Dubno is an ancient Ukrainian city, which has often been the scene of important historical events. It features several interesting sights, on the basis of which the local historical and cultural reserve was created. A honorable place among the town’s landmarks belongs to Dubno Castle.
The first written record mentioning Dubno dates back to 1100. In the era of a feudal disputes and brutal internal wars that raged all over Kyiv Rus, David Igorevych (the prince of Volodymyr-Volynskiy) tried to seize the power in Principality of Terebovlia by blinding its ruler Prince Vasylko. Other princes of the land condemned the invader and deprived him of his title and possessions at their general assembly, leaving only few towns, including Dubno, for David Igorevych to rule.
In 1492, a castle constructed by Prince Kostiantyn Ivanovych Ostrozkiy appeared in the site of the burned town. The family of Ostrozkiy began with the Prince Sviatopolk Iziaslavych of Kyiv, therefore descending from Rurik dynasty, who were the rulers of Kyiv Rus. For a long time the Ostrozkiy family had been one of the richest and most influential dynasties of the country. Dubno was one of their main residences, and Princes paid much attention to both ensuring the town’s prosperity and fortifying their castle.
Kostiantyn Ivanovych did much to promote the popularity of his dynasty both in higher political circles and among common people. Having become an orphan very early, the Prince was educated at the court of Kasimir, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and managed to gain confidence and favor of the Duke. Kostiantyn Ostrozkiy has distinguished himself in military affairs as well: history records recognize him as winner in more than 60 battles with the Tatars. In such a way, by his own valor and military skill, Kostiantyn Ostrozkiy gained the rank of Great Hetman of Lithuania and received much land; adding it to the lands he had inherited, he became the largest landowner in Volyn. The Prince paid much attention to economic activities: he petitioned to release his towns from state taxes, ordered to build churches, and established orthodoxy in his princedom. Ostrozkiy was also very unassuming and far from luxury in the way of his life.
His son Kostiantyn Kostiantynovych Ostrozkiy has worthily continued the Prince’s initiatives. He went down in history as a true defender of orthodoxy, who maintained it in his lands after the Union of Brest. The Prince also cared about education: he opened schools, and promoted scientists. His main achievement was the establishment of a school in Ostroh, which was the beginning of Ostroh Academy, and of the first printing house in the country where the famous printer Ivan Fedorov worked. The figure of Prince Ostrozkiy stands among other prominent historical figures on the monument to the 1000th anniversary of Russia in Greater Novgorod. In Dubno Castle, Kostiantyn spent the end of his life. In the early 17lh century, when development of artillery began, his successor Ivan Kostiantynovych reconstructed Dubno Castle in the late Renaissance style.
The stronghold received a foundry for cannon production. The defensive power of the castle was ensured by 73 guns. The fortification was conceived meticulously, and despite the continuous wars, the enemy never managed to capture Dubno.
Ivan Kostiantynovych (better known as Janush) Ostrozkiy was the last direct heir of the old dynasty. The Prince was brought up at the court of the German emperor, and chose a Hungarian countess for his wife. Despite the Orthodox tradition of his family, Janush had converted to Catholicism, but did not discriminate the Orthodox population of his large land possessions.
The son of Prince Janush died before his father and the next successor of Ostrozkiy line became the son of Janush’s daughter, Wladyslaw Dominik Zaslawskiy-Ostrozkiy. During the national liberation war of Khmelnytskiy, the Polish army under the command of Wladyslaw Dominik has defeated the Cossacks in the battle of Berestechko. Despite this, the Prince was more known among his contemporaries not for his combat heroism, but for his laziness and effeminacy, and for this reason witty Cossacks nicknamed him Perina (a Ukrainian word for «feather-stuffed mattress»). The male family line of Ostrozkiy and Zaslawskiy ended with Wladyslaw Dominik, and Zaslawskiy’s son-in-law, Prince Lubomirskiy, inherited all their possessions.
The castle is surrounded by a deep moat and stout bastions with casemates. Edges of the bastions are crowned by spectacular observation towers. The over-gate building with an entrance gate was constructed back in the 15lh century, but its appearance has been completely changed during the later reconstructions.
The gate is decorated with the Renaissance portal bearing coats of arms of its owners. Under the overgate building, we can find underground casemates, which are down to 10 meters deep.
In the castle courtyard there are two two-storied buildings of the palace: the Ostroh Castle of the 16lh century and Lubomirskiy Palace of the 18lh century. They house museum expositions and host various thematic exhibitions.
The dungeons of the castle, where residents were hiding during sieges, are very popular with tourists. The underground casemates have been arranged all around the perimeter of the castle.