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Old mills of Ukraine. Part 2. Castles, Hasids and Catholics.

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July 18, 2019

Once I was just developing a route through the ancient mills of central Ukraine, I faced a big problem. The problem is that in some places of our magical country it is very difficult to find a place to sleep. And I’m not talking about places for a tent. For example, within a 80–100 kilometers radius from my place of interest, there is neither a hotel nor a motel — nothing. You have to drive 100-150 kilometers more in a day than you originally planned or make a good detour.

The first night after Kamianets-Podilskyi was planned in Medzhibozh. But there is another interesting place on the way there. Sutkovtsy, where stands a very interesting church-fortress of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God. Last year I was there, and it would have been possible to go round it this time, but we were definitely late to Medzhybizh before the fortress closure, and we had a drone with us and really wanted to fly around such a beautiful church.

In Medzhibozh there are very few options for settlement. To be true – only one. The place is called “Autotourism complex” Medzhibozh “. It is not cheap at all. Unfortunately, there are no economy options for settlement there. But there is a parking lot with a shower and laundry (apparently for backpackers). Interesting thing, the cafe of this complex is located on the other side of the street. The service is completely unhurried there and we had to run around looking for a waiter after a decent wait. We hoped that we were noticed but were mistaken. We have already begun to get used to the fact that you can and should look that in the menu, but the correct question will be “what do you have to eat?”. By the end of the trip we were finally convinced of this))) But .. here we were just starting.

Food there is quite tasty and satisfying, although not so cheap.
There are some inconvenience, to be true. The restroom is located on the other side of the café from the side of the road. Waiting for the waiters is delayed at any time, and sometimes you need to conduct the self-search over rather big territory. And besides that – very nice and cozy. Especially the fountain in the middle of the area with tables during the summer heat.
After dinner, we went to see the Medzhibozh castle. As if there is suddenly a place near it, where you can take a beautiful evening photo?)) Alas, this place was not found. Having decided to return in the morning, we began to search the map of the village in search of adventures. It turned out that there are two synagogues and the grave of the famous rabbi Baal Shem Tov in Medzhibozh.
If you drive literally 100 meters from the fortress, inscriptions in Hebrew begin to appear on the houses. To my shame, I did not read about the place itself in advance. Only about the castle. And here we go quietly, driving up to the place on the map where the synagogue is marked. The fact that we came to the very place where we were striving, we understood by the number of people in white shirts, black trousers and various recognizable headdresses. The synagogue turned out to be a completely unremarkable building, and we clearly embarrassed and surprised people with our appearance. Therefore, we turned around and quietly drove on. Approaching the point at which the grave of the famous person is marked. Picture: we are in the car, in front of us – entrance to the territory with a large number of stands, tents, signs, people in white shirts and recognizable headdresses, guards beat in the face and throws out a very drunk and already thoroughly battered character, between our car and the fence frightened people in all the same recognizable hats sneak in the direction of the protected territory, behind a shabby comrade shout “are you ready – so just give up?” .. Arthouse. Reverse, step on the gas .. Let’s try next time.
Evening turned out to be surreal.
Returned to the hotel, ordered tea. Well, it was very nice to sit in the evening in the courtyard near the fountain with the tea. It was just bliss after a hot, long and busy day!
After breakfast we gathered to go to the fortress of Medzhybizh. We sat in the car, waited until the engine warms up. Someone decided to turn on a cheerful Jewish song inspired by the past day. An old mad, who was riding a bike next to us had so much anger and hatred in his gaze that we felt uncomfortable … We turned off. We decided not to experiment with the song “Arabian Night” at the entrance to the Jewish part of the village))))

So, the fortress.

I often heard about Medzhybizh. It seems like all sorts of festivals and other festivities are happening here. Outside, the fortress looks really impressive – high and beautiful walls.

And inside the yard there is practically nothing more. Although inside those very walls there are two museums – a local history (very fascinating and rich in exhibits) and a Holodomor museum – which is, not surprisingly, morally hard.

And, the church.

Interestingly, restoration works are going on in the fortress, and in the museum of local lore the date of discovery 2017, 2018, 2019 is often found on plates near the exhibits.

The Knight’s tower is in excellent condition. You can even climb to the very top, from where a beautiful view opens. There is one “but” – this rise is not for the faint of heart. If I remember correctly there are 5 floors of 4 – 5 – 6 meters high in the tower. They are connected by shaky wooden stairs. And the latter is generally more like a regular attic, but the greatest height. But it’s worth it!

Going down, however, no less difficult)))

While I was cooling off in the shade, the rest went to the grave of a famous person. They were allowed into the territory, but they were asked not to enter the buildings and not to contact anyone. At the entrance hangs a sign “For religious reasons, drivers are not allowed.” I don’t have an idea why))

When the lovers of Judaism returned, they’ve told that they had not seen anything special at the grave of a great man. The coffin / sarcophagus itself is located inside the building. First, the buildings were asked not to enter, secondly, there was a service/prayer/ .. and no one had an intention to disturb busy people. Through the window it was possible to see only a piece of the sarcophagus lid standing on the pillars (C). They’ve also told that they had seen the “Old Mill there” sign. We followed the signs on the plate and returned to the castle. With difficulty we guessed that the unfortunate building near the river is that very old mill.

This is just the beginning of the day. and we still have the mills ahead!
On this day, we have two more points and then Berdichev.
New Chertoria. Amazing name)) The village that once belonged to the descendants of Prince Adam Jerzy Chartori. Hence, this seemingly strange name of the village. We came here to see the mill and the manor-palace of Orzhevsky.

First, we’ve found the “steam mill”.

We did not notice any activity on the territory.

The mill was built in the 1870s at the expense of Count Orzhevsky, a famous entrepreneur of the time. First, they made an electric mill from a steam mill, and then a power station on its base. It is written in guidebooks and various tourist sites that at the moment the Novochertori Mill Factory is operating in the building. This is not true. He went bankrupt a long time ago. The building has been standing for more than 15 years without use, although it has been perfectly preserved.

Literally 500 meters from the mill is the estate of Orzhevsky. It is surrounded by a beautiful park that has survived in all social cataclysms.
Now it houses the Novochertori Agrarian Technical School. When we were walking there, everything was closed, and we didn’t meet a single living soul. Only mosquitoes))

This building and its owners have a very colorful and long history. At the beginning of the 19th century, the village was owned by Prushinsky, the magnates of Polish origin. It was they who laid the park and built the first version of the manor. Only a part of the park facade has been preserved from the first version – the last owners of the estate, Orzhevskiy family, arranged a radical restructuring. They built a church-tomb, which is preserved and still functions now.

The next stop in our program is Turchinovka. The “Uvarova Palace” is located there, in which Turchinovsky vocational lyceum is now located. It is believed that only because of this the building is in fair condition.
At the entrance to the park we were met by a hedgehog. He was very busy stamping across the road about his business, but realizing the number of non-staff individuals, he was frightened and rolled under the fence. He did not give in to any persuasions, and then he was found running away on the other side of the fence)))
As it turned out, there are more than enough different types of living creatures in the district. And not only hedgehogs. Apparently, we hit the fresh mosquito brood. Angry, predatory and hungry. The competition for food (for us) was such that no repellent saved. Crossed the gate line and immediately immersed ourselves in a lively restless nature – nettle, mosquitoes, midges))) And this riot is rather happy to see you – you are tasty and big (I even have such a suspicion regarding nettle))))

It was difficult but exciting to fly along these alleys)) The drone squealed and cursed all the time that the obstacles were too close, and he did not want to work in such conditions)) But we made an agreement with it. In particular, with the help of it, we noticed a stork nest on the turret of an economic building. And there are baby storks in it)) In general, in almost all the villages that we drove through during this trip, there are a lot of storks. Once we counted about 30 on one field and lost count. Very carefully, so as not to scare, we filmed these storks by the drone. And then itched for a long time from mosquito bites, when escaped from these violent manifestations of nature))

Catching our breath, we went to the last point of the today’s program. Berdichev. Besides the fact that there is a magnificent sanctuary, that we wanted to shoot, this is half the way to the next mill. Well, there were a couple of hotels.

Before we went looking for a hotel, we stopped near the beautiful and majestic All-Ukrainian Sanctuary of Mother of God of the Holy Scapular. I already almost remembered completely its name for the year))

Flight was not easy at all – there are wires all around, the territory of Sanctuary is large – the signal was constantly losing due to interference.

When we went inside, we observed an interesting picture)))
The vigorous nun rustled back and forth across the courtyard, stopped, took out a telephone and read something thoughtfully in it. Then puts the phone back, raises his head, sees the monk moving away. “Father Petro!” The monk stops, bows his head and slowly turns around. “Yes? ..” “Are you not busy with anything now?” And all with a sweet and radiant smile. “No …” On the face of Father Peter was written at this moment all the grief of the Carmelites who lived and will be, in half with doom. “Oh! How wonderful! Come with me! ” The extremely dejected father Petro with all possible submissiveness turns around and stomps after the nun. After a short period of time, the nun flies out of the building and goes to meet a group of children who have come on the tour.

I was not very forehanded- the hotel I chose was at the railway/bus station. What is interesting, when writing this article, I searched the Google for “Berdichev Hotel” and I did not see the Pan Hotel in which we stayed in the search results)) But it is there. And we were there. It was chosen for the reason that in the other three hotels prices were very unhealthy, as for me. But it turned out that this is not a hotel, but a hostel with claims of greatness. Shopping center in front of the station square, with a corresponding contingent, on the third or fourth floor suddenly opens a picture in the art-house style. Vigorous pink walls, photos of some celebrities with gratitudes (if I somehow manage to make sure that at least one of these people is at least aware of the existence of this place, I will go to apologize), jerky and nervous administrators, lack of parking and place to eat. Rooms for a large number of people. Suite – with its own bathroom. Other rooms has common bathrooms in the hallway.

Okay. We just need to sleep. Shower and beds – that’s good laready. There are no insects – generally super)) The second half of the evening quest is left – to find where to eat. I didn’t want to go to the supermarket for sausage and bread. I wanted something hot. On the Google Map, a “Toscana Grill” restaurant was found nearby. It looks quite decent. Food is also nice.

Since we needed to leave early in the morning, we asked what time they opened. They said, we can come tomorrow at 10. Having calmed down the regret about the time, we decided to do so. But in the morning at 10 the restaurant was closed. Moreover, after 20 minutes we were able to talk with a worker – they had a sanitary day. Here is the situation. As always, it turned out to be very difficult to find at least some cafes / restaurants working at 10 am. It took us another hour, because the owners do not consider it necessary to update the information about working hours not only in Google, but even on the plates of the restaurants. But we managed to find a place to have a nice breakfast. Cafe “Luigi” is not so easy to find – it is located on the sixth (if I am not mistaken) floor of the shopping center, and the elevator there is located from the back side of the building.

So began our next day of adventure. About that – in the next part))

First part.
Third part.
Fourth рart.
Fifth part.
Sixth part.

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Olga Dzyuba
Kharkiv, UA

Hello! My name is Olga, nice to meet you! In this blog, I am talking about our travels to beautiful and unusual places in Ukraine and beyond. Well and the history of these places. I sincerely believe that it is possible to find something interesting anywhere - just look at the outside world from different angles)))
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