For the first time Khmelnik was mentioned in 1362. Chroniclers say that prince Olgerd defeated the Tatar horde and occupied the small town of Khmelnik.
It was situated in 6km from the Black Way (Chorniy Shliah), the main road of the Steppe for centuries. The enemies used the road to attack, to fight Ukraine and other border-lands, destroying everything and capturing the population.
That’s why the strategic importance of the Khmelnik’s fortress is great. It was built in the second half of the XVth century and soon became the north-eastern “gate of Podillia”.
The fortress and the castle were fortificated at the beginning of the next century, in the last time of prince Vitovt. Lithuanian-Russian Army on the Vorskla in 1399 was defeated and prince Vitovt lost his territories near the Black Sea. So the borders moved to the territory of Podillia. That’s why Vitovt was interested in building of a fortress and their reconstruction and strengthening.
In the years of fight for the Lithuanian Great-Prince throne between Svidrigaylo and Sigizmund the town of Khmelnik became the property of prince Fedir Koribut Nesvitskiy, the ally of Svidrigaylo. But in 1434 Khmelnik’s castle became Polish as prince Nesvitskiy swore to Polish King. At that time it became the center of Khmelnik’s Head’s territories included 28 villages and the town of Ulaniv. Lithuanians continued to think of Khmelnik as their town. But no price did anything to have it back.
Much changed in Khmelnik at the beginning of the XVIth century. In 1534 the great crown hetman Jan Tarnovskiy surrounded the town with a stony wall with towers. The moat between the South Bug and the Pastushka made the newly rebuilt fortress like an island. At the beginning of the XVIth century Tatars attacked the castle many times. In 1500 the army headed by Khan Mengli-Girei’s sons came up to the walls of Khmelnik. The same was in 1524, 1534, 1584.
The town fought. Among its defenders there were Heads from the families of the Lantskoronskis, Yazlovetskis, Ossolinskis and Struses .
In 1594 Khmelnik was occupied by the Cossacks of Severin Nalivayko. The castle played an important role duting the years of Cossacks’ risings and Liberation War of the middle of the XVIIth century.
In 1659 there was hetman Ivan Vigovskiy’s residence there. In 1672 Khmelnik was occupied by the army of sultan Magomet IV. During the period of their management Turks fortificated the castle and built a mosque - an eight-sided building with 1,5m high walls. They made underground passages between the castle and the mosque.
At the beginning of the XVIIIth century the castle and the fortress fell into decay and later they didn’t play an important role. In 1768 the Russian army of the general Krechetnikov defeated Bar confederates near Khmelnik. Nowadays the castle is partly survived; at the beginning of the XXth century it was rebuilt and now it is a mixture of several styles.