UKRDOUG Castle Tours - Zhovkva Fortress
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I would recommend that you look around the town before getting dirty looking for the cache. You can follow my suggested order or go your own route. The cache is now a micro magnet.
History of Zhovkva
Stanislav Zholkievski founded Zhovkva in 1594 on the site of the 14th-Century Kyivan-Rus village of Vynniky. His wife, Regina, managed the building of the fortress since her husband was gone most of the time at war as Field Crown Hetman of Poland. From 1594-1596 he put down the Cossack uprising of Severyn Nalyvaiko. In 1607 he defeated the rebel nobles who tried to overthrow Polish King Sigismund III Vasa at the Battle of Guzow. His greatest victory came in 1610 when he defeated the Russian forces at the Battle of Klushino and subsequently captured Moscow and dethroned Tsar Vasiliy Shuyskiy. Both in 1612 and 617 he led military campaigns into Moldavia against their Turkish overlords. In the midst of these military victories Zhovkva received Magdeburg Law in 1603.
It was his third campaign in Moldavia against the Turks in 1620 that brought about his death. The Polish-Lithuanian army, with their Cossack and Moldavian allies, met the Ottoman and Tatar forces led by Iskender Pasha on September 10. The Turkish forces surprised the Commonwealth forces and many were taken captive. The Moldavians quickly changed sides and attacked the Polish army as well. By September 19 the Commonwealth leaders realized they had lost and began to prepare for their retreat that took place ten days later. The retreat, under constant attack, was holding until the night of October 6 when the nobles attempted to flee north leaving the army and camp behind. The Turks swooped in and slaughtered the leaderless army. Zholkievski was captured and beheaded. His head was mounted on a pike and sent back to the Sultan. His son, also named Stanislav, was captured and imprisoned by the Turks. The Commonwealth raised a ransom to redeem his head and secure the release of his son. The son died soon afterwards with no heir. The Zhovkva Castle then was passed to the prominent Danylovych family.
Cossack hero Bogdan Khmelnitsky spent his first ten years in Zhovkva (1595-1605). His father, Mykhailo Khmelnitsky, was the sotnik (military secretary) to Zholkievski.
The town of Zhovkva reached its heights at the end of the 17th century when Polish King Jan III Sobieski, the great-grandson of Stanislav Zholkievski, purchased the castle and transformed it into his favorite royal residence.
Between 1706-1707, Zhovkva Fortress was the headquarters of Russian Tsar Peter the Great during his Great Northern War against Sweden. Lithuanian Prince Michal Kazimierz “Rybenko” Radzivill purchased the town and fortress in 1740. Napoleon visited the castle in 1809 when a great festive party was held in his honor. The castle was extensively damaged during the two World Wars.
By the end of the 18th Century until World War II, Jews comprised the majority of the inhabitants. Ukrainians were the second largest ethnic group followed by Polish and German communities.
In 1913, Russian pilot Pyotr Nesterov became the first pilot to fly an airplane in a loop that he demonstrated in Kyiv. The following year he became the first pilot to destroy an enemy aircraft while in flight over the fields of Zhovkva. Airplanes were not equipped with weapons yet so he tried to bring down an Austrian reconnaissance plane with his pistol. That having failed, he performed a loop intending to disable the enemy plane with his landing gear. Unfortunately he hit the aircraft with his propeller and fell to his death. The two Austrians also died in the attack. Zhovkva was soon renamed Nesterov in his honor. In 1991 the city residents voted to return the name to Zhovkva.
Suggested order to tour the town of Zhovkva.
1. Dominican Cathedral.
Across the street from the recommended parking lot is this 17th Century church (1653-1665) built with funds donated by Zofia Teofillia Sobieski, the mother of Polish King Jan III Sobieski.
Today the cathedral is a Greek-Catholic Church. Prior to World War II the church had a miracle-working icon of the Virgin that was moved to Warsaw.
This synagogue was part of the defensive wall of the town built in 1692-1700 with funds provided by Jan III Sobieski. It was burnt down by the Nazis during World War II and is currently being restored.
3. Greek-Catholic Monastery and Heart of Christ Church.
The original church would have been wooden and built in 1612. The brick church began construction in 1682. A fire in 1833 badly damaged the church which was reconstructed in 1906. The interior was decorated in 1930 by the artist Yuri Butsmaniuk.
4. Collegiate Church of St. Vavzhynets the Martyr (St. Lawrence).
This church was built from 1606-1618 on an artificial hill built by Turkish prisoners-of-war. On the roof is a sculpture of the Archangel Michael. To the left of the altar are memorials to Stanislav and Jakub Zholkievski. The defensive tower next to the church is used today as a bell tower and is known affectionately by the residents as the local "Tower of Pisa" due to its inclined position.
Most of the internal artwork was rescued during World War II and can be seen today in the museum at the Olesko Castle. The Soviets closed down the church in 1946 and turned it into a warehouse.
5. Town Hall.
It was built on the reconstructed casemates of the 18th century from 1926-1932. The casemates foundations, basements, and western wall with loopholes were preserved in its construction.
6. Zhovkva Castle
(Visit the town tourist center and souvenir shop up the stairs of the castle wall on the far left. From the wall platform can be seen the best views of Zhovkva).
Construction of the castle began in the early 17th Century. Behind the castle was a zoo which is a park today.
In 1610 Stanislav Zholkievski started his campaign against Moscow from this castle. The outnumbered (1:10) Polish-Lithuanian forces under his command defeated the Russians in the Battle of Klushino, took Moscow, and deposed Tsar Vasiliy Shuisky, briefly detaining him in Zhovkva Castle.
7. Enjoy looking for the cache in the former zoo.
(You may also be interested in visiting two old wooden churches. The first is the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Church which was built in 1705 and has a surrounding cemetery. Just go through the Krakow Gate and turn right down the first road. Take this until near the coordinates where there will be a small bridge that will allow you to cross the river to the cemetery.)
The second is Holy Trinity Church which is located as you enter the town coming from Lviv. This church was built in 1720 and is still functioning. Inside is preserved one of the best iconostasis of the early 18th Century.
Lbh pna npprff gur pnpur jvgubhg tbvat haqre gur oevqtr.