UKRDOUG Castle Tours - Oles'ko Castle
How Geocaching Works
Use of geocaching.com services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer
Castle is closed on Mondays.
Built in antiquity as a defensive structure on a 50-meter hill surrounded by a moat surrounded by a swamp, the Oles’ko Castle was first mentioned in a papal document of 1327 when Pope Boniface IX gave the castle to the local Galician bishop. Situated on the moving borders between Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and the Muslim Tartars, it was the site of many battles that took their toll on the castle.
By the 15th century, the castle lost its defensive purpose and became the home of many aristocratic families starting with the powerful Lithuanian Radzivills. In 1605, the rich landowner Ivan Danylovych purchased the castle and ruled the then Polish region of Ruthenia from within its walls. Mykhailo Khmelnitsky, the father of the famous Ukrainian Cossack leader Bogdan Khmelnitsky, lived in Oles’ko Castle while serving Danylovych. Bogdan would later lead the Cossacks in rebellion against the Poles and briefly achieve independence for Ukraine.
Two Polish kings were born within the walls of Oles’ko Castle. The first was the inept Michael Korybut Wisniowiecki who was elected king in 1669. During his brief 5-year reign the Turks defeated his army and Podilya (The Fields) was lost. (My wife, Marina, was born in Podilya in the little village of Kremmenchuky). The second king born in the castle was Jan III Sobieski, who would succeed Wisniowiecki. Sobieski, the grandson of Ivan Danylovych, proved to be one of the most famous Kings of Poland. He was the hero of the Battle of Vienna that was a turning point in European history. Had that battle been lost, Europe would have fallen under Islam.
Jan Sobieski saw his first battle when he was only 19 and fought in the Battle of Berestechko against Bogdan Khmelnitsky who was finally defeated when his Tartar allies betrayed him. The Tartars also captured Sobieski and briefly imprisoned him until he was released to become the Polish ambassador in Constantinople. He returned to his Oles’ko Castle and quickly rose up in the ranks of the military and led the Poles to victory over the Turks in a battle near Khotyn in 1673. He was elected King of Poland the following year. After his 76,000 troops defeated a Turkish army twice the size at the Battle of Vienna in 1683, he would sign a peace treaty with the three major neighbor powers – Turkey, France and Sweden. With his tenure ending in peace, he returned to his native land and purchased back Oles’ko Castle from his son-in-law who was in great debt. His beloved wife restored the room of his birth and they vacationed in the castle each summer. His last visit to Ruthenia was in 1694, but he was unable to visit the home of his birth because the Tartars then occupied it.
An earthquake in 1838 would leave the castle virtually abandoned over the next 150 years. Both World Wars added to its destruction that would reach its worst after a lightning strike in 1956. The castle was restored in 1985 and now houses a museum featuring furniture and art dating from the 16th-17th Centuries. The Soviets added the statue outside the walls during the reconstruction.
There is an entrance fee of 20 UAH for adults and 5 UAH for children.
Loading Cache Logs...
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum