Olesko Castle

Olesko Castle is located in the village of Olesko in Lviv Oblast, Ukraine. The first record of this castle was documented in 1390, when Pope Boniface IX gifted the castle to the Catholic bishop of Halych. The castle has changed ownership several times throughout its history as the borders of the countries changed. Olesko Castle was owned by Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary at different times, and served as a fief for kings and magnates, so battles for ownership of the castle were constant. The oval shaped castle was built on a hilltop surrounded by defensive walls, a moat, and swampland. By the 15thcentury, the castle was no longer used as a defense position and became a gateway for the aristocracy. In the 17thand 18thcenturies the castle was purchased, sold and fell into ruin, repurchased and renovated, then resold again. The castle was remodeled in the Italian Renaissance style and decorated with paintings and mosaics. The Polish king Jan III Sobieski was born at the castle and he collected many of the artworks currently displayed there. In 1838, the castle suffered earthquake damage. In 1882, the castle was purchased by the Committee of Preservation of the Olesko Castle, and became a Polish national monument. Both WWI and WWII did damage to Olesko Castle, the castle was also struck by lightning in 1956, but in 1961-1985 the castle was restored. Today, Olesko Castle serves as a museum and is open to the public.