three strange stones have been found in Novosilky village (Zolochiv rayon) and transported to the castle. the village used to be the home of a 16 century castle, build by some Hungarian noblemen, descendants of the Knights of Temple Order. One of the stones has inscriptions of the unknown language, which is believed to be of the Templar origin. In preparation to the Pope John II visit to Lviv, a member of the Pope’s team, which visited the castle, identified this as possibly an old Polish, used till the middle of 14 cent.
Still, the castle guides carry a hope that this inscription in of a Templar origin, and once deciphered, would reveal the place where the Order hidden its treasures :)
the Chinese House (Palace), homage to the 17th century fashion, is a hallmark of the castle complex. The exact construction date and the architect of the Chinese Palace are unknown. The over door relief on the rotunda’s second story depict Janina, the Sobieskis’ family coat of arms, and the royal crown. It may therefore be assumed that the palace was built during the reign of Jan Sobieski, most likely on a whim of his wife who wanted Zolochiv to look like a “little Versailles.” There also used to be the Oriental Park laid out around the palace.
at the time when the castle was turned into a prison, the Chinese Palace was utilized for baths and a laundry.
Recently restored, the House hosts the Oriental Art exhibit compiled from ancient artifacts along with recent private donations. Entrance tickets: around 5UAH ($1); photography is not allowed.
The first thing that one notices after entering the castle gate is a line of people waiting to get access to this stone, at the same time watching as others are trying to figure out the best way to do it ;) what do they do? They are trying to make their wish come true :)
Upon closer look, you will see two intersecting crowns carved on the stone, with a hole in the middle. flowery and thorn crowns symbolize life and death respectively. The legend says that any of your wishes will come true if you turn your right thumb around axis. Got a material wish? Turn toward the thorn crown. a romantic one? turn toward the flowery. (a guide said that the stone is extremely popular with local students who inundate the castle before exams :)
The rule of “thumb”: you can only make one wish during the visit. So think twice, but turn just once :)
P.S. wish didn’t come true? Don’t worry. Just come back to the castle and make it again ;)
getting from Zolochiv to Lviv is easy. the bus station is located about 500 m from the castle, at the main street. buses leave every 30 min. it takes about 2 hours to get back to Lviv (depending on the number of requested stops along the way).
a ticket will cost you 4 UAH. (80 cents), the bus will bring you back to different bus station (AC-8) located at the top of a lengthy Luchakivska St. there several marshrutksas which will take you back to the center unless you decide to walk (about 3 km)
getting to Zolochiv from Pidhirtsi castle can be as difficult as from Olesko to Pidhirtsi.so again, the best solution is to ask for a ride at any of the tourist buses that are going from Pidhirtsi (there are plenty of them, with Ukrainian and Polish tourists, coming from Pidhitsi and Zolochiv following the Golden Horse-Shoe route) or hail a car (any car) which goes toward Zolochiv.
I was given a ride by a family, which as myself, were exproring the castles. they didn't take any money (a nice gesture of a traveler to traveler courtesy). should you have to pay, I think 10-15 UAH would be appropriate.