Dubno (Ukrainian: Ду́бно) is a hidden gem located in the Rivne Oblast province of western Ukraine. Nestled on the banks of the Ikva River, Dubno serves as the administrative center of Dubno Raion district. The city is estimated to have a population of 36,901 (2022 est.) and is located within the historic region of Volhynia. Its location at the intersection of two major European routes, E40 and E85, makes it an easy stopover for travelers exploring the region. Dubno is most famous for its fortress, but there is so much more to discover here. Let’s take a closer look at what this charming city has to offer.

== History ==
First mentioned in a chronicle of 1100, Dubno has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. It was even a seat of local princes for a short period of time. In the early 14th century, the region was the subject of Polish-Lithuanian rivalry, as a result of which Dubno became part of the latter. It came under Polish influence as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, and in 1386 King Władysław II Jagiełło granted Dubno along with nearby Ostróg to magnate Feodor Ostrogski. Since then, as a private town, it has belonged for over 200 years to the influential Ostrogski family. Dubno became a notable stronghold in Volhynia and granted city rights in 1498 by Alexander Jagiellon. The town attracted many foreign settlers, most notably Jewish and Armenian. Since the 14th century, Dubno has been owned by the mighty Ostrogski family, who built the Dubno Castle during the times of Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski. During the early modern period, the castle was significantly expanded by Konstanty Ostrogski, who made it a modern fortress, one of the strongest in the area. Granted city rights in 1498 by Alexander Jagiellon, the town attracted many foreign settlers, most notably Jewish and Armenian. As such, it became the seat of one of the oldest and most vibrant Jewish communes in Central-Eastern Europe. In the 1780s, the castle underwent yet another modernization and was rebuilt as a residential manor, mostly losing its fortified character. Finally, in 1673 it passed to the Lubomirski family, which built a new palace within the fortress walls.

== Things to do ==
Dubno Castle is the city’s major attraction and a must-visit for any traveler. Built in the 14th century, it stands as a testament to the region’s rich history and is one of the most impressive fortresses in Ukraine. The castle was heavily damaged during World War I and World War II, but it has been restored and is now open to the public. Visitors can explore the castle’s ramparts, towers, and courtyards, and learn about the castle’s role in the region’s history.

Another must-visit attraction is the Jewish Cemetery and Holocaust Memorial, which is located just outside the city. The cemetery dates back to the 16th century and is the final resting place of many of the city’s Jewish inhabitants. The Holocaust Memorial was built to commemorate the more than 12,000 Jews who were killed in Dubno during World War II. Visitors can pay their respects and learn about this dark chapter in the city’s history.

For nature lovers, Dubno has much to offer. The Ikva River is a popular spot for fishing and boating, and the surrounding countryside is home to several picturesque hiking trails. The Dubno Reservoir is another popular destination and offers swimming, fishing, and other water sports.

== Local cuisine ==
No trip to Dubno would be complete without sampling some of the local cuisine. The city is famous for its traditional Ukrainian dishes, such as borsch, varenyky, and holubtsi. Visitors should also try the local beer, which is brewed using traditional methods and has a unique flavor. For those with a sweet tooth, the city’s bakeries offer a variety of delicious pastries and cakes.

Dubno may not be as well-known as some of its neighbors, but it is a hidden gem that should not be missed. With its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious cuisine, Dubno is the perfect destination for travelers looking to explore the off-the-beaten-path attractions of Ukraine. Come and uncover the many treasures of Dubno for yourself!

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