Lutsk Castle is one of the brightest tourist attractions in Ukraine. Its image adorns the national currency – it is pictured on UAH 200 notes. Constructed in the 14th century by the Lithuanian Prince Lubart, the castle has survived without significant changes till our time. It is the only Ukrainian landmark left after the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Like most European medieval castles, Lutsk High Castle was constructed of brick, not of stone, which is typical for Ukrainian strongholds. The castle’s appearance is more like that of grand European castles with high walls and slender towers, rather than low and grim strongholds of Ukraine.
The first castle in Lutsk was constructed about 1000 AD by Kyiv Prince Volodymyr Sviatoslavych. In 1069, the fortress withstood a six-month siege by the Polish army led by king Boleslaw the Courageous. Prince Lubart reconstructed the castle considerably by fortifying it by a line of town’s defensive buildings. Lutsk was surrounded by defensive ramparts and walls with stout towers. Town’s fortifications were called the Lower (Nyzhniy), or Roundabout (Obhidniy) Castle, while the core element of fortification was certainly the Prince’s High (Verhniy) Castle.
High Castle has been preserved on a hill above the River Styr and consists of three towers connected by strong walls. The towers of the castle differ from each other: each had its purpose and its name: Lubartova, Styrova, and Vladycha.
The most famous of them is Lubartova entrance tower. Its lower floor has an arched way, and the top is decorated with a crown of battlements, which give the towers and the castle a majestic appearance. First, the entrance to the castle had been made above the ground level: to get there, one had to use a drawbridge, which was removed in case of an enemy attack. The signs of the old arch and gate later encased in brick are clearly visible above the current arch. In Lubartova Tower there is an exhibition of the history of building ceramics.
Prince’s chambers were located in Vladycha tower, and today there are two unique museums, «Volyn Bells» and «Arsenal» which represent a collection of ancient weapons. The name of Styrova tower, which hangs over the water, originates from the name of the Styr River. Between this tower and Lubart Tower there used to be the Prince’s Palace, instead of which the «shlyahetsky» (nobleman’s) house was constructed in 1789. Now there is a picture gallery there.