Visit Podilski Tovtry National Nature Park, Chemerivtsi

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river surrounded by green hills

Podilski Tovtry National Nature Park in Khmelnytsky oblast`, founded in 1996, is listed as one of the seven wonders of Ukraine. This is the largest nature park of the country,embracing more than 26 thousand hectares. In 2017, it was assigned the status of UNESCO world`s heritage. Let us learn more about this outstanding miracle of Mother Nature.

The park territory is spread over the three raions of Khmelnytsky oblast: Kamyanets-Podilsky, Gorodok and Chemerovits. This unique place, often called “PodillyaSwitzerland”, is famous for numerous objects of historical heritage, rare plants and animals from the Red Book and, of course, unbelievably beautiful landscapes.
green field and mountain
Around 20–25 million years ago, this area was covered with Sarmatic sea dividing two ancient supercontinents – Lavrasia and Gondwana. In the course of time, giant colonies of corals, seaweed, shellfishes and other organisms had died, and their remains together with particles of roche formed deposits, creating a huge reef barrier. When the waters had receded, a long series of lime mountains (“tovtry”) was left on terrain – the monument to underwater life, forming weird landscapes of this area. The chain of lime hills extents for 200 km from Lvivoblast to Moldova. The peaks rise for approximately 50–60 meters above surrounding lands. The part of the mountain chain stretching from Kamyanets-Podilsky to Zbruch reaches height of 100 meters. Visually, tovtry are picturesque hills looking like large waves covered with thick forest and greenery. At the bottom of the hills, tourists can see numerous beautiful blue lakes of different shape and size.
rocky mountain above river
The word “tovtra” comes from Thracian “terdos” that means “edge”. In total, the park has 160 tovtry. Some of them are high, some are low; some are covered with plants and some are bald. However, all the lime hills of Podilski Tovtry park are united by the common feature: their West slopes are steep, while East slopes are smooth.
Tovtry have no analogues in the world. Only in the USA and Great Britain, it is possible to find some mountain chains that are similar to tovtry by their geological structure.

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The locals usually call the park “Medobory” (“Honey-gathering”) because Podilski Tovtry is a rich source of nectareous fruit plants: hawthorn, raspberry, briar, blackberry. The air here is filled with fragrant smells of diverse wild grasses such as wood lily, sun-rose, hypericum, broom and many other. Local flora has almost 3000 types of plants including 60 types listed in the Red Book.
Podilski Tovtry Nature Park is also a home for more than 350 kinds of animals, 85 of which are in the Red Book. The fauna of this area includes foxes, martens, hedgehogs, badgers, owls, falcons and so on. As for Red Book species – these are, for example, black storks, European minks, steppe ferret, rose-colored starlings. Some dwellers of Podilski Tovtry Park are endemics, which means that they live only in the range of the reserve.
fox in grass
Local water sources of Podilski Tovtry Park are rich for microelements that give water healing powers and special taste. That is why numerous recreational camps are located here along with facilities producing well-known mineral waters such as “Naftusia”, “Minska” and “Myrgorodska”.
Podilski Tovtry National Park can also boast more than 300 objects of archeological, historical and architectural value. For example, tourists can pay a visit to Bogit mountain where a pagan temple and a statue of Slavic God was placed in the old times or to drowned village Bakota with rocky monastery founded by the monk Anthony.
cave in rocks with cross on entrance
The park also attracts those who are interested in caves. Due to the unique geological structure, this area has many interesting underground formations. The tourists can visit “Dovbusheva”, “Perlyna”, “Hermit`s cave” and numerous other caves.
Podilski Tovtry National Nature Park in Ukraine offers divers opportunities for active leisure. Tourists can take a one-day or longer excursions (recreational or educational), do hunting and fishing, rafting or canoeing along Dniester River, try horse riding, ride paragliders or hang-gliders. You can explore Podilski Tovtry by foot, bicycle or car, following specially developed touristic routes. As for accommodation, there are options of renting a cottage on the bank of the Dniester water reservoir or living in your own tent surrounded by virgin nature.
river with hills around
A visit to Podilski Tovtry National Nature Park in Ukraine will surely bring you unforgettable impressions. Welcome!
Address of the park office: 6, Polsky Rynok square, Kamyanets-Podilsky city, Khmelnytsky oblast`
Photo source: shutterstock.com, unsplash.com. All photos belong to their rightful owners.

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