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Olyka

Olyka is a small town (population 3.8 thousand) situated at the intersection of the roads running from Rivne, Dubno and Lutsk. The first thing that may surprise you is the quality of the road leading to the settlement. Almost the whole length it is paved with stone blocks of good quality. They say that by order of one of the Radziwills the villagers had to work several days on building the road with their own cartage. Lords disappeared in Olyka long ago, but the road has been serving people so far. On entering the settlement you will see the remains of Lutsk gate (first half of the 17 th cent.) built by Albrecht Radziwill.

First written reference to this old Ukrainian settlement in Hypatian chronicle dates back to 1149. The first owner of Olyka was a certain Lenko Zarubych (1433). His successor, voevode Petro Yanovych Montygerdovych built in 1450 the Roman Catholic Church of SS. Peter and Paul, the oldest temple in the terrains of present-day Volhynia. After the death of his son Jan in 1500, Olyka became the property of his daughter Hanna, and later on of his granddaughter, Hanna of Kishkiv, who married Jan Radziwill Bearded in 1513. Eventually the estate was handed down to her son Mykola Radziwill Black. This family possessed the castle and the neighboring terrains until 1939. Most of the town’s historical relics are located near the square, formerly a market place. The main of them are the remains of the palace (1564, founded by M.Radziwill Black, arch. J.Frankeystein) situated on the hill over a picturesque lake. Four outside bastions were fortified by earthen walls, and surrounded by a ditch that could be filled with water. Behind the bastions there is a quadrangular yard encircled by two-storied palaces and a tower with gates. The bastions were built in 1640 by order of Albrecht Radziwill.

It was attacked more than once by the Tatar, Cossack, and Turkish detachments. This fact notwithstanding, the cannons and the garrison managed to defend the owners of the huge latifundium covering 750 square kilometers. The last major reconstruction of the castle was carried out by architect J. Knazkfus on demand of Michael Radziwill in 1741-1760. During Napoleonic wars the Russians converted it into a military hospital. This tradition was continued by Soviet power, which turned it into a psychiatric hospital that has been working hitherto. In spite of all catastrophic ruinations and the depressive atmosphere of hospital, it is actually the only castle in Volhynia that has been preserved as a single architectural complex. It is rumored that the castle had an underground passage leading to the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity (1635—1640, arch. B-Molleqo and G. Maliverno). The sanctuary was founded by Albrecht Radziwill. Some researchers consider that its baroque facade has much in common with that of the temple II Jez in Rome. In the past the temple was richly adorned with stuccowork and sculptures by the master of Wroclaw, M. Erlenberg, an apprentice of the famous master of Lviv, J. Pfister. Unfortunately, the grandeur of the church remained in the past. On the facade you can identify the composition “Coronation of the Virgin” and an originally treated figure of God the Father. During World War I Russian soldiers stripped off the copper roof of the church. The rest was annihilated by Soviet power. The towers had clocks. Under the church there are the remains of crypts. Unfortunately, nothing is known as to what happened with the tombs of the magnate’s family. The local students of local lore remember that robbery and profanation of the remains continued until 1997, when the sanctuary was handed over to the Roman Catholic Church.

Behind the bell tower, in the territory of a private farm-yard, there is the smal Roman Catholic Church of SS. Peter and Paul. This sanctuary was built in 1450 by Petro Montyherdovych. In 1612, after reconstruction, it was the family temple of the Radziwills until the collegiate church was built.

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