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.

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