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Kamyanets Tower

Date of Submission: 30/01/2004
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Délégation Permanente de la République de Bélarus auprès de l'UNESCO
Ref.: 1894
Word File

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The Kamyanets tower, a monument of defense architecture, is situated in the town of Kamyanets, Brest Province. It was erected between 1276-1288 by the order of the Prince of Volyn Vladimir Vasilkovich by architect Oleksa as the basic element in the defense system of an outpost town at the western border of the Volyn Principality. The tower was constructed erected within a circular rampart and dominated the wooden fortifications. The Kamyanets pillar (that annalistic name of the tower is still used by the local population) is a round-shaped construction, 13.5 meter in outer diameter, 29 metres high (with 30.15 m merlons), up to 2.5 metres thick in the walls, erected on a solid stone foundation (2 meters 30 centimeters high, 16 meters in diameter). The walls are made of bi-colored bricks - dark red and yellowish, their size being 26.5x13.5x8 centimeters. The bricks reinforced with lime mortar were laid in a Venedian (Baltic) pattern broadly used in Germany, Poland, and Livonia in those days. The tower has a cylinder form and has neither vertical nor horizontal junctions. Loopholes were cut in every level of the tower: two of them were in the first level, three in the second and third level; the fourth level had two loopholes and a large lancet opening decorated with an archivolt from the outside (formed from bricks laid at an angle). Formerly, the opening led to a balcony which was put on the outriggers. The narrow and slit-like loopholes of the four lower levers are expanding inwards and followed by 2 semi-circular arches. The fifth level has four loopholes, which, as distinct from others, expand both inwards and outwards and are followed by Gothic vaults. There are four plane bays of false windows with roman vaults in between the loopholes of the fifth level. Another architectural decoration of the tower is an ornament made of bricks laid at 45° angle and framed by a row of bricks laid lengthwise. Before the restoration in 1903 (architect V. Suslov), the 1St and 5th levels had vaults whose bricks and mortar differed greatly from those in the walls. The remains of the brick made dome-shaped vault sustained by reinforced liernes can be seen over the 5th level. From the 5th level, the wall has a stared passage leading to the battle platform, which is surrounded by 14 merlons with reach-through brick-size holes. The monument is abundant with laconic Roman and early Gothic forms: lancet windows and openings, ribbed vaults, semicircular plane bays and loopholes. Similar structures called donjons were typical for the medieval European defense architecture. The Kamyanets Tower is the only survived monument of this kind in the territory of Belarus. From 1960 the Tower is a branch of the Brest regional ethnographic museum.