Mury of Vinnytsia
In the early 17th century the representatives of the catholic Jesuit order appeared in Vinnytsia and with financial support of one of then town's governors built a monastery on the picturesque bank of the Southern Bug. The monks surrounded the cloister, which consisted of catholic church, collegium and dormitory, with massive fortress walls with loopholes and combat towers. These powerful defensive constructions, serving for defense against the Tatar raids, were called mury (Ukrainian for walls) for their formidable impregnability.
The Jesuit monastery played an important role in the history of Vinnytsia: it was not only the key fortification complex of the town, but an important cultural and educational center as well. Later Dominicans - the monks of another catholic order - built their monastery near the Jesuit cloister. They raised on its territory the catholic church that was superior to the Jesuit cathedral in the luxury and splendor of its decoration. Later the Dominican Monastery with the church became a part of the defensive complex.
Due to the fact that in the 19th century Mury were in the emergency condition, the part of the defensive wall and adjoined monastic buildings were pulled down. At the same time one of the walls of the main church collapsed. Soon the reconstruction of the cloister buildings began - it was decided to locate male and female gymnasiums here. After numerous reconstructions and renovations, however, the monastic buildings lost their original look. After a while the Dominican Monastery was abolished, and its catholic church was turned into the orthodox Transfiguration Cathedral. Nowadays it is the main orthodox shrine of Vinnytsia and one of the brightest decorations of the town.
Unfortunately the major part of the fortress walls that defended the Jesuit and Dominican Monasteries was destroyed. Just one tower and fragments of fortifications adjoined to it remained till nowadays. Today the remains of the fortification facilities along with cloister buildings that escaped damage are the part of the historic and architectural complex "Mury of Vinnytsia".
The building of the former collegium of the Jesuit Monastery is now occupied by significant town archive, and in place of the former monastic cells the well-known Vinnitsia museum of local lore is situated. It is famous for its collection of unique exponents, among which there are rare objects of Scythian and Sarmatian periods, vast numismatic collection, collections of weapons and minerals. The mammoth skeleton, found on the territory of Vinnytsia region, is also kept in the museum.