Shtetl Routes. Vestiges of Jewish cultural heritage in cross-border tourism in borderland of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine


Shtetl Routes. Vestiges of Jewish cultural heritage in cross-border tourism in borderland of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine


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Bolekhiv - Cultural Heritage Card

Bolekhiv is a town under the district’s jurisdiction, located at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, on the banks of the river Sukil. The town belongs to Dolyna district and is located 17 km from Dolyna. The railway Lviv-Stryi-Ivano-Frankivsk and the highway “Lviv-Chernivtsi” pass Bolekhiv. Its population is 11300 citizens (according to the data of 2001). There are several versions as to the origin of the name of the town, the most widespread of which comes from the word “volokhy”.

Bolekhiv -  Cultural Heritage Card

HistoryDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Bolekhiv is known from the times of Kyiv Rus, here an ancient Rus settlement was located. The first written mention of Bolekhiv is dated 1371. In the documents of those times it is mentioned as Bolekh Valaskyi. The first written notice about the town was recorded in the Grant of Hungarian Queen Elizabeth. In the toponyms of Bolekhiv outskirts which since long ago was famous for its saline springs, the names Bania and Borsukiv Lis have survived to this day. Later on, on the left bank of Sukil, near Bania, the Vlachian settlement appeared.

Since XV the historical records mention Bolekhiv as a settlement which was formed by two villages Bolekhiv Voloskyi and Bolekhiv Ruskyi located on the right bank of the river Sukil.

In the early XVI century the city belonged to Mikolai Gudzimsky who provided the conditions for receiving the Magdeburg Right by the city in 1603. In XVI-XVIII Bolekhiv belongs to Rzeczpospolita. The settlement of Jews existed in Bolekhiv before XVII century. In 1601 the Jewish quarter existed in Bolekhiv and was located in the southeastern part of the city, in the same place the synagogue was built. Owner of the city Mykola Gedzimsky in 1612 gave the land privilege to the community for cemetery and synagogue. The first, probably, wooden synagogue was burned in 1670. The Lviv bishop Georgy borrowed money to the community leaders Leibe Ickowich and Lypman Lazarevych for the reconstruction of Jewish district. The invitation for living was received by the Jewish community from the owner and founder of the city Mykolay Gedzinsky. The community received personal privileges which were later confirmed by the king Zygmunt III Wasa. The Jews had the same rights as Christians who lived in the town. They were exempted of certain taxes. Besides, Jews could settle in any part of the city, but they only had to pay the tax for such permit. Gedzinsky gave them the lands for cemetery and land lot for building the synagogue where the other qahal buildings could be built. All objects were exempted of taxes. In XVIII the social life of Bolekhiv Jews has acquired the form of autonomous community of the city – qahal which belonged to Va’ad (Council) of four lands which embraced the whole Rzeczpospolita. Most of Jews were merchants and their main income was from the salt trading. The income was also brought by the money exchange and loans.

The ruling of Gedzinskys in Bolekhiv ended in the early XVIII cent. The image on the town arms and the other resources testify that the ownership to certain parts of Bolekniv belonged to the Polish families of Liubomyrskys, Poniatovskys, Pototskys.

In 1772 Bolekhiv together with the other lands of Eastern Halychyna became the part of Habsburg monarchy. In 1789 Joakhim Pototsky was forced to transfer his surrounding lands, and in particular the part of Bolekhiv together with the saline, to the Austrian government which monopolized the salt making here. The Austrian government in 1783—1784 placed a significant amount of German settlers in Bolekhiv. During the ruling of Emperor Joseph II the government strived to settle economic and legal situation in the city. The attempts were made to make Jews engage in land management. Near Bolekhiv the colony was founded called ‘the New Babylon”, where 10 Jewish families were settled – each family received 12 acres of land. The government has provided Jews with the construction materials, however, farmers had to pay for lands and equipment. The conditions in colony were very poor and the land was infertile. Although this campaign was at first supported by the local Jewish community, everything failed and soon the colony New Babylon went bankrupt.

In the late eighteen century Gaskala, Jewish Enlightment reached Bolekhiv. This movement developed in 80-ies of XVIII cent. under the influence of European Enlightment. The proponents of Gaskala strived for the development of unreligious Jewish education, they supported cultural and social assimilation and opposed the domination of Orthodoxy in Jewish life. The postulate of unreligious education coincided with the plans of Austrian government about the Jewish assimilation. The compulsory school education for the Jewish children was introduced. The rules were violated at first which forced the government to intensify them. Thus, many German schools started opening especially for Jews. Jewish children could not attend heder unless they had the certificate confirming education in the German school. Additional rules were even more radical. These rules allowed the Jews getting married or being admitted to studies and study only on the basis of the certificate testifying to the fact that the person attended German school or studied German language at home. In Lviv special seminars were created for the Jewish teachers and were exempted from taxes. The inspector’s position was created in the Jewish school headed by the Czech maskil Herz Homberg. He founded 48 schools in Stryi, Dolyna, etc. and four years later 51 schools more (among them the schools in Kalush, Zhuravno and Bolekhiv). The importance of Jewish community in Bolekhiv is testified by the fact that when in 1849 Jewish schools were opened in Lviv and Stanislav, Bolekhiv maskil Zeligg Girsch Mandschein was invited to their opening.

In 1910 Bolekhiv encountered 4000 residents. Out of which 5.5% were Greek Catholics, 14.9%, - Catholics and 78% were Jewish. Bolekhiv community of Jews was the biggest, as compared to the other towns and cities of Halychyna. During the First World War most of Jews emigrated, therefore, their amount was only 25% from the whole city population. During the inter-war period the Jews were mostly merchants and workers of plants. In 1931 2, 986 Jews resided in the city. Since 1924 most gmina representatives belonged to the Zionist organizations. They had a strong influence on the social affairs of Bolekhiv.

During the World War ІІ during the Soviet occupation all Jewish institutions were dismissed. The economic situation aggravated. When Slovak and Hungarian armies entered the city (3 July 1941), some Ukrainian anti-Jewish statements were pronounced. On 4 July the massacre took place during which Jews were robbed and beaten. In August the German power was established. The Judenrat was created and headed by Ruffenzaim. The persecution of Jews and forcing to the heavy physical works started right after the Nazis entered the city. However, the first mass murders of Jews took place later.

The first campaign was conducted on 28-29 October 1941. During the raid many Jews were tortured (10 cars with the dead people were reported). Those who remained, intelligence at most, were forced to the building where the Red army was based, and later transported to the place of execution near Taniava (Ivano-Frankivsk region). 750 persons were shot. During those events Ruffenzaim (head of Judenrat) committed a suicide. In late 1941 Schindler has become the head of Judenrat. Those who survived the campaign were transferred to ghetto in Bolekhiv. Ghetto was not closed, however, it could be left only for works. In April 1942 on the territory of the Jewish cemetery in the village of Dovzhka 450 Jews were shot (second campaign). In June 1942 in Bolekhiv and the surrounding villages 4, 281 Jews resided, out of which 1, 588 were on compulsory labors. In August 1942 Jews from the surrounding villages were relocated to Bolekhiv. The third campaign took place on 3-5 September 1942 року. Hundreds of Jews were transported to Stryi, and later to the death camp in Belzhka. German gendarmes participated in this campaign, as well as Ukrainian police, Jewish police and police security subdivision. After that about 2, 500 Jews were left in the city. In October-November 1942 part of Jews was relocated to Stryi. At that time only 1, 748 Jewish workers were left in the city. In December 1942 the Jews which worked in Bolekhiv were transferred to Koshary. Everything took place along with the ghetto liquidation. Jews in the city were shot by Germans in July 1942 during the fourth campaign. They were buried on the Jewish cemetery in Bolekhiv. At the same time Bolekhiv Jews were shot in Stryi.

Some demographical data of Bolekhiv: in 1765 1, 300 Jews lived in the city, in 1859 — 2,700 Jews which constituted 73% of the population, in 1890 — 3, 323, and in 1,921 — 2, 433, which amounted to about 80% of local population. Before Second World War 2, 986 Jews lived in the city.

In 1910 out of 4, 000 residents of Bolekhiv 78% were Jews which was the highest figure in Halychyna. Today there are no Jews in Bolekhiv, and the last Jew quitted the city in 2003. In 1944 Bolekhiv has become the district center of Bolekhiv district which was liquidated in 1964, and Bolekhiv was integrated in Dolyna district. Bolekhiv was given the status of the city of regional jurisdiction. In 1990 the monument to the victims of the Second World War was arranged.

ArcheologyDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Archaeological findings of the work equipment of the Bronze Era show that on this territory people resided since the Bronze Era. Among archaeological findings of Bolekhiv the mammoth’s tusks were excavated from the depth of 4-5 meters, petrified imprint of the tooth of woolly rhinoceros. Later epochs are represented by the memorials of the primitive work equipment of the human of neolith epoch. Here several stone hammers and axes are shown as well as the chisels and stack stands from Bolekhiv and surrounding villages, copper socketed axe from the village of Kavny (Kalny), remnants of other antiquity.

Religious institutions
There were three synagogues in Bolekhiv which were the centers of religious life for the Hasid community, traditional Jews and reformed Jews. There were plenty of followers of Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism.

Hevra Kadisha – funeral house located in Bolekhiv gathered once a year before the Sukott for gathering the contributions for organization. The house provided the ritual services.

Civil InstitutionsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Gaskala in Bolekhiv

Jewish enlightment (Gaskala) became popular in XVIII century. Then a lot of unreligious schools were created for the Jews. Nechemia Landes belonged to the third generation of maskils, 1835-1899. In 1879 he graduated from gymnasium and stayed in Lviv. Nechemia did a lot for the reformation of Jewish life in Halychyna, in particular for education. He issued the journal “Ben Chananja”.

Zionist organizations

In1890-s a lot of Zionist organizations was established. The information on them may be found in "Die Welt” (the World) weekly. The first organization in Bolekhiv was “Tikwat Izrael”, 1894 (the Hope of Israel). One of the well-known members was Berish Bikl. In 1911-1913 the courses were organized held by the teacher Khuna-Khanan-Gendel. The organization “Bnot Sion” (the Daughters of Zion) was responsible for their conducting.

In Bolekhiv the youth Zionist movement existed, in particular Tzeirei Zion. The young activists participated in the discussions, debates and conversations with their opponents. The first Chalutzims lived in the city in 1920-s. They founded the Cheftzi-Bah and Beit Alfa. Among them such persons as Berchi Josefsberg, Akiva Fruchter, Moshe Klenbard, Hodaya Rosenbaum, Moshe Reiss, Rachtzia Schorr, Ruchtzia Schindler and Yechezkel Schlifka.

Financial groups

In early 20-s due to the financial aid of American Joint Distribiution Committee the Jewish bank was founded in Bolekhiv.


The primary Jewish schools – heders worked in Bolekhiv. At the end of XVIII century among the Jews of Bolekhiv the Gaskala ideas become increasingly popular. This movement was developed under the influence of the educational slogans in European countries, special attention was given to the unreligious education for Jews, cultural and social assimilation, in contrast to the Jewish orthodoxy. These postulates coincided with the policy of Austrian government who tried to assimilate the Jews. The Children had to attend schools. At first the Jews did not fulfill their obligations which caused the aggravations – the German schools for Jews started opening. Each Jewish kid who was going to attend heder had to have the certificate of graduation from the German school. The following prescriptions were even harsher – the Jew could get married, work or study only having the graduation certificate of German school (or certificate of studying the German language at home). In Lviv special seminars were arranged for the Jewish teachers and were exempted from taxes.

Special position of Jewish school inspector was created and Hertz Homberg was appointed to it. He founded 48 schools in Dolyna, Stryi, and other cities, and after four years 51 schools more in Kalush, Zhuravno and Bolekhiv. In Bolekhiv Yakiv Blumental lectured, and the school itself was only for boys. The girls studied in Lviv and Brody. In 1801 Homberg left Halychyna, therefore the unreligious schools did not open anymore in Halychyna. Instead, the Jewish schools started opening, which combined studying of Torah with non-religious sciences. The importance of local teachers may be testified by the fact that Bolekhiv maskil Zelig Hirsch Mandschein was invited to the opening of school in Stanislav and Lviv.

Urban planningDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

The first written mention of "Bolekhiv lands" is dated 1371 when the settlement was mentioned in the grant of Hungarian queen Elizabeth. In the early XVI century in Bolekhiv, on Stara Bania the saline was constructed. At the same time the wooden city fortifications were built, which were destructed by Tatars in 1562. The place where the fortified yard of the saline owner Amaliia Grosovska was located, is still known as “Grosivka”. The saline past of Bolekhiv is now reminded of only by the three salt hills on the city arms. In the second half of XVI century Bolekhiv villages were transferred to Mykola Gedzinsky. He reconstructed the saline, built the castle, two churches. One of the churches was built of the stone, fortified and had two underground passages leading to the castle.

In 1603 the king Zigmund ІІІ Wasa grants the Magdeburg right to the city. Transfer from the “Rus and Polish” right to the “German” presupposed quick development of city, trade and crafts. The Magdeburg right exempted the city residents from „any power, jurisdiction and dominance of voivodes, chastelains, village chiefs, and other sergeants of Polish Kingdom.” „German” right was granted to the city which had the castle, townhouse, market where many craftsmen resided, annual multi-day fairs. The family arms of Khodorivskys and Gedzinskys has become the Bolekhiv arms, the city quits the king’s jurisdiction and receives the right to self-government. Since that time many Polish siege craftsmen and Jewish merchants come to Bolekhiv. The nature of the resident’s activities determined the natural peculiarities: natural plantations of beech and oak trees developed the wood processing industry; deposits of salt – salt masing; pastures – dairy and meat cattle breeding. Good communication facilitated Bolekhiv becoming one of the biggest trading centers of Carpathian region. And wholesale trading of cattle, processed leather, salt, barrels, leather goods, has become the key craft of local craftsmen and merchants of the early modern epoch.

The city was ruled by the bailiff with the council and magistrate. The bailiff heading the magistrate considered the court cases, and council considered the administrative and economic cases. Giving the Magdeburg right to the towns, the kings pursued several goals: facilitate the quick development of the towns’ economy, their extension, settle the weekly populated territories which became the reliable support of the kings’ power in Ukraine. Such cities became the fortresses in case of the enemy’s aggression, and trading centers where the retail and wholesale trading took place.

Jews settled in the city on the invitation of the owner Mykolay Gedzynsky. All the qahal buildings were exempted from taxes. The owner was friendly to Jews which is testified by the fact that they could be the mayor’s counselors along with the Christians. Gedzhynskyi facilitated the development of trading in the city. The Jewish people were not subjected to the municipal court, and the complaints against Jews could only be filed to the city owner. The Jews had their own independent court and dayan (judge) represented community in magistrate.

In XVII century the city started declining because of the frequent raids of Tatars and Cossacks. In 1669 the castle near Bolekhiv was burned in Zhydachiv together with all the documents, privileges related to Bolekhiv. At that time the residents of Bolekhiv chose Leib Ilkowich and Lipman Lazarowich as their representatives who were responsible for the introduction of new books. Documents of those times which regulated the relations between the owner and gmina were burned in the mentioned fire. In 1678 Jews received the financial aid (in the form of credit) from Grzegorz Gedzinsky, the city owner of those times and from Lviv bishop. At that time the first German colonists came to Bolekhiv and settled in Bukovka, Kozakivka, Kryve (they called those places in their manner: Pekhersdorf or Yammerstal).

In XVIII centuries Jews were the biggest national community of the city (80% of population). However, Bolekhiv qahal which included 13 surrounding schools was the smallest in the region. Qahals in Lviv and Brody encountered 7,000persons each, and Brody was called the «small Israel». Jews dealt mostly with the crafts and trade. There were many salt mines near the city, therefore, many Jews dealt with the raw materials trading. The salt was sold for cash and was exchanged for grain and other products and sold at the fairs and in the other cities, including in Brody and Lviv. In 1711 Yakiv Golevi Gorovits (1679-1754) has become the Bolekhiv Rabin. He took the place of his father Meyer who was Zolochiv Rabin. With the time Yakiv Yoykel left Bolekhiv and became the Rabin in Brody and his son Mordke took his position.

In 1860 three leather processing plants operated in Bolekhiv (total production amount was 41 thousand leathers a year, the plant gave 138 working positions to the city). Local leather and leather bottoms were given to the army, spread around Halychyna and were given for export). There were about 40 sewers in the city. In Bolekhiv of ХІХ century the woolen cloth was also produced – it was thick not very tender, not for ladies. Even during Soviet times leather remained Bolekhiv specialty (therefore on the ruins of Bolekhiv synagogue the letters “Leather maker’s club” are still visible). The leather production since long ago was one of the main crafts in Bolekhiv. In ХІХ- ХХ centuries a lot of leather workshops operated here, and in the Soviet times professional «profile» of the city has not changed. However, big leather plants have brought a lot of sufferings. For the whole period of operation of these enterprises local residents suffered from the toxic emission of leather production. Nowadays as much as three leather plants work in the small town.

The saline was quite important in the city development. Bolekhiv was famous for the saline springs. The development of settlement was to some extent conditioned by the salt deposits here. The first plant in Bolekhiv – the saline – was constructed on the territory of Stara Bania by Emilia Grosovska in 1546 (although the salt extraction in the city started much earlier). The salt brine which was drawn from the wells with the ox skins contained about 30% of salt. The salt brine was boiled to rags on the flat wide metal vessels under which the fire was burning. The boiled salt was scrabbled from outside, dried and put into the conic vessels. Having dried completely the salt acquired the conic form, it was packaged and transported in the barrels. The salt was transported through the so-called “saline path” to Hungary, Poland, Baltics, and East Ukraine. The high-quality Carpathian salt was very much valued. Essential amount of Bolekhiv salt during Austrian and Polish times was exported to the Eastern Europe.

In 1562 the saline along with the fortified yard and Grosovska’s family was ruined by Tatars. By the way, the place where the yard of the saline owner was located is still known as Grosivka. In the second half of XVI the saline was reconstructed by Mykola Gedzinskyi who owned the city.

After the termination of Gedzkinsy’s reign in the early XVIII century separate parts of Bolekhiv belonged to different Polish families. Yoakhim Pototsky owned the saline. In 1774 image of three pieces of salt was transposed from the arms of Pototskyis family to the city arms. In 1789 Joakhim Pototskyi gave the part of Bolekhiv together with the saline to the Austrian government which monopolized the salt making industry.

The extraction technology changed gradually during several centuries. Modern building was erected at the time of the plant prosperity in the mid XIX century. Then the wells 150 meters deep were used for the salt brine excavation. The salt brine was stored in the wooden containers. From those containers the salt brine was transported through the pipeline to the boiling tubes. Through the high chimneys the steam was going outside, and the precipitating salt was drawn and dried. It was quite an exhausting work, as the work was conducted under the condition of high temperatures, and breathing the acrid vapor. Despite this, the plant was valued by its workers.

In 1874 the Bolekhiv salt plant as one of the most successful enterprises of the sphere in Halychyna encountered 49 workers and 10 officers. The plant produced from 50 to 70 thousand centners of salt. Since those times the wind band was founded at the plant which existed till mid 60-s of XX century.

After the war all small private enterprises of Bolekhiv were liquidated. Only the biggest plants and factories survived, the main commercial enterprises, in particular, the saline. The company had its own electric power station, smith shop and locksmith shop. During the Soviet times, in the second half of XX century the salt making at the plant was completely automated (the salt drawing equipment was installed, as well as the centrifuge for the primary drying, new packaging machines). Bolekhiv salt was considered the best and was instantly cleaned out from the local and Ukrainian shop counters. In 70-s Bolekhiv exported the salt to Moscow, sending one wagon daily. But due to the growing of the prices to natural gas, the gasified process of salt making has become too unprofitable; Donbas and Zakarpattia regions have become stronger competitors with the deposits of cheap rock salt. Gradually the equipment became outdated, ancient technologies have become too energy-consuming.

In 1996 the production at Dolyna salt plant was stopped. Winter damaged the building a lot. Main production facilities were transported to Bolekhiv, where twice as many salt makers worked. Bolekhiv people produced the salt and Dolyna people packaged it. The products of Bolekhiv salt plant (100 g salt polyethylene packages) did not stay long on the shop counters. However, the production has soon declined and ceased at all.

In late ХХ century with the participation of German and Jewish capital the following was built: oil refinement, sawmill, leather plant, brick plant, chair plant, furniture plant, vinegar plant, match factory, box factory, the salt making was improved.

EthnographyDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Pesah Customs in Bolekhiv

The preparation to Easter, one of the biggest Jewish holidays was very thorough. From memoirs about Bolekhiv preparations we learn about nine stages of preparation to the holiday. Some months before the holiday the people were already thinking about preparation. There was a tradition to make wine of raisins. Women prepared different beverages of the forest berries, cherry, raspberry which grew in that district. They were stored in the bottles. In the middle of winter, approximately at Hanukkah they cut the ducks. After that they dissolved the grease and separated tasty brown cracklings used for the Easter products, pudding and soufflé. This task was very important. The grease was stored in clay ports. This custom was passed from generation to generation. Borscht fermenting was prepared beforehand – the beet-root was cut into slices and put into the clean water and the vessel was covered for fermentation and maturation.

Baking of matza was a common task. Every housewife baked matza according to the number of family members in certain sequence. The procedure was as follows: the space was chosen in the room and bleached. Then long smooth tables were placed. The furnace was located in the kitchen near the room. The neighbors and kids helped in the procedure – the girls worked the dough, brought and helped. For kids matzalachs were baked. At this time the atmosphere was joyful. Big amount of matza was baked before the holiday. Baked matza was put into big baskets and covered with white cloth.

Traditionally new clothes were sewed for everyone and the shoes were bought, which was quite unexpected for the poor families. Before the holiday everything was cleaned, bleached, the streets, houses, yards were cleaned as well. Before using new vessels were immersed in water. Common baking of matza, common help looked like the whole event. At that time the prices went down.

The construction and architectural monumentsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Old synagogue (1789)

In Bolekhiv still there is a synagogue dated by the late XVIII century. It was built in 1789 in the place of an old wooden ark and in 1808 it was reconstructed. During USSR synagogue was used as the culture centre. However, with the time the building was emptied which caused its destruction. In Bolekhiv there was the reformed synagogue and Haside kloitz but they haven’t survived till now.


Bolekhiv kirkut is located on the hill at the end of the city, entrance from Marasyvska street. There are 2000-3000 tombs on the cemetery of which the oldest comes from 1648. About 50 meters from fraka there is a grave of well-known Dov Ber Birkental known as Ber from Bolekhiv. Ber was a merchant, writer and memorialist. On the matz of Ber Birkental the following epitaph is written:"Here the well-known sincere elder rests, Dov Ber, the son of Yeguda Birkental. May his soul be bound in the garland of eternal life”. The wife of Ber from Bolekhiv, Leia, the daughter of Yegoshua, is buried nearby.

Christian memorials

Holy Paraskeva’s temple

Built in 1899. It was a wooden church at first. It acquired its modern architectural appearance before the II World War in 1939. Its construction was initiated by the rev. Volodymyr Sukhyi in 1938 and lasted for a year. It was built in traditional Ukrainian-Byzantine style. For the years of the Soviet ruling it was a warehouse (1946), and later – the museum of atheism (1964). Due to the endeavors of rev. Yaroslav Lesiv the church started functioning again and opened its door for the laypeople in 1989.

St. Anna’s Church

Long ago there was a wooden church of St. Basil the Great here, and the monastery was located nearby, where the monks copied the liturgical books. As a result of reform conducted by the Austrian Emperor Joseph ІІ the monastery and church were destructed. Instead of the old in 1870 the new church appeared – the Church of St. Anna Dormition.

The Church of the Holy Women was built back in XVII century (wooden). It was restored in 1793 and 1868. The priest Ivan Ozarkevych who moved to Bolekhiv in 1884 engaged in the construction of new temple which exists till now. In 1909 the church was baptized by the metropolitan Andrey Sheptytskyi. In May 2009 on the occasion of celebrating the 100s anniversary the church was granted the status of cathedral.

Roman-Catholic Church of Holy Mother Ascension

The church was built in 1607. Its founder was the Polish arms holder Mykola Gedzhinsky. In 1730-1738 after the fire which ruined the church, the new stone sanctuary was build for Poniatovskyi’s funds. In 1739 the Archbishop of Vyzhytsia baptized the new high altar of Holy Virgin Mary Dormition. In 1785 due to the bad foundation the church collapsed, the services were conducted in the old wooden sanctuary of Holy Christ (built in XVI-XVII cent.). There is no exact date of construction of the new stone temple. But it is known that in 1838 the temple was baptized. It functioned until 1956. During Soviet times the church premises were used as a gym for school, later – as the books warehouse, and later in 1971 three shops were annexed to it. Since 1991 the church was given back to the laity, at that time the shops were dismantled. In1992 the Archbishop of Yavoriv re-baptized the church of Virgin Mary Dormition. In 1994-2000 the temple was restored from interior. In 2000 the new altar was constructed. Architectural style – Gothic was transfromed into Classicism.

Other monuments

Townhouse. Was constructed in 1861, although founded back in XVIII century. Bolekhiv received Magdeburg right in 1603, at that time the premises for the city magistrate started being constructed. There is no detailed description of the ancient townhouse. Modern townhouse is located in the city center in I. Franko Square. This is a small one-storey building, trapezoidal in the plan. The tower wallows above the entrance. The clock is inbuilt on the tower on the level of the third floor. The tower clock (constructed by the Lviv clockmaker Oleksiy Burnaev) strikes the hours and quarters, and plays different melodies. The tower is completed by original roof, decorated with the figured turrets with the spires. The architectural style is Romanticism. The townhouse belongs to the architectural monuments of local significance. Today the townhouse is used as intended – it houses Bolekhiv City Council.

Hotel Brukenstein in Bolekhiv was built in 1900-1905.

Residential buildings of the late ХІХ centuries in Konovaltsia Street.

Living house (villa) built in 4 Ye. Konovaltsia Street in late 19 century. Villa belonged to the Borenstains family. Architectural style is eclectics with the elements of secession. Today this is the premises of the delivery department of Bolekhiv central municipal hospital. It is the architectural monument of the local significance.

The houses of the well-known Ukrainian writer and organizer of women movement in Carpathian region Olha Kobylianska are preserved.

Green plantations memorialDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Arboretum Park is the garden arts monument, one of the oldest parks on the territory of Ivano-Frankivsk region. It was founded by the foresters in 1840-1850. Its area is 3 ha. The history of the garden arts “the Arboretum Park” starts from the mid XIX century when the “Directorate of the forests and state properties” was based in Bolekhiv. At that time, near the administrative building the woodmen and enthusiasts planted the young trees brought from the Austrian, German, Italian beds. Besides, the material was grown from seeds, brought from France and North America and experimented with the other plantations. Thus, the whole botanic collection was created which encountered more than two hundreds of the species of wood which occupied the area of over 6 hectares. However, in the late ХІХ century the collection was transferred to Lviv, and the houses and park were transferred for use by the Primary Forest school founded in 1883 (later – National School of Woodmen). It has become the third woodmen school in Austro-Hungary and the first forest school. The dendropark developed as the workers and students indulged in the selection experiments. They enlarged the collection of species and garden forms from Quercus, they grew such exotic at those times plants as: Larix eurolepis, Larix japonica, Thuja occidentalis, Tsuga canadensis, Chamaecyparis lavso-niana, Gleditschia triacanthos, Phellodendron amurense, Tilia euchlora, Сагуа alba, Сагуа laciniosa Lour, etc

Since the time when the State school for woodmen becomes prestigious and popular in the region, Arboretum Park was becoming increasingly popular, and has become one of the samples of the dendrological heritage in Carpathian region. The prosperity of dendro-park ended with the coming of the Soviet epoch to the territory of Western Ukraine. The pillage terminated only after the Second World War, probably due to the renovation of the forest school. But after the end of war and closing of school the park territory was subdivided into several parts.

Non-material valuesDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

The most well-known Jew was Dov Ber of Bolechow, 1723-1805, merchant of wine, who lived in the town in XVIII century and left the bright, detailed memoirs describing the social, cultural and political life of Jewish communities of those times in Halychyna and Hungary. He wrote about everything: how tough it was to negotiate the discount on a good wine, how to live through the long period of transportation of the goods bought to the native town, and what practices were in operation at customs of those times. He wrote about difficulties with money exchange between the countries, about drunken drivers, about the well-known Hasidic scholar from Hungary Isaac Taub (tzaddik from Nagikallo), about rivers covered with ice, about ordering of the luxurious golden ritual items from Lviv craftsman in 1765 (gift to his acquaintances), about cunning and unfaithful business partners, etc. His manuscript was found in 1912 and translated into several languages. There is the grave of Dov Ber in Bolekhiv kirkut. The bear and bunch of grapes on the matzev.

In Bolekhiv the Hasidic movement was popular. Baal Shem Tov found a lot of followers in the town. In “Geschichte des Chassidismus” it is written that for the last ten years of his life Beshta (shortened from Baal Shem Tov, died in 1760) has become very popular in Podillia, Volyn and Halychyna, and at the time of his death the number of his followers constituted 40, 000. However, the exact number of tzaddik as of now in Bolekhiv is not known.

The first generation of maskils in Bolekhiv was represented by Rabin Girsch Goldenberg. He was even known in the school for Rabines in Padiv and even corresponded with the Rabin there. The sons of Rabin Girsch Goldenberg - Shmuel Leib, 1807-1846, Yakiv and Zelig Cwi Mandschein, 1812-1872, were the second generation of Rabins. In 1830 Shmuel Leib published the book on the maskils’ movement. In 1833-1843 Karem Khemed was issued. Yakiv and Zelig Cwi Mandschein published the Journal „Ha-Shachar” (the Dawn), where he opposed the Hasidic doctrine. 

Museums, archives, collections of books, private collectionsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Museum of Bolekhiv history. 7000 objects exhibited.

The museum was founded on 28 November 1967 by the local historian, enthusiast Roman Teodorovych Skvoriy. The reason encouraging the gatherings was the preparation to the 40-s anniversary of death of Nataliia Kobrynska which fell on January 1960, as over 30 years of works of this writer and civil leader in Bolekhiv and outside left a deep trace in the memory of many generations. In 1964at the library the local studies room started operating.

In1970the museum was granted the status of Folk museum. The regional work of museums became quite popular, which was testified by the facts of new unique receipts for exposition: fragments of hand-written liturgical books of XVII century from the ancient monastery and church of the v. Dovzhka, the set of photos from the period of stay of well-known Ukrainian sculptor Mykhailo Cehreshniovsky (1939-1944), Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytskyi (1909) in Bolekhiv. The valuable gift was given from Stryi — musical score written by T. Bobrynskyi to the emigrants song with the personal stamp of N. Kobrynska. On 14 April 1999 according to the order of the Administration of Culture of Ivano-Frankivsk region state administration the museum became the state museum. It occupies six halls. Exposition consists of the following sections:

«History of Bolekhiv City»

«Boikivska Svitlytsia»

«Development of industry, education, and culture in 20-30-ies of ХХ century»

«The Second World War, victims of fascists and Bolsheviks’ occupation»

«National and spiritual renovation of our region»

«Struggle of Ukrainian people for the establishment of its national identity»

Book by Daniel Mendelson «Lost. In search of six million» - through the memoirs tells about the life in Bolekhiv before and during Holocaust.

Places of memory
In place of the mass massacre of Jews near the Taniava forest the memorial sign was placed.

The forced labor camp for Jews existed from January 1942 through August 1943. After the large-scale liquidation campaign of 13 July 1943 about thousand and a half forced workers stayed in Bolekhiv and on 25 August 1943 they were shot. They are buried in Jewish cemetery and other unknown places.

Tourist infrastructureDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Oazis Hotel

8 Petrushevycha Str., Bolekhiv, phone (03437) 3-32-82.

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Author: Bozhena Zakaliuzna