Town hall is a Renaissance structure in Zhovkva, as castle and other buildings. It was probably built in 17th century. The square around, as in other more significant towns, was used as a marketplace, a place of executions, for greeting of famous people.
Dominican church of St. Josaphat and monastery was built in 1652, it is already a baroque style structure. Church was built by a will of granddaughter of Stanislaw Zolkiewich Teofilia Sobieska. Later she was buried inside.
Nowadays it is under reconstruction. Most things inside was badly damaged, as in Soviet times there was a warehouse. I was happy to see interior, as church restorers unlocked doors for me.
Church was built for Catholic confession, also as a pantheon of Zhovkva former founders and owners Zolkiewski family. It was constructed in 1606 - 1618 in late Rennaisance style.
Nowadays it houses burial places not only of Zolkiewski family, but also some members of Sobieski family. It is quite popular place to visit, especially by Polish people. Pity, that church was closed at day I visited city.
City fortifications was of course, as a part of defensive structures together with a castle. I believe these walls and gates was built also at the same time as castle, around the end of 16th century and 17th century.
Nowadays you still could see some signs of former owners of town on the gates. Also these defensive structures add a feeling the place is medieval, but it is already more new, and used more as residence, but not a heavy stronghold.
Castle is the main sight in this town. It was built in the end of 16th century and very beginning of 17th century by commander Stanislaw Zolkiewski. There was a living place, also stables, arsenal, it had a garden.
It was a residence of John III Sobieski for some time. After Poland - Lithuania Commonwealth partition in 1795 and changing of owners it was damaged brick by brick, also fire harmed it. Nowadays it is partly rebuilt, it is possible to see just inner yard, but it is not rebuild, so that not so worth visiting it.
Basilian monastery was founded in 1682, later it got major reconstruction work after a fire in the end of 17th century. The monastery looks Byzantium style. It was known as a printing house in 1895 - 1946, printed some famous religious works.
In Soviet times an printing activities were stopped and only in 1994 a former action started again.
built in 1655 by Teofilia Sobiewski (mother of Jan III) as a burial place for her son, Mark, who died in Tatar captivity in 1652. (fatal destiny for Zolkiewsky women, but if you think that men of that time were on and off wars, seems like the only logical one). Teofilia is also buried here.
Little has remained of one cathedral's luxury interior decor (currently, it is closed for renovation). before the IIWW, it had a miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary, which was later moved to Warsaw. at the same time, the whole cloister is still very impressive, eluding the tower and defense walls.
In 2001, to get the gas pipe to the nearby school a trench was dug on the territory of the Dominican Closter. As a result, they have discovered the cellar with some church utensils and many (in hundreds) bottles of wine. the utensils were secretly left at the priest house porch. As for wine, it was allegedly passed to militia. anyway, the whole city of Zhovka enjoyed that wine for a while. for those wondering about what kind of wine it was and when and where it was produced - it was 1870 and 1900 white, rose and red, produced in Malaga, Spain ;) some say that couple bottles might have been preserved and are in Zhovkva.
Zolkievski commissioned the castle to the best architect of the time, Pavlo Schaslyvyi (one who planned the whole “ideal city”). The castle has been built to resemble a fortress between 1594-1606 by captive Turks and Tatars, along with Ukrainian kozaks. Money came from Jews, who had to pay 50 zlotykh each for settling in Zhovka.
while getman and other males of Zolkievski family were busy fighting and winning wars(by the way, Stanislaw Zolkievski was one of few who has taken Moscow in 1610 overthrowing the Russian Tsar of the time Mykhailo Shuisky), the castle was build under female supervision, first of getman's wife, Regina, later, of his daughter Sofia and grand-daughter Teofilia).
Zhovka Castle one of few, which had a mint place (opened in 1620). The permission to open the mint place was granted by Polish King to Regina Zolkewki, so she could mint 3 mln golden coins to buy out getman Zolkievski’s head from Turks. Some sources say claim that Ukrainian hero, Bogdan Khmelnytsky was likely to be born here. (His father was in service to Zolkewki)
The castle reached its prosperity peak during the reign of Jan III Sobieski, who celebrated here his victory over Turks in the battle of Vienna in 1683.
From 1700 to 1721, during the Northern war, the Russian Army stayed here. Peter the Great developed his defeat plan while Mazepa wrote his first letters to Karl XII requesting the military alliance.
Before the IIWW the castle’s cellars were used by NKVD to torture people. A commemorative monument to murdered by NKVD has been opened not far from the castles’ gate.
Till 2004, the local court, the secondary school and even private apartments were located in the castle premises. Before the 400 anniversary celebration of Magdeburg Right, they have finally been relocated to other places. the castle’s façade has been renovated, and even a small museum has been open (currently hosts the exhibit of wooden church models ). Some of renovations including the entrance gate have been done by Polish students.
the church is built in 1612, the rest of buildings are built later. it has a very nice and cozy yard where you can take a rest fro couple minute, before you enter the church to enjoy interesting 20 century modern paintings by Buchmaniuk (1930).
St. Lavrentiy (Laurence) Cathedral the burial place for Zolkiewski, Danilowicz and Sobieski (all related to Polish King Jan III Sobieski), thus it's often called a "little Wawel." the head of getman Stanislaw Zolkiewski, the founder of the city, is buried in the cathedral crypt.
it was constricted by Schaslyvyi, together with Pavlo Rymlianyn and Ambrosiy Prykhylny. it had a splendid decor and 4 magnificent battle paintings (the largest in Europe) by Martino Altamonte, commissioned by Jan Sobieski. In Soviet times. when the cathedral was used for storing fertilizers. the paintings have been preserved in Olesko castle. Adjacent to the church is a leaning belfry, nick-named the "leaning Tower of Pisa."
Currently, it's operational and under restoration. the place is a mecca for Polish tourists. they are shown around and allowed to see places like a crypt, so if you come by yourself, just pretend to be one of them ;) also, avoid taking pictures during the service. that can really upset the priest.
in the vacinity of the bus station stands neglected and decaying fortified nine-bay synagogue, a superb example of monumental Renaissance Eastern European Jewish architecture. It was built in 1692-1700 and was partially sponsored by Jan III Sobiesky.
By the late 18-19 centuries Jews made the majority of Zhovkva’s population. It was a typical for Halychna settlement, a shtetl.
The synagogue preserved its Renaissance appearance until World War II. In 1941, Nazis blew it up. The walls survived, but main hall columns, vaulting, and the annexes were ruined and/or completely destroyed. In 1955-1956 and 1992-1993 some partial reconstruction has been conducted.
Despite the effort to attract attention to the current state of this architectural masterpiece (at some point it was put on the World Monument Watch), the building continues to fall apart. The city doesn’t have money to repair it. the Jewish community, which made a half of Zhovka population, is non-existent. The proximity to the local market brings only garbage and destruction.
apparently, there were also several Jewish cemeteries. the one, which I have been pointed out, has been totally destroyed. it's ground is currently used for Sunday markets. the only one grave has been preserved.
there are two wooden churches in Zhovka, one at the entrance to the city (St. Trinity) the second (not easy to find), the Nativity of the Holy Virgin (1705) is not far from the former Jewish cemetery (currently, the Sunday market), across a small river called Svynia (the Pig).
the church has a beautiful wooden iconostasis that dates to (1710-27). Unfortunately, I haven't seen it as it was closed (opened only on Sundays).
adjacent to the castle is the City Hall built in 1932. the earlier one, located in the center of the market square, has been dismantled in 1832 due to its unsafe condition. For 100 years, the mayor and his advisors occupied one of the city houses on Lvivska St.
in 1950ies, on this city hall tower the yellow and blue national flag has been hoisted. This led to introduction of the military state and destruction of the Hlynska Gate.
the town used to have four entrance gates: Lvivska, Zhydivska (Jewish), Hlynska and Zvirynetska. two of them, Lvivska and Zhydivska, have been disassembled in the end of the 18th century during the Austrian rule. most likely Lvivska gate led to Lviv, and Zhydivska - to the Jewish quarter.
the Hlynska Gate have been demolished during in 60ies, during the Soviet time, when Zhovkva was the base of several military units (perhaps due to proximity to the Polish border). some sources say that a tank shot trying to get rid off a National Ukrainian yellow and blue flag that has been mounted on the gate. a native told me that a vehicle with a rocket missiles were trying to get trough. the gate was to small, so they blew it off. anyway, luckily for us, the gate has been reconstructing based on the preserved historical drawings. the knights heads decorating the heads have been brought from Olesko castle.
the other preserved gate - Zvirynetska - used to lead to Zvirynets, a park with domestic and exotic animals (some say it was the hunting place). The place was especially taken care of when it was Sobiesky’s residence. On the painting – Jan III Sobiesky breaks the Vienna siege - the guide pointed out on a Turk killing an ostrich. Apparently, it was one of few animals Jan Sobiesky didn’t have and wanted badly for his Zvirynets :)
This is the only information available. It gives you an overview of all the sights and their appoximate location.