These wonderful photos were taken last year on the territory of a great heritage site of the ancient Slavic history known as Stilsko fortified settlement.

Here, on the hills covered with trees, to the 10th century was a “metropolis” with defensive walls, fortifications, pagan temples and shrines. The territory of the settlement occupied about 250 hectares, and the size of only so-called “dytynets”, (citadel – the most protected part of the settlement), was 15 hectares. The population of this city reached 10,000 people. This was the capital of the White Croats.

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The White Croats formed a Slavic tribe that in the VI-X centuries lived on both sides of the Carpathian Mountains and were the ancestors of modern Ukrainians and Croats..

On the western side, the capital was protected by steep mountain slopes – huge rocks still hang over the cliffs. They have holes for drawbridges supports and chains. Actually, the Kolodnytsia River, which now looks like a small stream, was once a full-flowing river flowing into the Dnister River, and with the help of locks, an 11-kilometer canal on this river received ships sailing across the Dnister to the capital’s berths.

In the southern part of the city there is a ritual landscape, the basis of which is a huge stone altar. The through hole is formed by vertical and upper table stone having a flat surface like a table. There’s a strong possibility that ancient rituals were performed on it. Oral traditions call this rock the Temple of the Sun. Near the rock are carved small caves where Volkhvs (Slavic priests) lived. After the Christianity was forcibly brought there, those caves were inhabited by christian monks.

In 2001 Stilsko settlement was given the status of a Ukrainian monument of national importance. Two years later, the Parliament of Ukraine issued a resolution on the establishment of the State Historical and Cultural Reserve. Orest Korchynsky, historian and archaeologist, Ph.D. has been researching the heritage site for many years.

Unfortunately, the civilization level of the local population remained in DarkAges. Peasants from the village of Dubrova made barns out of caves, put doors with locks and stored potatoes there. But the demonstration of their medieval consciousness did not end there – last week the locals, together with the head of the village and the local christian priest, started the illegal construction of a chapel right in front of the rock complex.

Dr. Korchynsky with the help of journalists made public this event. When they tried to film a video from the scene, local residents threatened to kill Dr. Korchynsky and treated journalists aggressively. Villagers said they “have lived here for 80 years and have not seen any White Croats”.

Social networks have aptly noted that local villagers are trying to destroy the monument because they are afraid of competition. After all, they themselves are a living monument of the Middle Ages with cave fanaticism and ignorance, when the local priest replaces the laws and critical thinking.

Here is my reaction on Stilsko accident in Ukrainian.

Location of Slavic ritual landscape

UPD. Next week the investigation was launched under Part 3 of Art. 298 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal search of archeological heritage sites or damage of cultural heritage sites in relation to monuments of national importance). The sanction of the article envisages up to 5 years of imprisonment. The pre-trial investigation will be carried out by investigators of the local police department under the procedural guidance of the prosecutors of the local prosecutor’s office.

The regional authorities also reacted to the scandal. A commission formed by the Department of Architecture and Urban Development of the Lviv Regional State Administration visited Stilske, which also included representatives of the local council, archaeologists, police and the prosecutor’s office.