HALYCH CASTLE

Halych is the town with a rich history and the former capital of the Principality of Halych. In the 13th century, it was one of the largest cities in Europe and occupied a vast area, which does not coincide with the territory of the present-day Halych. The center of the ancient capital with the princely town was in the site of the present-day village of Krylos, while the city itself and its suburbs, monasteries, and castles stretched for almost ten kilometers, and its population was about 15,000. Now the suburbs of Halych and surrounding villages belong to the historical and cultural reserve «Ancient Halych» occupying the area of 80 sguare kilometers, which is the approximate area of the city of those days. The reserve preserves a number of monuments of state and world importance. Among them, there are foundations of 14 churches of the 12th and 13th centuries mentioned in chronicles, 134 archaeological monuments, and 18 natural objects connected with the monuments of history and architecture. On the territory of the reserve, there is the Museum of History of the Ancient Halych, the Ciscarpathian Museum of Folk Architecture and Life, and a regional landscape park. The main sights of the historical city are the citadel of the ancient Halych with St Basil’s chapel, the princely tomb of Halychyna Mogyla, the old Uspenska church (church of the Assumption) in the village of Shevchenkove, and Starostynsky Castle in Halych.

halych-castleStarostynsky Castle in Halych towers on a stefep mountain on the bank of the Dnister. Today, the central part of modern Halych is located at the foot of the mountain, and in the times of Halych princes there was a hithe on the Dnister here, which provided an access to the sea. The castle was of great strategic importance as it defended the hithe and controlled the movement of ships along the Dnister. By the 15th century the castle was one of the most heavily protected places in Galicia, and its garrison was almost 1,000 soldiers. For the effective protection, they needed a good view from there, and even now you can enjoy a spectacular view of the river from Zamkova Hill.

Only a fragment of Halych Castle has survived to our days – parts of stone defensive walls and one of the three castle towers – the one that had been the most important tower used as the citadel. This tower was also half-ruined, but it has been fully restored and put into order during the recent reconstruction. In the future, one more fragment of the castle is planned to be restored. It is the ruined St Catherine’s Chapel, which was connected with the tower by the wall with a wooden gallery.