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The Zolochiv Castle

John III Sobieski with his family, painting by Henri Gascar
Operation: year round
Location: Zolochiv
Included in the following tours:
In 1634-1636 on the hills of Zolochiv town, Jacub Sobieski, a father of the future Polish King John III, had built a handsome citadel with high walls, towers and a palace. Later the Renaissance ensemble of the Zolochiv fortification has been complemented with a small Chinese Palace built as a gift to Marie Casimire, the wife of John Sobieski III, the French-born Queen of Poland. The royal couple is known for their love letters, which they had been sending each other in abundance. Being a great politician and an outstanding military commander, the King has travelled a lot, and the Queen has been frequenting her native Paris. The letters were published long after both of them had gone, and a gentle diminutive name Marysienka, the way John III addressed his beloved Marie Casimirie, has become popular from their correspondence. The gift to Marysienka, the Chinese Palace is one of a few pieces of the Zolochiv Castle ensemble that has survived unharmed till nowadays and did not need a reconstruction. Was it a power of love that helped this message of affection of mauve-colored walls and oriental roof survive the sieges, attacks, wars around it, and even the ruinous Soviet times?...
After the recent reconstruction, the Zolochiv Castle became open for visitors in 2009. There are several expositions on the castle grounds in the so-called Big Palace built by Jacub Sobieski; one of them features the castle and the Zolochiv region history, another is a Historical Interior Museum displaying paintings, furniture, weaponry, porcelain, sculptures, carpets, and hunting trophies. Among other, the palace itself is famous for the advanced sewage and heating systems, as well as secret passages underneath. The Chinese Palace features the Oriental Arts Exposition.
As a peculiar museum exhibit, there should be noted massive stones brought from the ruins of the neighboring medieval castle in Novosilky village. These grey rocks have inscriptions dating back to the 14th century. The not yet deciphered message supposedly belongs to the Knights of Templar who might have owned the castle which ruins are located in Novosilky nowadays.
The Zolochiv Castle visit is included to the popular Lviv Golden Horseshoe route and makes a story of the three beautiful medieval fiefs complete.

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