynivska Kademiya”. The priests of the Troitska church were
teachers and pupils were children of rich people, craftsmen and talented young people of the town. The school existed by the beginning of the XYII century.
Kostiantyniv academy existed at the same time as Lviv Stavropehiyska school and it was founded much earlier than Kyiv fraternal school, which appeared only in 1615.
Some time later the pupils of Kostiantyniv school became the prince’s comrades in fighting and cultural activities. We don’t know their names but their deeds won’t be forgotten.
Staryi Kostiantyniv became the capital of the land where milky rivers ran and honey meadows bloomed. Adjoining towns and villages were pressing themselves to its walls and famous, invincible Staryi Kostiantyniv with its tower defended their calmness.
The geniuses of the native land were born in it and they made the town famous. Talented natives and students of Staryi Kostiantyniv led armies, acted as Shakespeare’s characters on the world stages, made their way in science, discovered secrets of existence. Staryi Kostiantyniv has remained young and mysterious due to the efforts of its sons and daughters. It has hidden the legends of underground passages behind the spreading chestnut trees, it has opened hundreds of doors to the new houses and filled them with the spirit of great-grandfathers’ comfort and with the prosperity of working people.