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Zbarazh

It is assumed that the name of ZBARAZH is derived from the fact that it was the place for assembling troops. In the 9 th-12 th centuries the Slavonic tribes of dulibs inhabited this area. First written reference to the city over the Hnizna River dates from 1211. In 1241 it was ruined by the Mongol-Tatars. In 1393 the fortress was rebuilt. Its first owners were Fedko Nesvitsky (1434) and his sonVasyl (1463). The latter was the first to style himself as prince of Zbarazh. In 1589 the Tatars again ruined the castle and the fortress.

Present-day castle (28 B. Khmelnytsky St.) is located on top of the hill over the waterlogged valley of the Hnizna River. From 1612 through 1631 the brothers Christopher and Yuriy Zbarazhski took charge of its construction. They invited the architect Vincenco Skamocci, but it is supposed that the main work was carried out by the Netherlander Henry Van Peen.  The palace was built in I612-1627as “palazzoinforteca.” ln 1631, after Yu. Zbarazhski’s death, Yarema Vyshnevetsky became the owner of the fortress. The magnate converted it into an impregnable fortress, encircling it with 23 m.-wide earthen ramparts, adding casemates with underground passages, and increasing the number of cannons. The castle well is more than 70 meters deep. After the battle of Pyliavtsi, unfortunate for the Poles, the castle belonged for a short time to the Cossacks, and in 1649 a grandiose battle took place by its walls. The fortress was surrounded by a 100-thousand-strong Cossack and Turkish army. During the defense that lasted six weeks the Poles made an active use of the underground vaults and passages. The castle withstood, waiting for assistance from King Jan II Casimir. In 1675 the Turkish army under the command of Ibrahim Shishman seized and ruined the fortress. The ensuing destructions took place in 1717 and 1734 as a result of onslaughts of the Russian troops. In the mid-17 th century the castle passed over to the Potocki family, and in 1840 a sugar-refinery was set up in its territory. Reconstructions for the needs of production destroyed its architectural integrity. The fire of 1896 completed destruction. It was later, after years of desolation, that the fortress was made a museum, and its reconstruction began.

The Roman-Catholic Church of St. Anthony and the adjacent Monastery of Bernardine Fathers (8 Nezalezhnosti St.) are also of certain interest in Zbarazh. In 1627 Yuriy Zbarazhski invited monks to Zbarazh. In 1675 the old Roman-Catholic church was destroyed by the Turkish army. Present-day structure is the result of reconstruction of 1723, which was financed by the Kyiv voevode J. Potocki. In Soviet times the temple was occupied by a military and medical establishment, which resulted in its almost complete destruction. From the 1990 s an intensive reconstruction of the sanctuary has been carried on.

Among the city’s landmarks there are also the Church of the Transfiguration (5 Hrushevsky St.) and the Greek-Catholic Assumption Church (1 A. Chekhov St.). At the intersection of M.Hrushevsky and Sholom-Aleikhem streets survive the remains of a synagogue (1537) and kirkut.

The Zbarazh Museum of Local Lore is located at the address: c.Zbarazh, 18 B. Khmelnytsky St., tel.: (03550) 23015.

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