Visiting Khust Castle in Ukraine

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ruins of khust castle

If you come to the edge of Khust town in Zakarpattia, you will see a large hill of volcanic origin with the massive ruins of an old castle on it. These thick stone walls are all that remains of the powerful fortification, which existed here in the XI—XIII century. Khust castle, the defensive construction that played significant role in numerous battles, nowadays attracts interest of many tourists and historians.

History

ruins in hill
In the XI century, a huge salt deposit was discovered on the territory of the modern Solotvyno town. The salt from this area was delivered to all royal palaces of Europe. The way of salt caravans passed through the territory of Khust in the narrow ravine of Tysa River valley. Khust (“Khustskiy” in Ukrainian language) castle was built as a fortress purposed to defend the “salt way” and surrounding areas.
The construction had begun in 1090 in the times of king Ladislaus I and was finished in 1191 when the king Béla III was ruling these lands. The construction of the fortress became a great challenge for local dwellers. Men, women and even kids had to carry heavy stones to the top of the hill during long years.
In 1242, the fortress was ruined by Tatars. From 1281 till 1321, the Khust town had been owned by the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia, and then it became a part of the Hungarian kingdom once again. After that, the fortification was reconstructed. Khust castle was given the second lifetime during the reign of Hungarian king Béla IV. He invited peasants and craftsmen from Italy and Germany to live in the vacant lands surrounding the castle. The life in this area revived. In 1329, Khust received the status of Crown city, and became a key point of the salt way defense for the second time.
castle ruins and mountain panorama
Almost two centuries of the castle`s flourishing period finished when Zakarpattia region was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and also due to several feudal wars and rebellions.
In the XVI—XVII centuries, Habsburgs and Transylvanian dukes often fought for the castle. The fortress was also regularly attacked by Turks and Tatars in that period.
Khust castle was destructed during the storm in 1766 when a lightning hit into powder depot. Several attempts to reconstruct the castle were made with no success.
In 1798, storm has ruined the last tower of the castle, and the government allowed local dwellers to dismantle the building. In 1799, people dismantled the eastern wall of Khust castle and used its brick for the construction of Catholic church and several official buildings in Khust.

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How Original Khust Castle Looked Like

In the old times, a winding road was going up to the castle from Khustsia River. A small lodge hiding a secret passage to the castle was standing on the halfway. The tourists can still see the ruins of this lodge.
The large gate at the entrance to the external castle was protected by two bastions. There were residential buildings on the part of the way between the gate and internal castle.
remains of old castle
The internal castle was surrounded by a deep ditch around 8.5 meters wide. A flying bridge across the ditch leaded to internal castle gate. The gates of internal castle had two towers on both sides; one of the towers was used as a powder depot. A 160-meter deep well was dug near one of the towers. There were many buildings in the internal castle`s yard: residential and administrational buildings, barracks, tavern, cowsheds, stables, smithy, kitchen and bakery. On the eastern side, the castle had two powerful bastions and high tower. The northern part of the fortress was protected by square watchtower; the northern-eastern side was also reinforced by tower. The bastions of the internal castle was equipped with platforms for heavy guns.

Khust Castle Today

old ruins on the mountain
Nowadays, the tourists can see only separate fragments of the former powerful fortress. The admission to the castle is free for everyone interested. Just go up Zamkova hill, and you will experience an impressive view of the castle`s walls and surrounding panorama. This is a great place to take unusual atmospheric pictures and to enjoy sunsets.

Where to Stay Near Khust Castle

Khust is not a large city, but it can offer many accommodation options for different tastes and budgets. Some of the hotels are located very close to Khust castle, so guests have a chance to stay right near this impressive historical landmark. If this sounds like a good idea for you, check out the following hotels in Khust.
V&P HOTEL & Restaurant
entrance of hotel
This cozy 3-star hotel in Khust offers its guests SPA center, free Wi-Fi and parking. The hotel is located only 2 km away from Khust castle and the city railway station. V&P hotel has cozy rooms with furniture made of dark wood. Each room has air conditioning and TV. The hotel`s restaurant provides wide choice of Ukrainian, Hungarian and European dishes.
Karpaty Hotel
This comfortable 3-star hotel offers free parking, spacious light rooms with cable TV, café and bar. Here you can enjoy traditional English breakfast every morning. You can also find good bars and restaurants around the hotel. Karpaty hotel is only 1 km away from Khust castle.
Prince Hotel and Restaurant Complex
hotel suit
Prince 3-star hotel has cozy terrace, free Wi-Fi and restaurant. In the mornings, the guests are offered tasty English or Irish breakfast. The English-speaking stuff on reception can provide guests with information about interesting sights and historical landmarks of Khust and surroundings.
Focus Hotel
Small Focus hotel with 11 elegant suits is located in the center of Khust, only 4 km away from the castle. The guests are offered free Wi-Fi and parking, delicious Carpathian and Hungarian dishes in the restaurant. In the evening, visitors can have a drink and listen to live music on the terrace.

How to Travel to Khust Castle

If you want to visit Khust castle in Ukraine, you can go by train. There are trains from Kyiv and Lviv going to Solotvyno through Khust. If you go from Odesa, you will have to take a train to Vinnytsia, Khmelnytsky or Lviv and then change to a train going to Khust. There are also many buses going to Khust from different towns and cities of Zakarpattia region – Muckachevo, Rakhiv, Uzhgorod and other.
A visit to Khust castle will make you feel the breath of history. Welcome!
Photo source: depositphotos.com, websites of hotels mentioned above. All photos belong to their rightful owners.

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