Hot Russian brides love the romance and legends of fairytales and most of them involve sprawling, majestic castles. While unique palaces and fortresses can be found all over the countries of the Former Soviet Union, the Ukrainian city of Lviv is home to some of the most beautiful and best-known.
Each castle holds a special story and it may be difficult to decide which to explore first. You can easily find tours which will take you through several in one day, or ask your favorite Ukrainian bride if she can give you a personal tour herself.
The Golden Horseshoe castles are these 3 that are visited most often.
One of the region’s most famous castles is in the small village of Olesko. It can be seen from many miles, perched upon a picturesque hill. Its strategic location and towering, thick walls caused nations to fight over it for more than a century. Today the castle serves more like a museum with hundreds of paintings, sculptures, weapons, and artifacts inside. Outside is a beautiful park with more monuments, as well as ponds and rare plants and flowers, making it a very romantic location.
Built in the 1630’s by French and Italian engineers, Pidhirtsi Castle was not intended as a defense structure, but more like a royal palace. It is often referred to as one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Ukraine. The Rzewuskis family invited nobles and aristocrats from all over Europe to stay at the castle, eventually building an inn, theater, orchestra, and church for guests. Next it became a museum, and then a sanatorium. While the World Wars ruined much of the interior, restoration projects have been ongoing for many years and visitors still enjoy its beauty.
Built as an impenetrable citadel, Zolochiv Castle is comprised of the huge rectangular Grand Palace and the smaller rotunda of the Chinese Palace, which holds a large collection of Oriental art. After serving as the home for rich Polish families, it was sold to the Austrian crown and became a hospital, and then a prison. There’s a memorial inside the Grand Palace, as well as a small chapel outside, commemorating those who perished there. Today the complex is supervised by the Lviv Art Gallery and under restoration, although visitors are still welcome to view the amazing grounds and unique exhibits.
In addition to the architecture and ancient treasures of these castles, many ghost stories and legends surround them as well. Tune in to a special episode of Ghost Hunters International called “Ghosts of the Eastern Bloc: Ukraine and Poland” on the American SyFy cable channel on January 12th!