Ukraine has more than 50 castles and fortresses. The biggest part of them is worth visiting. Some of them, such as Akkerman Fortress near Odessa, Kam’yanets – Podilsky castle, Hotyn became the place for many international festivals and tournaments. Travelers from all over the World are coming to Ukraine to visit museums at Medzhybizh, Palanok, Dubno castle and many others, which definitely are not a waste of time.
The castles, as well as fortresses, are the perfect venues for incentive activities, corporate events and, of course, gala dinners.
The most popular tourist itinerary includes visits to Olesko, Zolochiv and Pidhirtsi – the small villages famous for their amazing castles. These castles are different – the powerful defensive building of Olesko Castle, the beautiful palace with slender towers and shining mosaic in Zolochiv and mysterious castle from Renaissance with bastion fortifications in Pidhirtsi.
FULL DAY TRIP OLESKO – ZOLOCHIV – PIRGIRTSI CASTLES.
There are hardly any castles in the world that went through such roller coaster transformations – from a royal residence to a hospital, vocational school for farming machinery mechanics, ghost-haunted ruins, museums, crumbling structures in perpetual state of restoration where cows and goats graze on once well-kept lawns.
Olesko Castle is an outstanding architectural and historic monument from the 13th – 18th centuries, once a strong fortress of Old Rus in the 14th century.
Later in the 15th – 16th century Olesko Castle was turned into a palace for aristocracy and remodeled in the Italian Renaissance style in the 1620s. The famous Polish king Jan III Sobieski was born there in 1629. The king often lived in Olesko Castle and collected numerous art works. Afterwards the castle belonged to the Rzewuski family.
After restoration in 1965-1975 Olesko Castle became a museum. Hundreds of unique paintings, sculptures and applied arts can be seen in the museum.
Among them are icons, portraits, still-lives, the monumental picture of the Battle of Vienna, old furniture and wooden sculptures. In the Olesko Castle basement there is a well which also served as an escape passage for the besieged.
A nice park with some modern sculptures surrounds Olesko Castle.
Pidhirtsi Castle is a unique architectural monument in the late Renaissance style dating back to 1635-1640. It belonged to the aristocratic Rzewuski family, was not intended as a defense structure and should be more accurately called a palace.
Pidhirtsi Castle is surrounded by a moat and includes a Baroque church of St. Joseph (1752-1766). It has a wall with a heavy gate and a park with old trees.
Pidhirtsi Castle has been under restoration after years when it was used as a Soviet hospital. It may take many years before it regains its pervious glory.
However visitors are admitted and have to use their imagination when looking at once grand interiors. Visitors to Pidhirtsi Castle will be invited to take a short walk to see a beautiful wooden church of St. Michael from 1720.
Zolochiv Castle was built as a citadel with bastions in the 1630s. In the 17th – 18th centuries the castle belonged to the rich Polish families of Sobieski and Radziwill. In the days of Austro-Hungarian empire, Zolochiv Castle was turned into a prison and later became a grim prison under Stalin. A memorial and an exhibition to commemorate those who perished here can now be seen in the castle as well as a chapel outside the castle walls.
Inside Zolochiv Castle visitors could see a newly restored Chinese palace built to follow European fashion for Chinese art in late 17th century. To the right, there is a larger residential palace undergoing restoration. From the bastions, one could see surrounding countryside and the town of Zolochiv. Tourists would be taken to the old magic stone in the castle courtyard. It has engraved inscriptions in the unknown language and a hole in the middle that will help fulfill your wishes if you put your finger there and turn.