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Lviv's High Castle - Lwow: Wysoky Zamek
Remnants of Lviv's castle.
Lwow - Wysoky Zamek

Translated by Dictum Factum (Kyiv)


Lviv is surrounded by hills of Roztocze. About 1360 on one of these hills the king Kazimir ІІІ ordered to lay the High castle, the important part of city fortifications. There are hypotheses that the building castle has appeared in XIV century on the basements of its predecessor, the wooden castle of the duke of the Leo, but these are only hypotheses.

The place, chosen for an advanced outpost was successful: the mountain was high and steep that is why the advanced post seemed to be impregnable. It was impregnable till 1648, when Cossack detachment of Maksym Kryvonos destroyed it. After that garrison was withdrawn from the castle. In 1672 Turks took the fortress without a blow.

It is known, that the castle had seven towers, gates, a well and the garrison building. In 1495 it was armed with guns. The mentioned well was a drywell (Roztoczya), because of it the rainwater was collected. The undergrounds of the castle were used as a prison: it is known, that after 1410 Teutons, who become prisoners after the battle of Grunwald, were hold there. In 1559 the miserable Galshka Ostrozhska served her sentence. It is interesting, that prisoners were divided according to the class: in a Gentry tower there gentry suffered sentence, in Ragged Tower – all the others swindlers.

The castle belonged directly to the king of Poland, and the governor of fortress (a burgrave) held a post of the deputy of royal starosta (headman).


Remains of Castle in 1910.

In Austrian times, as well as everywhere on the territory of Galicias (Halychyna), the castle started to decline and it was being gradually sectionalized. And when the idea “to build a barrow (kopiec)” came into city’s officials mind to the glory of Union of Lublin, the castle was doomed. A barrow was being built for a long time, it is said, that till now under it you can find the barbican of the castle. All that has remained from a fortress is a small fragment of a southern wall near a modern TV tower. The former mayor of Lviv L.Bunjak had the intention to restore the High castle, but the city has protested against such foolishness.

In addition to the High Castle, there was also a wooden the Low Castle (on a place of a modern National museum and former Theatre Skarbek, which is called the Maria Zankovetska Drama Theatre now that was a part of city fortifications. It is known, that the Low Castle was burnt down in 1381 and rebuilt up of wood, but acquired walls and a beautiful Renaissance facade only after a fire of 1565. The Castle was situated on the banks of the Poltva River and had three towers: Suddivska (Judge’s), Uveliriv (Jewellers’) and Kutova (Angular), and an internal ditch and Hetman's Bastei.

The Low Castle went down in history because in 1537 Sigismund I the Old signed within its walls the document according to which heredity of the royal power was cancelled. In 1704 in the Low Castle Swedish monarch Charles ХІІ lived after he had taken Lviv. Starting from XVIII century the Low Castle fell into ruin, it was dismantled by 1802.


Castle in the Past

It is very difficult to discern the High castle on old engravings, but you can try. Three old engravings (from weekly Przyjaciel Ludu and Lwowianin), and also a view on a barrow and a fragment of the castle of beginning of ХХ century. It is interesting here: in drawing of 1915 the teacher shows to pupils a monument in honor of Union, namely on remains of Castle.
Wysoki Zamek we Lwowie
Ruins of the Lvov castle
Высокий замок во Львове

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