Stone Monastery near Rozgirche Village
Rozgirche village is located 90 km away from Lviv on the bank of Striy River. Not far from this village, right near the forest, tourists can find an old stone monastery. The first mentionings of this monastery date back to the XV century when the temple of Basilian monks was situated here in the stone cells. The complex consists of three caves with entrances, cavate windows and stairs. The monks who used to live here adhered to vow of silence. They made a living by selling honey from their own apiary. In the Pre-Christian times, these caves were used as a Pagan chapel. The remains of an ancient settlement of the VIII century BC were found around these rocks. Besides, on the hills above the stone monastery tourists still can see the earth walls of the defense settlement of the XVI-XVII century.
Old Castle in Stare Selo Village
In Stare Selo village, located 22 km from Lviv, we can see giant walls that seem to come from a Medieval fairy tale. This fortress that embraces 2 hectares is one of the largest castles in Ukraine. The fortress in Stare Selo can also be called one of the most powerful defensive structures in Lviv oblast because it has survived many attacks of the enemies in the different historical periods. Ukrainian and Polish scientists are still not sure where exactly the castle has been built. Some of them think that is was constructed in the end of the XVI century by the order of duke Kostayntyn Ostrogski, while other have an opinion that it was built in the middle of the XVII century by Dominik Zasławski. The height of the original castle walls was 8 m, the width was 2 m, and the towers were 14-16 m high. The castle had a shape of an irregular pentagon. The defense capacity of the fortress was increased by ditches, earth walls and bog around.
Castles of the Golden Shoe Route
Photo: Pidhirtsi castle
“The Golden Horseshoe” is a route that consists of the most famous castles of Lviv oblast in Ukraine. It is very well-known Ukrainian attraction for tourists. The route includes Olesko, Pidhirtsi, Zolochiv castles and sometimes also Svyrzh fortress. The route starts with the magnificent fortress in Olesko village built in the XIV century. Here the famous kings of Poland were born, particularly Jan III Sobieski and Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki. Oval-shaped Olesko castle is situated on the natural hill with height around 50 meters. In the XVII century, the castle was surrounded by a gorgeous park with rich flora that included rare and untypical for local climate plants such as citruses, cypresses and oleanders. The castle owners, king Jan Sobieski and Volynia military governor Seweryn Rzewuski, have decorated the park with beautiful sculptures and fountains. Nowadays, Olesko castle museum embraces 13 hectares. Since 1970s, the park has been continuously renovated. The purpose is to make the park look like in the old times. Here the visitors can enjoy the old narrow alleys and fruit garden. On one of the terraces, tourists can see a collection of stone sculptures. Since 1975, the exposition of Lviv Art Gallery functions in Olesko castle. It includes art objects from the XIII—XIX centuries: paintings, sculptures and icons.
Then the route proceeds to the castle in Pidhirtsi village – a perfect unity of Renaissance palace and defensive fortification. It was designed by the Italian architect Andrea del Aqua in the XVII century.
After that, the tourists go to Zolochiv castle of the XVII century. In different years, this gorgeous building was used as a fortress, a palace, a royal residence, a farmstead, a school and even a prison. In the yard of Zolochiv castle, guests can find a lovely Chinese castle built by Jan III Sobieski for his beloved wife.
The last destination in Svyrzh village is an impressive castle constructed in the XVI century. It has survived attacks of Tatars, Turks, Cossacks and even a fire. Visitors can still see the remains of the previous castle owners` emblem on the castle`s entrance. First, the castle had been built as a fortress, but after reconstruction in the XVII century, it lost its original view. On the castle territory, guests can find the cathedral founded in the XV century. Modern building of the cathedral in the Renaissance style was constructed on the place of the old wooden building in 1541. There was an underground passage from castle to cathedral. Svyrzh castle, located on a small picturesque hill, is surrounded by beautiful nature. There is a picturesque lake near the castle – a great location to take lovely pictures.
Zhovkva: a Perfect City
Zhovkva city in Lviv region was built in 1594 by the hetman Zholkevsky. It has been planned according to the concept of Renaissance “perfect cities” that means that each architectural object in the city has a particular location in the relation to other objects. Zhovkva can boast many notable historical and architectural landmarks such as Vicheva square with the castle constructed in 1594, St. Lawrence Cathedral of the XVII century, Basilian monastery, Dominican monastery, two old beautiful wooden churches in the suburbs, the synagogue designed in the style of Renaissance and many other.
Zhovkva castle, a historical monument of the Renaissance epoch, is worth special attention. In the XVII century, king Jan III turned it into one of the most fascinating palaces in Europe and made it his summer residence. This palace was visited by Ivan Mazepa and the emperor Piotr I.
Tustan Fortress near Urych Village
Tustan fortress, located near Urych village, is the remains of an old Rus defensive complex on the rocks. Nowadays, it is a part of the similarly named historical and cultural reserve. Tustan fortress is also an interesting geological monument. The scientists think that this fortification complex has been founded in the ІХ century by White Croats tribes. Tustan fortress was a defense and custom station on the Salt Way – the road that was used for delivering salt from Galicia to the countries of Central Europe. Later, the fortress became a custom point on the border between Principality of Galicia–Volhynia and Hungary. In the XVIII century, the old fortress began to attract interest of tourists, ethnographers and historians. Remains of wooden structures of the IX-XIII centuries that had been found here became a sensational archaeological discovery and made Tustan fortress one of the most outstanding landmarks in Ukraine and even Europe.
In the old times, Belz was the capital of Galicia principality and the capital of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth province. This city is even mentioned in “Tale of Bygone Years” – one of the most important chronicles of Kyiv Rus. In 2001, the historical and cultural reserve “Princely Belz” was founded here. The reserve unites the old architectural landmarks of the city including many religious buildings: St. Nicholas Cathedral, wooden church of St. Parascheva with a bell-tower, Arian tower of 1606, the synagogue, old Catholic and Jewish cemeteries. Tourists also appreciate beautiful Rynok square where they can visit the Museum of Belz history.
Interesting places around Lviv welcome you for a lovely weekend.
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