Dniester Canyon and Rivers of Dniester Basin

River Dniester

River Dniester

Day 1: Nezvysko –Beremyany includes a stop at Rakovets to visit the ruins of a fortress and a hike up Chervona (Red) hill. Day 2: Beremyany – Ustechko consists of a visit to the Chervonohorod valley, the Dzhuryn waterfall and the Dzhuryn castle. Day 3: Ustechko – Zalischyky is largely spent on the river and exploring Zalischyky.

The Dniester River is the largest river in Western Ukraine—it’s 1375 km long and has a 72,100 km2 basin area. The source of River Dniester is situated on the northern slopes of the forested Carpathian Mountains, near the village of Rozluch, at an altitude of about 900 m. The Dniester flows through the Carpathians, among the picturesque rocky shores of Podolia (Dniester Canyon) and through the orchards and vineyards of Moldova into the Black Sea.

Dniester River Rafting

In ancient times, the absence of other means of communication made the Dniester (then called Tyras), the only trade route for the people which inhabited its shores. That is why, so many castles, fortress and traditional trading towns were built along its banks. Travellers are drawn to the ruins of the many castles. On its way to the Black Sea 386 tributaries, including the: Stryi, Svicha, Bystrytsya, Zolota Lypa, Strypa, Seret, Zbruch and Smotrych dump into the Dniester.

The white-water rapids are located between the village of Strilky and the town of Staryi Sambir. There used to be a complex rapid in Staryi Sambir but it was completely demolished in the disastrous flood of 2008. After Staryi Sambir the Dniester flows through lowlands – this part is much less interesting for rafting, in part because the river bed was artificially straightened here. It again becomes interesting as the river banks rise, and the river gets enveloped by lush forests near the village of Zhuravno. The river enters an agricultural area again in Tsvitova.

Dniester River

The most interesting part of the Dniester is from Nyzhniv to the mouth of the river Zbruch. In this section, the river carved out a canyon and the river flows at 5-7 km/h. Beautiful scenery as well as lots of caves and waterfalls can be found in the Dniester Canyon. After Khotyn there are two large reservoirs, Novodnistrovske and Dubosarske; after the reservoirs, the river slows down to a tranquil 1-2 km/h.

The best season to explore the white-waters of the Dniester is April-May, but April-October is the better season for the middle and lower parts of the river. The most commonly used vessels are kayak or cataraft. There are no obstacles which require portage but, you have to be prepared for hard rowing.

Dniester Rafting trips on the middle and lower parts of the river are most appropriate for beginners and families. A dense network of roads makes it easy to customize your trip on the Dniester.

Dniester River Attractions

Nyzhniv

Home of a XVIII and XIX century church, a water mill from XIX century and a monument honouring B. Khmelnytskyi; it is also the beginning of the picturesque Dniester Canyon.

River Dniester

Odayiv

Odayiv is famed as a hang-gliding and paragliding site. There is also an archaeological site on the left bank (70m. high) where the remains of theTrypillian culture, dating from the IV-III century BC, were discovered. Odayiv is also famous for cave exploring. In the Dumka cave (Odayiv XI) remains from the Palaeolithic period were found including tools and reindeer bones. The settlements are estimated to be about 20 thousand years old.

There is a contemporary chapel built in honour of St. Pantaleon and a cavern nearby where, hundreds of years ago, unknown monks hollowed out a room to hold services. The cliffs are also home to an UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) hidden bunker. Many UPA soldiers died in this area fighting the Nazis and Soviets. A cross has been erected over the picturesque canyon to honour them.

Koropets

Koropets, situated along the Dniester bank, is a truly unique town. It is first mentioned in writings from 1421, when it belonged to Kierdia, Pekarskyi and Potocki. Koropets was a border post between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire until the Khotyn battle of 1621. Count Kasimir Badeni’s (1846 -1909) Palace is situated in the middle of Koropets. He was governor of Galicia (1888-1895), the Austrian Minister-President and Minister of the Home Office (1895-1897). The castle is surrounded by a park with old and exotic trees.

River Dniester

Deleva

Not far from Deleva is an archaeological site from the Kyivan Rus’ period.

Stinka

On the steep left bank of the Dniester River in the village of Stinka is a natural cave which was roughly fashioned into a place of worship long before Christianity came to Ukraine. It was later used as a Christian church. Ancient pre-Christian and Christian carvings could, until recently, be clearly seen inside the cave. Unfortunately the carvings are not protected so they will soon be lost.

River Dniester

Petriv

In Petriv there is a church dating from 1851 and a pub in the underground premises of Polish Baron Rozhen’s former mansion.

Vozyliv

Mount Baba is next to Vozyliv. According to legend when the blacksmith Klepey was escaping from Turkish captivity, he beheaded a Turkish princess on this mountain. In 1951 the last Ukrainian Insurgent Army solider, Hnat, died on this mountain.

Isakiv

Another spot frequented by paragliding and hang-gliding enthusiasts. The village was named after the monk Isak who lived in the area. In Isakiv there is yet another cave monastery to explore as well as the earthen wall which is the remnants of yet another castle.

River Dniester

Nezvysko

On the outskirts of Nezvysko is an archaeological site which contains remnants of Upper Palaeolithic era settlements. One of the few bridges that span the Dniester Canyon is also nearby but a person must be courageous and a bit reckless to use it as it is in a very dilapidated state.

Rakovets

Even before you get off the river you will see the ruins of the castle which was built in 1660 by Dominik Wojcik Bieniewski. It turned out to be a very tactically disadvantageous location. The main tactical disadvantage was getting water. Nonetheless, the castle withstood several sieges during the Turkish-Polish war in the 17th century before being destroyed in 1676.

River Dniester

Beremyany

A short distance from this village is the towering Red Mountain. Legend has it that the mountain got its name from the large number of peaceful villagers which were executed on it by the Turkish army. The blood of these villagers is said to stain the mountain giving it its name. It also happens to be one of the warmest places in the Ternopil region. Even in the coldest winters, snow doesn’t last for more than a day or two so it has also been called the Dniester Subtropics. 20 kilometres away are the Rusyliv cascade of waterfalls which are located in a deep chine. This grouping of waterfalls is the largest in Ukraine, consisting of 14 waterfalls, the largest of which as a 12 meter drop. Between Rusyliv and Beremyany there is the less dramatic Sokoliv cascade of waterfalls.

Nyrkiv

The village of Chervonohorod once was located on the picturesque peninsula created by the Dzhuryn River. Chervonohorod was the capital of one of the principality’s territories. All that is left now are two towers from the old fortress which was rebuilt into a palace which was eventually destroyed during the First World War and a partially ruined 15th century church. The man-made16 meter high Dzhuryn waterfall adorns this spot.

Dniester

Horodnytsya

This is the last village in Halychyna before entering Bukovyna; it is located on the right bank of the river.

Strilche

The first written mention of this village appears in 1438. It marked the border between the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia and Ottoman Empire. The village was named for the archers who guarded the border. The local church, St. John the Evangelist, was built in 1812.

Dniester River

Babyn

In Babyn there is a famous waterfall and a unique chapel built into the cliffs. If you are interested in bird watching, you’ve come to the right place because Babyn is located in an ornithological reserve which has a 99 nest grey heron colony.

Kostryzhivka

This is an example of a typical village in Bukovyna. It was home to writer and cultural activist Sydonia Nykorovych-Hnida who was editor of Samostiyna Dumka (Independent Thought) periodical published in Chernivtsi. The Dniester River divided the village into Polish and Romanian sections.

Zalischyky

Due to its warm and dry climate, cheap fruit and vegetables are abundant. When the area was under Polish rule (1930s) this town was a popular resort town. Evidence of those times is the exotic trees which can still be seen in the Botanical Garden. Before entering the village there is a small chapel built near a spring. Across the river from the village an Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy was recently built. Beneath this church on the slope is an old monastery and chapel from the 16th century.


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