If you have already explored Lviv with its amazing architecture and authentic spirit, it is the right time to expand the horizons! There are plenty of interesting places located not far from Lviv that are totally worth paying a visit. Impressive old Renaissance castles, a perfectly-shaped town and even a sheep farm – vicinage of Lviv offers something attractive and exciting for everyone`s taste.
Zhovkva: a Perfect Town
Small town called Zhovkva, located only 30 km from Lviv, is a gift for any perfectionist. The history of Zhovkva dates back to 1597, when Stanislav Zholkevsky, a Polish Hetman, built a castle in an old village and called it after himself. Impressed by “ideal cities” of Renaissance era, Zholkevsky decided to build his town according to this concept. The essence of the concept lies in a particular location of each architectural object in relation to all the other buildings. Besides unusual planning, Zhovkva also impresses with numerous architectural landmarks. The list of the most interesting sights includes Vicheva square with castle built in 1594, Collegiate Church of St. Lawrence (XVII century), Basilian Fathers Monastery (XVII—XX centuries) and Dominican monastery (XVII—XVIII centuries). Wooden Holy Trinity Church, included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, and synagogue in the Renaissance style also belong to must-see places of Zhovkva. An interesting fact: daily at noon everyone can hear the hymn of Ukraine, played by bells in the town`s hall.
Zhovkva on Google Map
Read: Discovering Lviv Inside Out
“Golden Horseshoe” Route: Lviv Oblast` Castles
“Golden Horseshoe” (“Zolota Pidkova”) is a well-known touristic route, consisting of the most famous castles in Lviv oblast`: Olesko castle, Pidhirtsi castle, Zolochiv castle and Svirzh castle.
Olesko castle, a gorgeous 50-meter high oval building on top of a hill, is located about 75 kilometers from Lviv. In different periods of history, the castle was owned by Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary. In the XV century, the castle turned from a powerful defense point to a luxury getaway for aristocracy. The castle is famous for being the birthplace of the Polish king Jan III Sobieski, the hero of the Battle of Vienna. By the end of XIX century, Olesky castle fell in disrepair and almost turned into ruins. In 1882, the castle became public property. During the Soviet era, Olesky castle served as a women agricultural school, a prison camp and a military depot. Active restoration of the ruined castle began only in 1970s. Today it is a museum, displaying the collections of antique furnishings and art from the XVI-XVII centuries. The visitors are welcome to see beautiful sculptures, paintings, still lives, applied arts, tapestries, period weapons and household items used in everyday life at the time. The collection of Olesko castle is regarded as one of the most significant treasury of Polish art outside of Poland.
Olesko castle on Google Map
Pidhirtsi castle is a residential castle and fortress located in the village of Pidhirtsi 80 kilometers east of Lviv. This building in Renaissance style was constructed by Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan between 1635–1640 by order of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's Grand Crown Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski. Beautiful design of the castle was developed by Italian architect Andrea dell'Aqua. Constructed on the place of the former fortress, the castle has been then part of the Kingdom of Poland, and it is regarded as one of the most valuable palace and garden complexes in the eastern borderlands of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Pidhirtsi castle amazes by massive gates with two columns and elegant Italian garden. Unfortunately, now Pidhirtsi castle is closed for visitors because of restoration process. However, tourists still wish to see it, as this castle’s magnificent beauty makes it worth exploring even if only from the outside.
Pidhirtsi castle on Google Map
Zolochiv castle, a unique historical monument and a bright example of defense architecture of XVII century, is located only 66 kilometers from Lviv. The castle was built in 1634 by Yakub Sobesky, the father of famous Polish king Yan Sobesky. It is a two-story rectangular building that keeps to Renaissance style. Zolochiv castle is surrounded by high and wide earth walls with massive bastilles that helped to observe territory around castle and use guns in the case of need. In the yard of Zolochiv castle, visitors can see a beautiful miniature building called Chinese castle, which was built for Yan Sobesky`s wife. Inside Chinese castle, everyone is welcome to enjoy interesting exposition of Eastern culture museum.
Zolochiv castle on Google Map (address: 4, Ternopilska street, Zolochiv town, Lviv region)
Svirzh castle is a fortified aristocratic residence located in Svirzh village. The castle was originally built by the Świrzski noble family in the XV century. Svirzh castle is both a picturesque medieval building in the Renaissance style and a unique monument of defense architecture. Initially it served as a fortress, but after a restoration in XVII century, the castle acquired traits of a magnates` residence. A small church, constructed in 1546 inside the castle, attracts numerous interested visitors. The castle stood in ruins for many years. It was restored in 1907, but was devastated by fire in 1914. Rebuilding and restoration works in the castle took place on several occasions since.
Svirzh castle on Google Map
Read: 5 Winter Destinations for a Weekend Around Kyiv
“Merinos-Zakhid” Sheep Farm
“Merinos-Zakhid” farm enterprise, located 80 km from Lviv, can boast more than 2000 breeding sheep, living in excellent conditions that correspond to high European standards. The owners have been working in the field of sheep farming for a long time, so they know how to keep their farm clean and well-functioning and, of course, how to take good care of animals. Besides sheep, the farm raises goats of the leading Swiss breeds. “Merinos-Zakhid” produces high-quality lamb meat, milk, cheeses, wool, budge, raw leather. Those who are interested can make arrangement for an excursion to pet ships, to taste delicious own-made cheese and liquors and to see how the farm functions.
“Merinos-Zakhid” farm on Google Map (address: 2a, Mykhailivska street, Pochayevichi village)
Discovering interesting places around Lviv will surely bring you many bright experiences and new knowledge about Ukrainian history.
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