|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Postal code||225050, 225051|
|Area code(s)||+375 1631|
Kamyanyets (also spelled as Kamenets and Kamieniec) (Belarusian: Ка́менец [kaˈmʲenʲets], Russian: Ка́менец, Polish: Kamieniec, Yiddish: קאמעניץ Kamenits) is a town in the Brest Region of Belarus and the center of the Kamyenyetski Rajon. The town is located in the northwestern corner of Brest Region on the Lyasnaya river, about 40 km north from Brest. In 2002, the population was about 9,000 people. Through Kamyanyets flows the river of Leśna Prawa.
It was first mentioned in the Halych-Volhynian Chronicle in 1276, when a castle with a keep, the tower of Kamyenyets, was being constructed on this spot, to protect the northern boundary of Volhynia from the raids of invaders. This site on the stony steep bank of the Liasnaja (Lysna or Leśna) River had attracted Oleksa, the prominent builder and architect of Volhynia. He showed the site to Vladimir Vasilkovich, the Prince of Volhynia, who appreciated the place and ordered Oleksa to build a castle with a keep on the spot. Later a town appeared around the fortification. The tower is often called Bielaja Vieža (alternative transliteration: Belaya Vezha), which means White Tower or White Fortress in Belarusian, because after its foundation it was tiled in white. The neighboring primeval forest of Belavezhskaya Pushcha received its name, which also means White Tower, through association with the tower. However, today the color of the castle is brick-red, having weathered through the ages, not white.
The original name of the town comes from the Slavic word kamennyj which means stony in English, as it was founded atop a stony rise.
In 1366, it was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in 1376 it was burnt by Teutonic Crusaders but rapidly rebuilt. In 1503, local townsfolk received a limited self-administration right (probably the Magdeburg Rights) that was used by 1795, when it was annexed by Russia. In 1588 and 1659, the town was devastated with plague.
In the 19th century and the first four decades of the 20th century, local Jewish community was the most active part of the townsfolk. Memories of the town are included in Yekhezkel Kotik's memoir, published in English as Journey To a Nineteenth Century Shtetl: The Memoirs of Yekhezkel Kotik.
After the World War II, the town developed as a minor center of the food processing industry (cheese and butter making, baking of bread, etc.).
The main historical attraction is the donjon that accommodates a museum. There are also St Simeon's Orthodox church (1914); Sts Peter and Paul Roman Catholic church (1925) and Roman Catholic cemetery of the 18th - early 20th centuries. The building of a synagogue (used until 1941). Since 2009, there has been an annual historical Belaja Vezha Festival organized by local people.
- Назвы населеных пунктаў Рэспублікі Беларусь: Брэсцкая вобласць: нарматыўны даведнік / І. А. Гапоненка і інш.; пад рэд. В. П. Лемцюговай. — Мн.: Тэхналогія, 2010.— 318 с. ISBN 978-985-458-198-9.
- Musevich, Georgiy (2009). Народ, который жил среди нас [The People Who Lived Among Us]. Translated by Sherwin L. Sokolov. Brest.
- Kotik, Yekhezkel. Journey to a Nineteenth Century Shtetl: The Memoirs of Yekhezkel Kotik. pp. 109–139.
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