Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Olesko castle

Olesko castle is oldest preserved castle on the territory of Western Ukraine (Galicia) and the only fortress of Kiev Rus period. It raises above a wonderful park on a 50 meters natural hill near the town Olesko, Lviv region. This monument of architecture has oval form, its walls are 10 meters high and 2.5 meters wide.

The castle was built in XIII century on the crossroads of old trade routes from Hungary to Volyn. The first time it was mentioned in 1327, in 1390 it was given to Galician catholic archbishop by the Pope Bonifacius IX. From XV to XVII century it was attacked many times by Tatars. During one of these attacks in 1629 Jan III Sobieski, the king of Poland that saved Europe from Turks, was born here. In 1640 another polish king, Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki was born here as well.

Now museum-preserve "Olesko Castle" lies on the territory of 130000 square meters. Besides the castle tourists can see here masterpieces from Lviv art gallery, the biggest collection of wooden sculptures of XIV-XIX centuries, stone sculptures, fountains, and Jan, a ghost of monk. By the legend, he visited women of pleasure and was walled up alive. Some locals state that they saw his shadow near the castle. If you are not lucky to see the ghost, you can surely eat some good food cooked by old recipes in the Middle Age style restaurant.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Vilkovo, or so-called "Ukrainian Venice", is the last settlement on the bank of Danube, where the river flows into the Black Sea. It is called so, because narrow canals along the streets cross through the length and breadth of the town. Vilkovo is also an administrative center of Ukrainian Danube biosphere reserve which is included to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The town was founded in 1746 by Raskolniks that escaped the persecution of reformed Orthodox church and by Cossacks from Don and defeated Zaporizhian Sich, i.e. refugees from Russian Empire that didn't want to serve Moscow Tsar. These people of different religious confessions dug the canals and built houses on mounds from the ground of these canals protecting the houses from floods.

The population is about 10 thousand people, most of them are in fishing business and a boat there is much more common vehicle than a car. There are three churches in Vilkovo: two of them are named after st. Nicholas who is known as protector of sailors. One of st. Nicholas churches that belongs to Old Believers is built in the form of a ship that means that church is a ship which sails over rough seas of life.

Monday, March 5, 2007


Uman State Dendrology park 'Sophievka' is a world masterpiece of landscape architecture of XVIII - XIX centuries side by side with such treasures of European art as Versailles (France), Balbi Garden in Florence (Italy) and San-Susi Park in Potsdam (Germany). It is a fine piece of harmonious space composition of water, land, constructions and sculptures. The park lies on the territory of 15470000 square meters on the periphery of Uman in Cherkasy region.

The park was founded in 1796 by a rich Polish magnate Stanislaw Pototski in the name of his wife Sophia. It was her idea to create the park in a romantic style of Roman and Greek mythology. 800 people from villages that belonged to Pototski worked in the park daily for several years and in 1802 it was given to Sophia as a gift to her birthday.

Now Sophievka is the biggest environmental, scientific and cultural center that preserves natural-historical landscapes of Ukraine and thousands of its unique plants. Amazing views, exotic plants, antique sculptures, ponds, cascades, fountains, rock-works and many other sites arouse visitors' admiration for more than 200 years.