Zalishchyky: the Rural Beauty of Ukraine

28.04.17
Zalishchyky: the Rural Beauty of Ukraine

Zalishchyky is a picturesque town located on the Dnister River in the southern part of the Ternopil Region in western Ukraine. It was a thriving resort destination and administrative centre of what was then Poland, prior to the WW2.

People flocked to its beaches and boardwalk, enjoying the area’s wonderful scenery and favorable microclimate – which also happened to be advantageous for fruit and vegetable farming. Its climate is quite mild with grapes, peaches and other fruits growing in the area. It is especially famous for its tomatoes. Since the inter-war era, it has been a centre for the tourist industry. Before the WW2 the town was an important tourist center of Poland, with around 10,000 visitors arriving there annually. It is also one of the few wine growing areas in that part of Ukraine.
Read: The Most Beautiful Ukrainian Small Towns

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Photo: The town of Zalishchyky during its glory years (the beggining of 20th century)
First mentioning of Zalishchyky is traced back to 1340. In 1569 Zalishchyky was assigned to the Podolian Voivodship, an administrative unit of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, to which the town became a seat for their county in 1774. In the middle of the eighteenth century, Silesian cloth weavers settled on the site of a historically older portion of Zalishchyky, at the invitation of Prince Stanisław Poniatowski, and named it Hinterwalden. In 1766, Zalishchyky received the right to self-governance under the Magdeburg Law. Between 1772 and 1918 Zalishchyky was ruled by the Habsburg Monarchy, with the exception of 1809–1815, when it was under control of the Russian Empire.

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Photo: the Roman Catholic church of St. Stanislaus in Zalishchyky
During the 19th century, the area around Zalishchyky was populated primarily by Ukrainian country folk, though the town had a large Polish population as well. Zalishchyky once also had a very substantial Jewish population, which was destroyed during the horrific events of the early 1940s. Today, one can still see the town’s former synagogue – with its exterior largely intact. It was abandoned and converted into a factory or power plant which seems no longer to be functioning.

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Photo: the remains of the old Synagogue in Zalishchyky
Zalishchyky's already prolific reputation in the world of tourism coupled with the luxtorpeda railways revived Zalishchyky's tourist industry, and the town's economy boomed as it slowly became completely oriented to tourist activity. This bloom lasted until 1939 when Germany commenced the Invasion of Poland, igniting World War II and leading Soviet Ukraine, a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, to annex Zalischyky during the Polish September Campaign.

In 1939, after Soviet capture and occupation of Zalischyky, the beaches and orchards were destroyed, the Baroque town hall was demolished, and a monument of Lenin was erected in its spot. The Roman Catholic church of St. Stanislaus was devastated, and turned into a fertilizer storage. In 1941, German forces entered Zalischyky and sent 200 Jews to labor camps that December. 800 Jews were forced to the outskirts, where they were murdered. In 2011, a monument was erected near the execution site (now a sports stadium).

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Zalishchyky contains a 17th-century Roman Catholic church, an 18th-century Town Hall and other monuments. Among most visited tourist sight are Roman Catholic church of St. Stanislaus, founded by Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1763, and completed in 1828., which is currently undergoing the renovation; the Poniatowski Palace, built in the late 18th century, and remodeled in 1831 (it was property of Duke Józef Poniatowski, in the 19th century belonged to the Brunicki family. Its last owners was the Turnau family); the Pilsudski Villa; 19th century Roman Catholic cemetery; the manor house of Jan Kasprowicz, a Polish poet who lived here in 1896–1899.

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Photo: Brunicki family estate in Zalishchyky
Read: Little-known Castles and Monasteries in Ukraine
The spectacular view from the cliffs atop the placid Dnister River, looking down on the town to the north, is well worth the steep climb. Zalishchuky, however far from its former glory, are still considered to be the most beautiful sample of the rural beauty of Ukraine.
Photo source: wikiwand.com, pinterest by Igor Melika. All Images belong tot heir rightful owners. 

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