Bakota in Khmelnytsky Region of Ukraine

Bakota in Khmelnytsky Region of Ukraine/

Welcome to a unique ancient beauty spot, where political and administrative center of Podillia of the 13th century was located.

Bakota is particularly picturesque place that cannot be found on the modern map of Ukraine. It is a kind of “non-existent paradise”. Nowadays it is just an area along the banks of Dnister river near the remnants of one of the oldest cave monasteries in Ukraine. People named this place after the city of the same name which was destined to disappear.

They say that the one who was in Podillia (a historical-geographical region of southwestern Ukraine), but hasn’t seen Bakota can be compared to that one who was in Rome and hasn’t seen the Colosseum. There is a little piece of heaven on the Dnister river in the National Park “Podilski Tovtry”. I mean Bakota. It is a unique place in the west of Ukraine with the Crimean climate. Taking into consideration the amount of sunny days, Bakota can be compared to Yalta, though the distance between them is almost 1000 km.

From Old East Slavic the word ‘bakota’ means a ‘desirable place’. Everything fascinates there: shale cliffs, forests and incredible Dnister pool.

By the way, the area of Bakota sea is almost 1600 hectares and its depth is nearly 50 metres. However, these measurements are man-made as there are nearly 30 villages at the bottom. In the early 70’s this place looked like this:

 Bakota in Khmelnytsky Region of Ukraine/

The ancient city Bakota was mentioned in the chronicle of 1024 for the first time. A fortress and precincts have already been there. However, the city wasn’t destroyed by the Turkish invasions; the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-33 and the Second World War didn’t affect it. Unfortunately, the destiny of the settlement was determined in 1981 because of the Dnister Hydroelectric Plant construction. It had so long history while its destruction lasted only for 8 years. They ordered peasants to cut down all the trees in the gardens, to relocate cemeteries to another place and, what is more, to demolish their own houses. As a result, each inhabitant had to look for a new dwelling. Water was filling the territory gradually: from 1981 to 1987 it raised by 35 meters. Then the local newspaper with a triumphant headline “Victory on the Dnister river” was published. At the same time, the former residents of Bakota were climbing the cliffs in order to bid farewell with their native lands. And it happened 35 years ago. The gardens of former inhabitants have already grown up. And yet, even flooded Bakota retained its mysterious charm.

Bakota in Khmelnytsky Region of Ukraine/

The only thing that escaped the destruction is a rocky monastery of the 14th century. So visiting Bakota you should not forget about the monastery. It is a monument of ancient cave structures and spreading of Christianity in Podillia region. The founder of the monastery was the Reverend Elder Anthony (founder of Kiev Monastery of the Caves). Unfortunately, cells, cave and burial vault were destroyed by the landslide of upper rocks of White Mount. Nowadays only a few small caves with a church within them can be found there.

Furthermore, Bakota is a mecca for those who is fond of fishing. Locals say that one can catch there a gigantic sheatfish or silver carp. There's also a lot of other kinds of fish, including carp, bream, pikeperch, perch and crucian. Also trout and crawfish, the presence of which guarantees the cleanness of water, can be found there.

As for lodging for the night, there are several variants. It should be mentioned that probably the best decision is to go camping there. For those, who cannot imagine their life without tent, campfire, guitar and good company, there’s a campground. However, if you prefer to have a roof over your head, you can live in a comfortable car trailers which are also available at the recreation center. If you do not like the idea or do not have such an opportunity (I mean to go camping), you can stay the night in Stara Ushytsia which is about 2 hour walk from Bakota.

It is worth to visit Bakota for the sake of warm air, pure water, romance and cordial warmth. I’m sure you will definitely enjoy the marvelous landscape of this Ukrainian Atlantis, you’ll love it.

Mariia Holych


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