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Zbarazh Castle

There is a castle located in the heart of an ancient city of Zbarazh on the Castle hill, surrounded by shady trees of the city park, whose rich history attracts here all lovers of antiques and visiting tourists like a magnet. Massive bastions of Zbarazh castle, its high earthen ramparts and wide ditches were repeatedly helping the castle to survive the total destruction during the numerous battles that broke out under its walls in the 17th century. In this stronghold, known as one of the most well-fortified fortresses in the Volhynia region, the Polish-Lithuanian forces were able to repel the attacks of the Zaporozhian Cossacks during the famous Battle of Zbarazh for a few weeks.

The History of Zbarazh Castle

Zbarazh, an ancient city of the principality of Galicia-Volhynia, was located a few kilometers from modern Zbarazh, and namely there the construction of the predecessors of the castle had taken place since the 12th century before it gained its modern look. Constant Mongol and Tatar raids left no chance to the wooden castle, which was built during the reign of the Polish Prince Leszek the White - the hordes of Batu Khan destroyed the ancient settlement and the castle in 1219. In the late 14th century, Prince Koribut Olgerdovich of the Gediminids dynasty made a new attempt to create a castle in Zbarazh, which was made of stone this time, but this castle was not destined to exist for a long time.

In 1435, Prince Fedor Nesvitskiy was given the right of hereditary possession of Zbarazh, so his descendants changed their surname to Zbaraski. Under the Zbaraski princes the stone castle gained fortress walls and it was the only protection of citizens from the Tatar raids. But in 1474 the horde of Aydora Khan almost destroyed the castle to the ground in revenge to brave inhabitants who had chosen to perish in flames of the fire rather than surrender the castle to the enemy. Later on, Zbarazh castle was rebuilt and it was again exposed to devastating raids of the Tatars; in the second half of the 16th century, the castle was attacked at least eight times, until it was turned into total ruins along with the settlement in 1598. The construction of New Castle was shifted to a new location to the east of the Old Castle. There Prince Janusz Zbaraski decided to move his residence around which the city soon arose that is now called Zbarazh. Sons of Janusz, Krzysztof and Jerzy Zbaraski, continued their father's work, although New Castle was finally completed only under princes of Wiśniowiecki in the second half of the 17th century. So, the first pages of the history of New Zbarazh Castle were written in 1602, when Krzysztof Zbaraski, who was studying in Italy, ordered a famous architect Vincenzo Scamozzi to create a project of the castle. (More)

Places of Interest

Restoration works and rehabilitation of historic interiors in the castle are not terminated, but nevertheless the bulk of its facilities is open to the public. Diverse expositions and temporary exhibitions are located in the halls of the palace buildings and dungeons, and there are more than 11 thousand exhibits inside of them. In the gate tower on the second floor you can see the numismatic collection and the collection of antiques: mirrors in openwork frames, antique cabinets, tables and chairs, astonishing with exquisite carvings and inlays. Tourists get into a spacious hall through the main entrance of the palace. There they meet with a portrait gallery of Wiśniowiecki and Potocki family and other historical figures that had direct relevance to the existence of the Zbarazh Castle.

There is a miniature copy of Zbarazh castle on the second floor of the palace, which allows you to imagine how wide ditches were and how powerful fortress walls were in the age of its power. A sacred collection of the museum is also presented on this floor, which peacefully contains devotional articles of several religions, early printed books, as well as elements of the interiors of ancient temples. Casemates, surrounding the castle courtyard from the inside, also became a venue for exhibitions, which are mainly represented by archaeological and ethnographic collections. Exhibition of ancient sculptures, which have not been destroyed in churches and cathedrals of Ternopilshchyna, is the most popular among tourists.

Zbarazh castle is open to the public:

9:00 am - 8:00 pm daily (in winter till 6:00 pm).