St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
The splendid St. Peter and Paul Cathedral's monumental and at the same time elegant building adorns the Old Town and is rightly considered one of the most beautiful and valuable architectural monuments in Lutsk. Being surrounded with halo of mystery and keeping century-old secretes, it is the most attractive sight in town that must be visited by everyone without fail.
The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral was built in the 17th century as part of the monastery, founded by Jesuit monks. At that time, the cloister was Lutsk's important spiritual, educational and cultural center. It hosted Jesuit collegium (the best high school in town), student theater, library with an impressive collection of books.
Built upon the project of prominent Italian architect in the popular back then baroque style, the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral was the main building of the monastic complex. Moreover, it was a part of Lutsk's defensive system: thick walls, formidable towers with loopholes and the net of underground tunnels with wells allowed the church to survive any sieges.
In the late 18th century, however, the Jesuit Order was abolished, and the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral along with other monastic buildings passed to commission of public education. Several years later, there was a fire in temple's building and it passed to Catholic Church afterwards. Catholics took up cathedral's reconstruction and rebuilding.
As a result of restoration, the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral acquired new stylistic traits. Its interior was richly decorated with stucco work and sculptures, the walls were painted by prominent artists. Building's facade was also changed: one tower remained quadrangular, while the other became octagonal - now it's one of St. Peter and Paul Cathedral's gems. But, despite the global reconstruction, the church managed to keep its authentic traits and medieval spirit that hovers here.
There is an ancient bell tower near the temple. It is much older than the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral and was built at Lutsk's center in the 16th century - together with the Saint Trinity Cathedral. The later was soon destroyed and its bell tower became the part of the Jesuit monastic complex.
After the World War II the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral was closed and its premises were used as storehouse. And then, the Museum of Atheism was located here for twenty years. In 1991, the cathedral was returned to the Catholic Church and became the functioning temple again.
It is worth visiting the cathedral not only for its luxurious decor and charming atmosphere. Many tourists are attracted by mysterious dungeons that ensured St. Peter and Paul Cathedral's status as one of the most enigmatic places in Lutsk. Multilayered underground labyrinths that stretch on for dozens kilometers are often compared to the netherworld. Semidarkness, narrow corridors leading to burial vaults, piles of bones and sculls, coffins lying under water - all these leave strong, incomparable impressions. You can enter the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral's dungeons only on a tour.