Zolochiv Castle is one of the the main attractions in Zolochiv (Złoczów in Polish), a town about 20 km south of Podhorce in western Ukraine. It was built in the early 17th century by Jakub Sobieski, the father of King Jan III Sobieski (Jan III Sobieski was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and most famous for his historic victory over the Turks at Vienna in 1683, which saved Europe).
You can see my pictured from Zolochiv here: http://poland.leonkonieczny.com/Poland%202011/Zolochiv%20Castle/index.html.
Just prior to our visit to Zolochiv, we’d been to Podhorce where we found that they were closed on Monday. However the guard was willing to accept a small donation and let us in to look around. Arriving at Zolochiv, we found it also to be closed. But again, the guard was willing to accept a donation to allow us in, though in this case he insisted we make it into a locked donation container and not hand it to him directly. As it turned out, the guard took us around a bit and showed us the place. We only could see the exteriors, however.
Zolochiv is a very beautiful place. In 1985 it became a part of the Lwów Art Gallery and has undergone much restoration since that time. It is only recently that its grounds have been open to the public, but they are indeed magnificent.
A few of my pictures are rather sobering. The one with the two plaques reminds us of two tragic events that happened here at Zolochiv Castle:
1. The torture and murder of 649 innocent Ukrainians by the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD) in 1941.
2. The murder of 14,000 local Jews, many buried in a mass grave along the wall of the castle, murdered by the Nazis in World War II.
In another photo you can see a huge rock with the policeman next to it, and in the one after, another huge rock. This is where the NKVD lined up, tortured, and murdered many Ukrainians in 1941.
So, while Zholochiv is a very beautiful place, it also is a reminder of some of the turmoil that Poland, her Jews, and Ukraine have been through at the hands of those who would have liked to have wiped them off the face of the earth.