Olesko Castle is probably the most famous castle of Lviv region, restored from a complete ruin. It has been a witness of the history of the region for more than six centuries. The castle was first mentioned in manuscripts in 1327. Its location on the border of Lithuania and Poland resulted in a constant struggle for it and a frequent change of ownership. Olesko castle is well known not only in Ukrainian but also in Polish history because of the fact that King of Poland Jan III Sobieski was born there. During his reign the castle received the status of a royal residence.
In its subsequent history Olesko castle repeatedly suffered from destruction. The active restoration of the castle began only in the 70s of the last century. Nowadays it belongs to Lviv Art Gallery and the castle is considered as its department. Its exhibition includes more than 1500 items, such as the unique icon collection from 15th–18th centuries, the biggest wood sculpture collection of 14th–19th centuries, including Pinsel’s works, tapestries and furniture collection and paintings.
Pidhirtsi Castle is one of the best European examples of Renaissance palace bastion fortifications. The palace is often called the ‘‘Polish Versailles’’. The stone castle was founded in 1635 by Crown Hetman Stanislaw Konetspolskiy at the place of the old fortifications belonging to the Pidhoretski family. The park of Pidhirtsi belongs to the monuments of a landscape art of national importance. The castle itself was designed by a famous architect Guillaume Levasseur de Beauplan in the middle of 16th century. The function of the castle is noted in a Latin inscription at the entrance to it: ‘‘Victory is the crown of martial efforts. Victory is triumph. Triumph is rest’’. It is for the rest of the crown hetman the castle in Pidhirtsy was built. Many of the the European monarchs had been to the castle. Polish King Wladyslaw IV and Jan III Sobieski, the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, the German Kaiser Wilhelm were among them. In 1940 the State Museum was founded in the castle, the collection of which was robbed by Nazis. After the war, the structure of the castle was under the disposal the Ministry of Health, and was turned into a tuberculosis hospital afterwards while the remaining works of art were given to the Lviv Art Gallery. Today there is a museum in the castle and restoration work is carried out there.
Zolochiv Castle is one of the most important monuments of defense architecture on the territory of Galicia. In 1634-1636 it was built by James Sobieski, who was father to John Sobieski – the Polish King. In 1686 by order of King Jan III Sobieski the castle was renovated and decorated with works of art. Thus, a beautiful Renaissance ensemble of the castle is created by the Entrance Tower, the Chinese palace as well as the large palace residence building. During the centuries the castle has served as a fortress, a royal residence and even as a jail and an educational institution.
Castles around Lviv Nevertheless, the castle has remained without substantial losses until today. At the courtyard of Zolochiv Castle the Grand Palace there is an exposition of the seventeenth century interiors and historical halls. The fad of the eighteenth century – the Chinese Palace which is one of the few examples of oriental architecture on
Ukrainian land is also preserved perfectly. Today, the exhibition of oriental culture (art of Japan, China , India, Egypt) is situated there.
The architectural style of the castle built in 1594- 1606 is the interweaving of the Renaissance and Baroque styles. King Jan III Sobieski liked Zhovkva Castle a lot and the building of the castle therefore served as the residence of King Jan. In 1648 the castle was attacked by Cossacks, but after a large ransom the building remained intact. In 1655, when the attack was repeated, Zhovkva Castle was captured again. At the beginning of the 18th century the castle served as the residence for King Peter I, also visited by Ukrainian Cossacs Hetman Ivan Mazepa. Today, at least half of the Zhovkva Castle building needs restoration. The other half of the building is operated as a department of Lviv Art Gallery.
The early references about the castle are mentioned in the archives of 1530, when it belonged to noble family of Svirzhsky. But the current look of the castle started to form in the middle of 17th century, since the ownership of Count Alexander Tsetnera. It is believed that the strengthening Svirzh castle was conducted by a famous fortress architect, general of artillery Paul Hrodzytskyy. Despite its prime location for the defense (castle is situated on Mount Belz and was surrounded by impenetrable marshes, ponds, ditches and composite bridge at the foot of the walls) the palace style of its architecture could hardly have a serious defensive value. It is known that during the Ukrainian-Polish War of 1648–1654 the castle was gained by Cossack troops several times and in 1648 it was burned by the Tatars.
Old Village Castle
Old Village Castle is one of the largest castles in Ukraine which covers about 2 acres of area. It can also be called the strongest castle of Lviv, as it faced numerous enemy attacks remained unharmed after battles. The castle was built in 1589. It had suffered from numerous military attacks and remained unharmed but in 1648, when it was attacked by Cossacks it was devastated. The following year the castle was restored. When in 1654 the army of Bohdan Khmelnytsky planned to attack Lviv it didn’t dare to attack the Old Village fortress. In 1672 the Turks attacked castles moving from one to another, but they didn’t manage to get the castle as the fortress was so powerful and strong. By 2015 the castle is to be restored and become a tourist and entertainment center.