Amber had always been and always would be, and every other city, everywhere every other city that existed was but a reflection of a shadow of some phase of Amber. I remember thee. I shall never forget thee again. I guess, deep inside me, I never really did. R. Zelazny, "Nine Princes In Amber"
In the Ukrainian Podillya, in the origins of the river Riv, lies the ancient town of Bar. This town saw Tatars, Poles, the cossaks, hetmans, Russians, the kings and queens. It burned in the fires of peasants uprisings. It was the residency of hetman Konetspolski and hetman Vyhovsky and also the center of Bar Confederation. There is a historical object left from those times. It is the Bar Castle. This object is the most mysterious, the most deserted and the most discussed object. Perhaps, someone, like R. Zelazny's character, would have remembered The Castle of Bar, if it has been preserved nowadays.
A bit of History
Let`s continue with a short reference from Wikipedia to mark the main stages.
The territory of Bar was populated since ancient times. After Olgerd's conquest (Syni Wody battle) the territory had been included to the Podillya principality, that was a part of Great Lithuanian principality. The construction of big town-castles had begun.
After the division of Halych Principality Lithuanian princes started to grow their influence on the land of Bar as the part of Western Podillya, and since 1366 the tribute from Podillya was payed to the king of Poland. 1370-1386 - Bar lands were under the rule of the king of Hungary. In 1387 the rule of Poland had been renewed on Podillya.
The first documentary sign about the town named "Rov" goes back to 1401. Famous Ukrainian historian Myhailo Grushevskiy wrote "... in 1405 Rov was a populated town, and it meant that the process of population had been held in previous times..."
Although, there is a theory that the castle had been built by Koriatovych brothers. Due to the theory a wooden castle had been built in 1380, much earlier before the town was mentioned. The castle had double wooden walls and towers. In 1430, when the last member of Koriatovych family died, Rov became the property of Poland Kingdom.
After Tatars' invasions to Podillya (1453, 1 457, 1469, 1474, 1478, 1489 1490, 1494, 1498) the castle had been renewed continuously. In his chronicles Martin Belskiy described the horde`s lootings of 1452, during which the thatars ocupied and ruined the Castle in Rov. They captured its residents and the town elder Rey Stognev together with his family
Kazimir Yagelochek gave permission to village eldery Andrei Odrovonge to buy Rov and the surrounding territory in 1456. In 1532 King Sigizmund I set the territory free of tribute due to heavy ruin.
The queen Bona Sforza together with her son Sigizmund August came to Rov in 1533. The Queen bought the territory of Rov with the surrounding lands and ordered to build a new fortress. She named the town Bar - in honor of her native town Bari in Italy, where she was born.
The new castle was built in 1538 on the new plot and the area around the castle was united in the so called Eldery of Bar. The region where the old castle stood was called Mountainos Bar or Chemerysy. None of the plans or drawings of the old wooden castle were preserved so all the further stories would be about the stone Castle of Bar.
The Stone Castle
In the XVII century the castle had masonry walls. It had rectangular proportions and the towers on it's corners, which were carried forward from the main perimeter. But very few fragments were preserved at the beginning of the XX century.
New masonry castle had been built under Martin Gerburt command, who was the elderly of Bar in 1553-1570. The main function of the castle was to strengthen the Poland's south borders and to block the exit to the Black Sea. The Castle of Bar became the third (after Kamianets and Medgibizh) fortress of Poland and it was often called "the gate of Polish Ukraine".
The Researcher of the Podillya Sitsinsky Y. wrote: "Instead of the pond there are gardens and hays. There are ruins of the castle at the edge of the town. There are fragments of the walls surrounded the town. Its height is about 6-7 meters and the balustrade with loopholes above them. The towers are not preserved".
In 1636 Great Crown Hetman S. Konetspolsky moved his residency to Bar.
Masonry fortress had been built during 1630-1647 on the project of French architect Guillaume Levasseur de Beauplan. That last version of the castle had four bastions of 6 meters height.
I guess, the oldest image of the castle's territory, which can be found in the Internet is the Napoleon Orda's illustration, made somewhen during 1872-1874 (from https://forum.zamki-kreposti.com.ua/).
As we can see, this illustration does not give us the exact configuration of the outer walls. Inside the area looks empty and deserted.
In summer 2019 I was invited to a group of activists in Bar which studied Castle of Bar and planned to recreate some of its' fragments.
Images given below are just our vision, based on specialists' approximation and on the data taken from historic sources. Due to limited information these visualizations are just references with no claim to be exact and final opinion.
To create 3d model of the castle first of all we needed a plan of the territory.
They found few of them in the Internet. WithIhor Lozinskiy`s help we received the plan dated 1808 which was not in open sources. So we had several kinds of the castle plans and each of them was a bit different from the others.
Every new portion of information rose new questions. For example: were the watchtowers mounted on bastions? How did they look like? They were shown on the plan of 1808 but they were not shown on the plan of 1820. Why? The same questions we have about the castle's ditch. What was it's configuration? Did its waters come just to the castle walls?
The young historian Illia Litvinchuk gives the next vision of the location and the configuration of the masonry castle:
We can see the ditch, the entrance to the castle under some sort of town hall building, but the territory is shown empty. Due to this our first visualizations will show only the exterior of the Castle of Bar.
The video below was shot by Ihor Lozinskiy in April 2020.
Now lets move to the result of our work! Let's come closer to the Castle of Bar.
In XVI-XVII century Castle of Bar looked like this. The location of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is shown for your understanding of the camera angles. Click the image to view its full size.
Shown images do not give us understanding where the ditch and the entrance were situated. After series of approximations and using similarities we were able to recreate the state of the ditch and the entrance.
Usually the ditch came closely to the walls creating difficult barrier for the invaders during the siege. The path to the castle led through the narrow bridge where only 2-3 people or two horse riders could pass.
For example, lets take a look at the castle in Bari (photo fromhttps://www.ilturista.info/):
The entrances to the castles of Barletta (Italy) and Pidhirtsi (Ukraine) were much simpler:
We modeled the ditch and the entrances using these references.
Everyone agree that one entrance was located in Monastyrska street, but another entrance could be located from the town's side.
The Castle of Bar has special rounded Northern bastion. You can see it in the right lower part of the image.
Now lets compare visualization and modern state of the castle. Click the arrow to the right.
This is all for now. Our next work will be aimed to inner territory.