Bar castle is one of the most famous castles of Podillia. For a long period of time it was named as “the gates of Polish Ukraine” (just as Berdichiv fortress was called).
The history of that castle began at that time when the town of Bar was called Rov. Polish chronicler Martin Belskiy described the tragic events of 1452. The Tatar horde intruded in Podillia, took by storm and plundered the fortress in Rov. The fortress belonged to Stogniv Rei.
In half of the century the castle was reconstructed and given to the governor Stanislav Odrovonzh.
Just at that time queen Bona Sphortsa, a duchess from Milan, called her attention to that fortress. Soon the town and fortress belonged to her. Queen Bona was very responsible: those who lived there were not to pay taxes to the Head and the King. Queen Bona got a special official document for that on the 24th of November 1537. A wooden castle appeared soon on a new place and 5 towns and 37 villages surrounded it.
The town of Riv was named Bar in memory of the town Bariy that sometime belonged to Bona Sphortsa in her native duchy. Bar got the Magdeburg Right and the coat of arms with letters “BS” – the Queen’s name. Among the most outstanding military leaders who occupied a post of Bar’s Head first of all Bernard Pretvich should be mentioned.
His activity was characterized by the saying which was popular in the middle of the XVIth century. It said: “With mister Pretvich the border is free”. That meant that Pretvich considered his main mission to defend the borders of his territories. And he organized several daring raids on the territories of Crimean Khanate.
The Ukrainian historian Olexandra Efimenko wrote on that account: “ The Heads of the border-lands organized offensive raids to steppe at their own risk in spite of the demands of the state policy.”
Never-the-less, the town of Bar of Pretvich’s times could be called the informal capital of the Polish steppe border-lands.
A century later, in 1636, the great crown hetman Stanislav Konetspolskiy moved his residence to Bar. He began to build a new castle, a story one. The building was in accordance with a project and under the leadership of a French engineer G. De Boplan.
The castle in the town of Bar was built by Boplan on the place of the old one, on the bank of the river Riv. According to the project it was a square building with four strong bastions 6m in high. “Stony Bar – a Turkish traveler Evlia Chelebi wrote, - is really a powerful fortress. It is much better than other Polish fortresses, it has the arsenal and the guns.”
We should mention that all that ammunition couldn’t help the Polish Army in 1648, when the forces of the colonel Maxim Krivonis came up to the town. They attached the castle and “they took there great plunder, many guns and ammunition; they even captured someone of the Pototskis.” That was the description of the events given by the famous chronicler of the XVIII century Samiylo Velichko.
In 1672 Bar was occupied by the Turkish Army and soon the town and the castle fell into decay. The process lasted up to the 30’s of the next century, when the revival of the former trade glory of that Podolian town began. But policy penetrated the economy again. In the second half of the XVIII century Bar was the epicenter of the crisis of the power of Rich Pospolita. Just in Bar there was proclaimed the Bar confederation. The Russian Army of the general Petro Krechetnikov helped the army of the Crown and in June 1768 they took by storm the advanced post of the confederates the town of Bar.
All those events were the reasons of ruining of the fortress. The walls were not reconstructed any more. Nowadays we can see only the ruins of the fortress. The inner parts of the castle didn’t remain at all.