Lviv neighborhood is famous for the multitude of ancient castles and fabulous palaces that used to serve their owners - predominantly Polish kings and magnates - as fortified residences. The medieval castle in the picturesque Svirzh settlement is rightly considered one of the most beautiful among them. This unique monument of fortification architecture stands on the high rocky hill, surrounded with lakes and marshes from three sides, and amazingly harmonically blends in the local fantastic landscape.
It is considered that the first fortification facilities were built on the high hill near Lviv in the late 15th century, but the true castle appeared here only fifty years later, when local lands passed under Świrzski family's ownership. New Polish owners built major castle buildings, paying special attention to fortification system. Unfortunately, only some entrance gate's fragments, whose arched aperture keeps the date "1530", survived until now. It is believed that it was the year, when Świrzski family finished castle's fortification.
In the 17th century, Galicia castellan Alexander Cetner became castle's owner and decided to rebuild it greatly. While at Świrzski times the castle looked more like a fortress, under Cetner it became a well-fortified magnate residence. And in this appearance we can see it now.
The castle is surrounded with defensive ditch and consists of two multi-level yards - upper (gala) and lower (household) - connected with a stairway. Renaissance dwelling buildings with basements and defensive towers surround them. Castle palace stands on the upper yard's terrace with deep well, covered with several legends, at the center. One of them states that once a young girl was drowned in it for infidelity, and since then, her ghost wanders about castle's territory.
Although, the Svirzh Castle was well-fortified, it was repeatedly attacked. During the Ukraine and Poland War 1648-1654 Bohdan Khmelnitsky's Cossack troops took it over several times. However, later it managed to withstand two Turkish sieges and even sheltered Polish magnates, who escaped from standing nearby Pomoryansky Castle through secret passage.
In the 20th century, castle's new owner thoroughly restored it and equipped with necessary facilities. Castle buildings' interiors were adorned with works of art, and owner's rich library was moved here. During the World War I, however, the Svirzh Castle was severely damaged: most buildings were almost completely burnt down and destroyed. After the war, the castle was restored, having preserved its original planning and interiors.
Ancient catholic church, supposedly built in the 15th century, survived on castle park's territory. If you look closely at it, you can notice remnants of Świrzski family's emblem over the temple's entrance.
Today the castle is in private property and it's not easy to access its territory. However, current owners usually let tourists in and show them ancient towers, loopholes, wooden bridges and dungeons.