In western Ukraine, hikers and climbers can discover the Dovbush rocks, a one-of-kind stone maze widely known as the Ukrainian Stonehenge.
Welcome to the Dovbush Rocks. In the heart of Western Ukrainian Carpathian mountains stands a huge rock complex, hidden in the woods. Experts say this used to be a pagan temple before becoming a Christian monastery. One thing is for sure, this unique venue is charged with energy. As ethnographer Oleksandr Timko put it,
“There is very strong energy here. People say that if, literally, your batteries are out, they’re gonna charge if you take them to the rocks.”
The stone labyrinth is about two kilometers long and can reach up to 50 meters. The rocks formed 70 million years ago. Historians did not solve the mystery of their origin but did notice human traces. Some resemble animals, like the lion and the falcon, which, according to Timko, are the symbols of the sun.
There are about ten caves in the rocks, all with incredible acoustics. It almost feels like they sing…
Folk legends about those caves are passed from one generation to another. The Dovbush rocks take their name from Oleksa Dovbush, a robin hood-like Carpathian figure who supposedly used it as a stronghold. Legend also says he carved a tunnel with the help of a simple ax.
As well as the caves, one of the main attractions is the Purgatory Cliffs, also called the Devil’s Gorge. It is only 20 centimeter wide, and many believe it washes the souls of any sinners passing through… Now, scientists are urgently attempting to find a way to preserve the rocks integrity.
Polina Timkiv, Ethnologist:
There used to be a shaft enclosed by a meter wall here, in the medieval times — and behind it — a 15-meter thick moat with water, but it collapsed.
To prevent this, it is absolutely vital to strengthen these cliffs in order to keep these monuments for generations to come.