Five historic сastles to visit in Ukraine

Five historic сastles to visit in Ukraine

 

History

Edited by: Vidan Clube, Yuri Zoria

Abounding in stunning landscapes and architectural treasures, Ukraine has always been a land of awe and beauty. Its ancient castles represent a separate chapter in a book of Ukrainian wonders, places where the sands of time are stilled. History was born there, and it lives on — pure and timeless.

Scattered across the country, such places can make reality blur, erasing the hazy lines between eras. Recalling the turbulent times of principalities, kingdoms and empires that no longer exist, these castles are filled with magic and mystery. But they have a dark side too, where spirits and superstitions may yet linger.

Chynadiyovo Castle

The Saint Miklós (Saint Nicholas) Castle in Chynadiyovo, Mukachevo raion, Zakarpattia Oblast, has a lasting legacy — its palisades dared to challenge fate and survived against all odds. Lost among the majesty of the Zakarpattia mountains, it is in one of the most mesmerizing corners of Ukraine.

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Yet, for decades the castle stood in disrepair. The Soviets used it for industrial storage and landfill. It had reached a critical condition when its savior came along. Jossyp Bartosz, a painter and musician, discovered Saint Miklos Castle and decided to lease it and bring back its glory.

“This castle chose me. It just said: ‘Here! Come here!’ and I came,” Bartosz exclaims in his interview for culture magazine Ukrainer.

Having lived abroad for years, Bartosz returned to Ukraine in 1999. During his travels, he found himself inspired by the restored castles of neighboring Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary. He decided to organize open-air exhibitions, such as he had experienced abroad, in the Chynadiyovo Castle. 

No one believed in his idea — some even called it madness. However, Bartosz prevailed. He ignored the mockery of local residents and was relentless in procuring the necessary financing. Finally, he won the fight and began the monumental task of clearing out debris and launching the restoration project.

The history of Chynadiyovo goes back to the 14th century when it was built by order of Baron Perényi. It was strategically positioned in the Veretsky Pass — a mountain pass that led directly to Halychyna and was used by Hungarian kings to attack surrounding regions.

Since then, Chynadiyovo has had many owners and seen many colorful episodes. One such is the desperate love story of two Hungarian rebels, Ilona Zrínyi and Imre Thököly, who fought together against the absolute power of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 17th century. Their brutal demise seems to reverberate in the castle corridors to this day.

However, things have changed and Chynadiyovo Castle is bustling with activity.  Open-air gatherings, festivals, exhibitions, concerts, and theatre performances can all be attended throughout the year. The castle is even available for weddings and special ceremonies, many of which draw upon the traditions of the medieval royal courts. 

Lubart’s Castle

Lubart’s Castle, also known as High Castle and Lutsk Castle, is one of the biggest and oldest fortifications in Ukraine, and it has been preserved close to its original form. Built in the 14th century in the city of Lutsk by Lithuanian Prince Vitovt Lubart, it served as a residence and fortress.

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Now, tourists can climb the steep staircase of the castle’s entry tower and enjoy the view of the city. Old Lutsk, including monuments of the state historical and cultural reserve, are also visible.

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