ZBARAZH CASTLE

Zbarazh Castle can be easily said to belong to the group of most interesting castles, which are well preserved in the Western Ukraine. In addition to the architectural value, the castle is of great historical significance. It is associated with the princely family of Vyshnevetskiy who played an important role in the country’s history. Moreover, its walls witnessed the key episodes of the national liberation war by Bohdan Khmelnytskiy.

zbarazh-castleDue to a good state of its architectural complex, Zbarazh Castle became one of the first operating branches of «Ternopil Castles» reserve. The castle premises house a museum with a rich and interesting exposition. Among the exhibits, there are ancient Zbarazh icons, wooden sculptures on the Cossacks theme, weapons, musical instruments, coins, antigue household items etc.

The first fortifications appeared in Zbarazh in the times of the principality of Galicia and Volyn. At the end of the 14th century, the principality lands became the part of Poland and Princes Nesvytskiy became the city owners. It was the Russian-Lithuanian princely family, descending from Volyn-based offsprings of the Gedyminovych family. The branch of the Nesvytskiy family that settled in Zbarazh, made it their main residence and became to be called Princes Zbarazkiy. In 1393, Prince Dmytro Korybut constructed a castle on the site of an Old Russian fortress. Soon Zbarazh became the center of an independent principality, which united large areas in southern Volyn.

zbarazh-castleMany times Zbarazh Castle suffered from Tatar raids. In 1474, it became the center of the heroic defense against the horde of Khan Aydor. The defense was commanded by Prince Vasyl Zbarazkiy. The defenders could not hold the fortress, and the enemy destroyed it. At the beginning of the 16lh century the fortress was rebuilt, and it became the scene of new battles with the Tatars: in 1558, 1567, 1572, 1588, and 1589. The castle was captured and finally destroyed in 1598.

In 1636, the castle passed to Princes Vyshnevetskiy, who were another branch of the Nesvytskiy family. The new owner of Zbarazh was now Janush Korybut-Vyshnevetskiy. He completed the additional fortification works on the castle with the participation of the European experts, Sebastian Anders and Nicolas Dubois.

zbarazh-castle-1The castle is of a regular type, and square planning, surrounded by powerful bastions. The bastions are fortified with ramparts and escarpments, which are up to 12 meters high and 23 meters thick. Within the bastions, there were barracks, while above them there were batteries of about 50 cannons. The castle was surrounded by a deep moat, and the entrance was made through an entry tower to which a bridge was leading. Opposite the gate in the middle of the yard, there is a two-storied palace in the Renaissance style. The main entrance is overhung by a balcony on stone vertical cantilevers.