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Zolochiv

The castle in ZOLOCHIV originates from an old Rus’fortress, which had existed in this place before and was burnt down by the Tatars. The city and the castle are situated at the intersection of an important trade route. First written reference to Zolochiv dates from 1442.

In 1523 the city obtained Magdeburg Law. At that time it had a large Armenian community. In 1532 the owner of the city, Stanislaw Seninski sold the city to Poznah nobleman Andriy Gurkov. After him the city and fortress passed on to Jakob Sobieski. The latter began to actively improve the defensive system of the castle, for­tifying it with four bulwarks. Every defensive wall was more than a hundred meters long and eleven meters high.

The ditch surround­ing the castle was not filled with water, but it was rather deep, and piles were driven into its bottom. Ramparts before the walls were made in such a way that in case of an enemy attack, cannon-balls hit the earth embankments, leaving the walls undamaged. In the 19 th century the bulwarks already looked like decorative struc­tures. On each of the towers there were stone plates with the coat of arms of Janin, Godzava, Ravich and Gerburt, and with the letters J.S.K.K.S.K (Jakob Sobieski, Krajczy Koronny, Starosta Krasnostaw-ski). Formerly the gates had a clock and a drawbridge.

Under the main gates started a secret underground passage, which made it possible to leave the castle imperceptibly during a siege. In the yard the Renaissance premises of the royal palace  and the so-called Chinese palace have survived from olden times. In 1672 the Turkish troops seized the castle and ruined it. When it returned to Polish state, captive Turks restored the castle.

After the death of Jan III, Prince Jakiv sometimes put up at Zolochiv castle. After Jakiv the castle together with other manors passed on to the Radzivills family, with time falling into decay. In 1802 the landlords Komarnytsky bought Zolochiv and converted the structures into living quarters. In 1840 they sold the fortress to Austrian government, which used it as military barracks. From 1872 the castle was used as a prison. The darkest times came in 1939, when Soviet power organized in the palace NKVD torture chamber. Before June 1941 “Soviets” had time to torture to death hundreds of local residents.

The castle’s acquisition is the recently renovated “Chinese palace.” Its construction was linked with the fashion predominating among the local gentry. Today some exhibits from the oriental collection of Lviv Art Gallery are put on display there.

Formerly the way between Zolochiv and Pidhirtsi was full of mystery and almost impassable. The reason for this can be easily noticed near the village of Sasiv. The huge antennas of space navigation, which formerly composed a single network of the defensive system of the USSR, and which is not functioning today, still produce a tremendous impression.

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