Zolochiv Castle was built in the 17th century following all models and novelties of Europe at that time. This is a bastion-type castle, but you will not see tall stone walls with a moat around it. The fact is that in the 17th century artillery could break through any walls, so the role of the walls was played by earth shafts, fortified with stones, and convex five-sided bastions made it possible to fire at the enemies, regardless of which side they were located.
The palace was built by the noble family of Sobieski. I mean that this family paid for the materials, but it actually was built by enslaved Crimean Tatars.
Walking through the main gate you will immediately notice the difference between this palace and the palace in Pidhirtsi. The fact is that Zolochiv Castle was completely restored under the leadership of Boris Voznytsky beginning in 1986.
The other thing that might be interesting is that there two palaces on the ground and one of them is called Chinese. Jan III Sobieski (famous Polish king) added this palace as a gift to his French wife. Why Chinese would you ask me? At that time, it was hard to get to China and bring goods from there. Therefore, everything Chinese was very expensive and only rich families could have Chinese halls filled with potteries or silk from China. Jan III Sobieski decided to build the whole Chinese palace, which means that he spent a large amount to fill it.
In the 17th century the castle was twice under siege. The first one was organized by Turks and the second by the Ottoman army. And after the death of Jan III Sobieski, the castle was sold to the Austrian Empire.
In the 20th century the castle was turned to the Lviv Art Gallery and restored.
Nowadays you can see a beautiful garden in front of the Chinese palace with a cute fountain. The Chinese palace is full of different objects from all over Asia. It is nice to know that the ambassadors from a few Asian countries donated some historical object for the collection of this palace.
The main building has two floors and a pretty big basement, where pieces of old columns are placed by the Lviv Art Gallery. At the main gates there is placed an old stone with weird carvings on it. It looks to me as if it is a code with some letters missed. This stone was found in the forest close to the castle and until now Ukrainian historians are trying to solve the mystery of this stone but with no results. Maybe it is a love letter or a gravestone, or maybe it keeps the location of the treasure, no one knows, and that is why it is so interesting to look at this stone.
You can also go up the wall and see the five-sided bastions with old cannons on it. From there you can overlook the whole village. No wonder the architect chose this spot for a bastion. The open space around the castle gives a big advantage to defeat the enemies.
Outside the castle there is a restaurant for those who want to have a lunch. However don’t expect the food to be amazing. Zolochiv castle was actually the third one for us after Olesko and Pidhirtsi castles, so we were pretty hungry and decided to try this restaurant out. Try to stick to simple Ukrainian dishes like varenyky (dumplings), potato pancakes or borsh and don’t order anything fancy like pork schnitzel and you are going to enjoy your meal.
Zolochiv Castle is about an hours drive from Lviv city center. You can take a taxi which is the most convenient, but most expensive. You can take public transportation which is cheap but hard to figure out if you don’t speak Ukrainian. Or in my opinion, the best option is to do a day excursion from one of the tour companies located in the center of Lviv. The tour will take you to all three castles on the golden horseshoe and the price is 350 UAH (~$14).