Tour of the Olesko Castle

On the hill over the town of Olesko, a mighty and ancient fortress stands. If you want to take a glimpse of past mysteries, you should come here.

The Olesko Castle is the most ancient of the Galician fortresses (13th century). Location on the border decided its fate – rulers of Poland and Lithuania constantly fought for it, and, for a long period, rebellious Ukrainian nobles held it in their hands. Later it became a stronghold against the Tatar onslaught. Not even once did the walls of the fortress give way in the face of fierce enemy attacks.
 
The castle flourished most under the rule of the Ukrainian magnate Ivan Danylovych and his famous grandson – King Jan III Sobieski. It was here that the future king was born. Legend has it, that on that day the castle was under the siege of Tatars, and the horrible storm was brewing in the skies. The new-born was laid down on a black marble table. At that moment, the lightning stroke, the table split, and the midwife went deaf. It was the sign of the remarkable fate that awaited the child. 

The castle started to decay under the next owners – Rzewuski – who moved all the valuables from here to the Pidhirtsi Castle. The fortress was abandoned. Fires, and even an earthquake – not a usual event on these lands, – additionally damaged the castle.

After the fire of 1951, it stood empty. That gave Borys Voznytsky an opportunity to use it for preservation of Galician cultural treasures. Despite the fierce opposition, the head of the Lviv Art Gallery managed to open a museum here with an exhibition of the valuable items saved from other castles, palaces, and churches ruined by Soviet authorities. 

As a reminder of that, on the way to the castle we still meet the Soviet monument of the First Cavalry Army. Don’t look at it with mocking contempt though, even despite its anachronism and foreignness in this location – it’s thanks to this monument, that the museum could be established here and the first of Galician castles opened its gates for the visitors in 1975.    

Tour of the Olesko Castle

All of our tours may be organized individually, in English, German, Polish and other languages. We offer the service of guides-interpreters or interpreters with knowledge of the required language, who will interpret the information given by a Ukrainian guide. If you are willing to join a Ukrainian tourist group, but don’t understand Ukrainian, we may provide you with a personal interpreter or a written description of the tour, according to your wishes.