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 18.06.2011 Bubnyshche – caves and rocks complex in the Carpathians


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To the west of Bolekhiv (14 km), near the village of Bubnyshche lie famous rocks and caves. Steeped in legends, the stone giants preserve old secrets. The remains of a well, a chimney, traces of a defense tower or of an entrance gate, secret passages through grottoes, grooves and numerous cuts hollowed in the rock, caves of correct form — all testify that man adapted this wild stone to life. Researches for two centuries have been trying to properly understand this unique monument of nature, history, and architecture, and to try to unravel its mysteries. The rock complex for many centuries served several purposes: sacral, defense, every day one. Stone giants with deep gorges and caves long ago attracted people reliably protecting them from natural disasters and attacks of invaders.

It is believed that there originally existed a pagan sanctuary — the Peruns temple and a paleo observatory. Secret signs-symbols (petroglyphs) and «sacrifice» cups of half a meter in diameter have been preserved on the rocks. With the spread of Christianity, a small cave monastery (X-XI c.) appeared in place of the old Slavonic chapel, then – a fortress (castle) of Galician princes. It is likely that the castle existed during the centuries to come as well. The main group of rocks with the height of 30 meters surrounds the inner space in a semi-circle from north and east, bounded on the west side by a ditch, and apparently a defensive rampart. In the rocky walls several caves were carved out. The three caves are artificial, and for the fourth (the second in the row) a natural gorge was used. The height of entrance to the main cave is 1,6 m. Above the cave an open shelf with a depth of 1 m is dug, with sloping ditches above, to which the roof of a wooden side structure was probably attached. Next to the right, there is second, more open cave, with a height of 2.3 m. It is called «stable». There is another small hollow next to it.

According to researchers, 80% of the preserved remnants of buildings create a single set of wooden rock fortifications, which can definitely impress and capture imagination of tourists and sightseers. Every large rock in the landscape park has its name derived from ancient times, or given by climbers who arrange training and competitions here. The highest rock is Batdeship (Sail) (with the height of 46 m). Slightly lower are Witch (Dovbushs Head), Doll, Tulip and others.

There is also so-called Purgatory – a narrow passage between towering cliffs which can be passed through by the one who wants to be free from sins who is not too thick). Separately rises a powerful stone 30 m high Odynets. Some people link various structures in the caves and the caves themselves to a famous Ukrainian robber — Oleksa Dovbush staying here. He may have been here but perhaps not for long, because the caves were known to all. The name «Dovbush Rocks» was adopted in the Soviet period for the majestic rock formation.