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Castles in the Kresy...
By Pogranicze Galicja
Published: 25.02.2009

Bar Castle 

(...)   14th and 15th centuries were marked by the numerous Tatars’ attacks, which brought destruction and death or captivity. During one of those attacks, in 1431, the castle managed to repulse the Tatars but in.
   1452 it was conquered and destroyed. Its starost, Stogniew Rej, was taken captive. By the end of the 15th century the castle was attacked by the Tatars nine more times and each time the previously rebuilt castle was destroyed.
   In 1456 the voivode, Andrzej Odrowąż, became a new owner of the castle. He received a permission from the Polish king Casimir Jagiellon to repurchase the land from heirs of the former starost, Rej.
   In 1537 the Podolian voivode, Stanisław Odrowąż, sold his land together with 5 towns and 38 villages including Rov to Queen Bona. The new owner changed the name of the place into Bar (the name comes from the Queen’s family duchess - Baria in Italy). It was due to her initiative that the new castle came into being. Wojciech Starzechowski became its builder and at the same time the starost. The castle is built at the left bank of the river Rov. A dam built on the river surrounded the new castle and the town from three sides making them difficult to conquer. Bernard Pretficz was another starost and after him, at the beginning of the 17th century, the castle belonged to Stanisław Żółkiewski.
   It was there that in 1618, before his excursion, he made a testament and wrote a farewell letter to his wife.
   In 1636 the grand royal hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski had his seat in the castle. During his reign the castle was rebuilt and strengthened. A fortress with four ramparts and with brick-walls 6 meters height came into being then. It was built by a French architect,
Guillaume de Beauplan. At that time, it was the third largest fortress after Kamianets-Podilskyi and Międzybóż in the region of Podolia.
   However, during the Chmielnicki uprising Bar was conquered after two days’ siege by the Cossack commander Maksym Kryvonis. It took place on the 5th of August 1648.
   In 1672 by the treaty signed in Buchach, Podolia, including Bar, becomes the Turkish property. However, two years later the Polish army conquered Bar which for four years had remained the property of the Polish king, John Sobieski. In 1678 Bar came back to Turkey and until 1699 it was reigned by the sultan. In that year the treaty signed in Karłowice finished Polish-Turkish wars and restored the region of Podolia back to Poland.
   In February 1768 the Bar Confederation was formed. Its aim was to defend the Polish independence from Russia. In June of the same year the Russian army occupied the town and conquered confederates’ fortress. A tragic epilogue took place: a bloody assault of the Russian army supported by Ksawery Branicki defeated the confederates. After the second partition of Poland, Bar had been the Russian property and the town started to collapse. Currently, in the place of the former fortress there is a park established in the 20th century and only the small parts of the old walls are visible.

Zhukiewicz Bohdan
translated by Joanna Hardukiewicz

Międzybóż Castle 

   (There were also Muravsky Trail and Wolosky Trail but this one did not go through Ukraine. The main trails corresponded to the watersheds of the  bigger Ukrainian rivers: Black Trail - the Boh River and the Dniester, Kuczman Trail - the Boh River and the Dniester, Muravsky Trail - the Dnieper River and the Don River).
   In 1539
Sigismund I the Old gave the castle to the grand royal hetman and the Russian voivode Mikołaj Sieniawski. Due to his initiative the former foundation was expanded. A Renaissance building came into being, but its main purpose was to strengthen the defenses. Therefore, a habitable part of the building is not very representative, but the walls made of stone and brick are enormous. Three towers strengthening the defenses were built, and a corner from the East was protected even by four towers.
   In 1678 Międzybóż Castle went into the Turkish hands and remained there till 1699. Afterwards, Tadeusz Kościuszko stayed in the castle (1790-1791). When the castle belonged to the Czartoryski family, a district school was created there (1819). The school was closed by the czar’s authorities after the November Uprising. At that time, the castle was confiscated and the czar’s army had its headquarters there. Also Czar Nicholas I and Alexander I stayed there.
   Currently, we can see there the remains of the defensive walls and towers.
Zhukiewicz Bohdan
translated by Joanna Hardukiewicz
photo; Jurek Jaremczuk, Jurek Owczaruk, (zakapior)

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