The Watch

Kamyanets Podilsky Castle Bridge

Kamyanets-Podilsky, Ukraine

2000 World Monuments Watch

Western Ukraine's only preserved structure from antiquity is still an everyday part of life in Kamyanets-Podilsky. Traffic crosses the castle bridge that has linked the town with its fortress since the early centuries of the millennium. When first built over the River Smotrich, the bridge was an engineering marvel constructed of six stone pillars joined with wooden trusses. The trusses were replaced by stone arches in medieval times and by the seventeenth century the bridge was encased in walls. In 1942, a three-meter-thick superstructure was added, an addition that may cause the demise of this ancient structure. The stone bridge and surrounding stone-built town are notable in a region where buildings are wooden (kamyane means stone) and Kamyanets-Podilsky is the north-easternmost town constructed of stone. The many changes to the bridge have resulted in its structural compromise. Given the decay of the foundation, exfoliation from supporting members, and earthquake damage in 1986, disaster is imminent. A structural analysis is needed, to be followed by emergency stabilization.

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