HONEY CIRCLE. THE SLUCH RIVER HILLS
Scenic, wooded and grass granite banks of the Sluch River are called the Sluch River Hills. Also, these steep hanging over the water cliffs are often called the Falcon Cliffs. At the same time, there is the greatest number of species of plants and fish in this area, indicating that its natural resources are abandon and its environment is very clean. These granite hills have several radon springs known since the ancient times for its healing properties.
All natural reserve fund territories (natural and landscape reserves, historical monuments and natural sites) are combined into one large Sluch Regional Landscape Park, which covers an area of 17 thousand hectares/42 acres.
The Itinerary “Honey Circle/The Sluch River Hills” covers the most interesting and prominent spots of this beautiful park.
1. The Hare Cliff
At first glance, this is just one of numerous rocks of the Sluch Park. But it is not. It’s very distinctive and has its own charm. From its summit one can clearly see the bending of the Sluch River.
The Hare Cliff
Distance: 1.3 km / 0.81 miles.
By bike 1.3 km / 0.81 miles
2. Dzvinetska Mountain
The history of this region is not only rich but also sophisticated. Here, on the top of the Dzvinetska Mountain, near the village of Gubkiv, is located one of the largest burials of Ukrainian warriors Cossacks. They were killed during the riot led by Severin Nalivaiko against the tyranny of the ruling elite in the late sixteenth century. Only after 400 years the Cossack Cross was put in their honor at the top of the mountain.
Distance: 1.3 km / 0.81 miles.
By bike 1.3 km / 0.81 miles
3. Ruins of the Gubkiv Castle
The Gubkiv Castle or rather its ruins are considered to be the biggest attraction of the Falcon Cliffs. Even the ruins can be extremely beautiful.
Ruins of the Gubkiv Castle
Once it was a powerful stronghold of a trapezoid form with angular towers connected by walls with many loopholes, entry gate and drawbridge. Now it turned into large stone figures scattered across the steep slope down to the water, and few remains of walls and several towers. The history of this place dates back to the times of Kievan Rus. In 1596 during the riot led by Severin Nalivaiko, the Gubkiv castle was taken by Cossacks led by Grygory Loboda. The castle has suffered considerable damage, but has been rebuild soon.
Ruins of the Gubkiv Castle
For the second time, the castle was captured by Cossacks of Maxim Kryvonis in half a century, during the Khmelnytsky riot. But after the devastating attack of Swedish troops in six decades, the castle has never been rebuilt. The stone well was preserved in the castle yard, now it reminds a gaping wound that can not heal.
Distance: 1.3 km / 0.62 miles.
By bike 1.3 km / 0.62 miles.
4. Foot-print Stone across the Falcon Cliff
Foot-print stones are large rocks with natural or man-made grooves, often in the form of a human or animal track. Since the ancient times, such stones were considered to be religious or sacred objects all over the world.
Foot-print Stone across the Falcon Cliff
This is one of many such stones, or as local people say “Stupachok”, that was found here. It clearly shows a human footprint (probably female or child). At this time, there is no any legend to be associated with this stone. We only know from the local old lady, that this stone is unique and might have some magic.
Distance: 3.3 km / 2.05 miles.
By bike 3.3 km / 2.05 miles.
5. “Graves” Valley
Bronze Age and ancient Slavic burials have been excavated here, and a treasure of Roman coins was found inside it. The coins are dated from the end of the second – beginning of the third century. It means that this area was inhabited since the ancient times. Here, a catholic church was built in 1929 with a cemetery nearby (that explains the name “graves”).
The “Graves” Valley
The church was completely destroyed during the Second World War. There is a belief among the local people that anyone who goes by the church in the night could hear cries and screams, and that glowing and shining circles are flying over the graves.
Distance: 2.6 km / 1.24 miles.
By bike 2.6 km / 1.24 miles.
6. Radon spring (Sosnivske Forestry)
For a long time, neither physicians nor chemists could scientifically prove very helpful properties of radon mineral waters. The discovery of the phenomenon of radioactivity in 1896 made a possible scientific explanation of the therapeutic effects of these mineral springs. Natural radon water formed by water passing through layers of rocks with high concentrations of uranium and radium, so this water carries a small dose of ionizing radiation that is beneficial to the human body.
Experts claim that radon is essential for normal functioning of the body, it stimulates body’s protective reactions, which extends life expectancy, fertility and resistance to various diseases, including cancer. So our Itinerary will pass near one of the numerous radon springs of the Sluch River Hills.
Distance: 3.2 km /1.86 miles.
By bike 3.2 km /1.86 miles.
7. The Mlynkova River spring
The Mlynkova River is a small stream that starts from a source located at the top of the mountain slope and quickly falls into the Sluch River. Its water is clean and clear, and trees grow on both of its slopes. There is a traditional tourist gathering place nearby.
The Mlynkova River spring
Distance: 3.2 km / 1.86 miles.
By bike 3.2 km / 1.86 miles.
8. The Castle Hill
Once, an old castle was located at the Castle Hill, which rises 30 m high over the Sluch River. This castle was an old predecessor of the Hubkiv stone castle. This hill was defensive outpost of an ancient Slavic settlement.
The Castle Hill
Legends, written and archaeological sources indicate that later there was an acting monastery in the castle. Now the castle is completely destroyed. The narrow path leads to the top of the Castle Hill. From the top, one can observe spectacular views of the river and surrounding area.
Distance: 3 km / 1.86 miles.
By bike 3 km / 1.86 miles.
9. The Scherbovets Valley
This place looks like a green terrace near the water. The terrace is covered with sandy soil, not very densely dotted with grass. It’s a popular location for massive sporting events and festivals. There is a sandy beach nearby. This river forms many small sandy islands here. A narrow stream flows from a source on the hill and winds down in a deep ravine. Here you can always enjoy a sip of cold spring water.
The Scherbovets Valley
Distance: 1 km / 0.62 miles.
By bike 1 km / 0.62 miles.
10. Foot-print Stone near the village of Biltchaky
The local residents support a legend according to which the Mother of God hurried for helping a woman in labor, so she crossed the Sluch River and left traces on three stones. That woman was unmarried and lived somewhere near the river. Local argue about the very small size of the feet of the Virgin Mary. This fully justifies the legend, because this rock, as well as others, shows quite a small footprint of a human foot.
Foot-print Stone near the village of Biltchaky
11. Catholic church (the village of Velyki Mezhyrytchi)
The former stone Catholic church was built at the beginning of the 18th century by the former owner of the village. It was build instead of the wooden church built by the prince Konstantin Ostrozhsky 200 years ago.
This stone church has an organ. Two side towers with stairs up are located on the west facade built in the restrained baroque forms with thin pilasters. The towers have two-store niches for statues. The church once proudly stood over the small houses of residents, but now it’s abandoned, destroyed from the interior, and in desperate need of immediate restoratio
12. The Palace of the Stetski family (the village of Velyki Mezhyrytchi)
Located in the northern part of the village, the palace was built in 1789-1793 years by the famous architect Domenico Merlin. According to the legend, Jan Stetski won this land by playing cards. Long ago, a small fortress was located on the future palace premises, which debris was used as a building material in the construction of a new palace.
The Palace of the Stetski family
Built according to the typical pattern of late classicism, the palace had rounded end galleries and pavilions for 2 floors as a front yard limit. The first botanical garden in the Volyn area was located behind the building. The interiors of the palace and the palace itself remained remarkably preserved. Now the building is used as a children’s orphanage. The remnants of once unique landscape park can be found behind the palace. In older days, there was even a small artificial pond for breeding trout.