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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Volodymyr-Volynsky - Cultural Heritage Card

Volodymyr-Volynskyi is a center of the homonymous district in Volyn Region, located in its south-western part, at the North-Western border of the Volyn highland, on the Luga right bank. Its total area makes up 16.05 square kilometers.

Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Assumption Cathedral Church
Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Assumption Cathedral Church (Author: Bertash, Borys)

Volodymyr-Volynskyi is 550 km far from Kyiv, 150 km far from Lviv, 76 km far from Lutsk – the Volyn Region center, 50 km far from Kovel – railway junction, 15 km far from the Polish border, 100 km far from the Belarus border, 800 km far from Odessa sea port. It used to be called Volodymyr till 1795.

The city was developed due to favourable geographic location at the crossroad of land and water trade ways, in particular, at the famous way from the Vikings to the Greeks connecting the North Europe and the Mediterranean sea, as shown by archeological findings, especially from Byzantine Empire, Middle East and West Europe.

Volodymyr-Volynskyi is located at the border between the Volyn highland and Volyn woodland. The Polissia moors and flood plain of the Luga penetrate into the wave-shaped relief of the highland. Its coordinates are 50°51' North and 41°58' East. The city is located at the high right bank of the Luga – right tributary of the Western Bug (mouth of the Luga is located near the town of Ustylug). In respect of micro-relief, the Luga flows from the eastern to the western part of the city, through its Southern suburb, in the moor valley having a plenty of some large or small water areas with reed. In the area Bily Beregy (White Banks) the river valley gets narrow and the river flows across the chalk highland from the south to the north. Thus, the Luga flows across the southern part of the city. Its tributary, the Smocha, flows from the moor in the north-eastern suburb of the city, through its center and around the highest hill of Zamczysko. The riverbed is swampy while its banks are low. The Rylavytsia flows to the east from the City, across the Provallia, and detaches other northern and western suburbs. The Western Bug, the Luga, the Smocha and the Rylavytsia belong to the Baltic Sea basin. A significant part of the city, in particular, its northern, eastern and south-eastern parts, also used to be moors, as well as the moor of Zhydivka (its local toponym).

The peculiarity of this area is combination of two geographic landscapes – Polissia and Podillia joint by natural territorial complexes of river valleys. Such micro-geographical conditions facilitated a unique combination of valleys and highlands which facilitated a local system of some districts of the city.

Under the geological aspect, the basic chalk layers are covered with loessial and black soils. The West Ukrainian forest-steppe physic-geographical region where Volodymyr-Volynskyi is located has the following typical complexes: broad-leaved woods with grey and dark-grey bleached soils, forest-steppe with bleached, black and re-graded soils, meadow-steppe with black soils, as well as meadow and swamp landscapes.

In general the city is located at the plain landscape, though there are hills in the center.

HistoryDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Both Volodymyr and Volyn have a multiple history. Our region faced various cultures, ethnic societies, faiths and religions from the ancient time.

But lifestyle of the Jews in the Volyn is still rarely studied. According to historical sources, the Jewish society lived at the territory of modern Ukraine for several centuries. They settled the territory of modern Ukraine even before Christian period. In the 9th – 10th centuries small groups of the Jews from Khazar Khaganate appeared in Kyiv for the first time. They chose Kyiv as an important trade center. Due to trade activity of the Jewish merchants the city located at the trade way between East and West Europe became an important point visited by the German merchants.

In 988 the Prince Volodymyr Sviatoslavovych granted the city of Volodymyr to Vsevolod – his youngest son among twelve. The city was founded by the prince at the right bank of the Luga, tributary of the Western Bug. But some historians state that the city existed even before the Prince Volodymyr the Great, as a pagan settlement of LAdomyr.

The city was enforced as an administrative and political center in late 12th century. A separate prince dynasty appeared at the Volyn. Its most famous representatives are Roman Mstyslavovych (1155-1205) who managed to unite the Galychyna abd the Volyn in 1199 and its sons, Danylo Galytskyi (1201-1264) known as the first Ukrainian king and his brother Vasylko (1204-1271).

For one and a half century the city of Volodymyr was a capital of the Galytskyi-Volyn Princedom which became one of the most powerful East European States after the Kyiv Russ split up.

The ancient Volodymyr prospered for that period. In the 13th century it became one of the most beautiful European cities. Its fortresses amazed the coevals. As stated by the Hungarian King Andrew in 1231, he never saw similar fortresses even in Germany. Craft, architecture, art was developed much. Works of the Volodymyr masters were highly appreciated in other countries. The city was a large educational and cultural center. The Galytskyi-Volyn Chronicle was created there (1201-1299) as the precious source of the Russ history.

The Mongol and Tatar invasions in 1241 caused large damage to the city. Both warriors and citizens tried to defend the city courageously but the enemies captured and destroyed Volodymyr. The city was restored quickly but the Volyn belonged to the Zolota Orda for a long time. The Mongol and Tatar invasions repeated.

The Galytskyi-Volyn Princedom degraded since 1340. The city appeared at the territory of Lithuania, while from the 16th century is was included to the Polish Republic (Rzecz Pospolita). For that period Volodymyr developed as a large tradecraft center. It got multinational: the Ukrainians, the Poles, the Jews, the Germans, the Tatars, the Armenians, the Czechs settled there. Representatives of various nationalities, cultures and religions developed that ancient city for the whole centuries.

The largest migration of the Jews to Ukraine started after the Liublin Union in 1569. They moved from Poland to the Ukrainian territory belonging to Rzecz Pospolita at that time.

The Volodymyr College was founded in 1670. It was an educational institution devoted to studying philosophy, nature studies and foreign languages.

In 1772, due to the Polish splitting-up, the Galychyna appeared at the territory of Habsburg Empire. In order to provide a sort of arguments, the Austrian monarchy called the new region the Kingdom of Galychyna and Volodymyria, since the emperors treated themselves as heirs of Hungarian Kings who pretended to the title in the Galytskyi-Volyn Kingdom in early 13th century. Such names were used in the official Austrian documents till 1918, though Volodymyr never belonged to Austria. It belonged to the Polish Republic till 1795. In 1793 the Polish Seym voted for creating the Volodymyr Voyevodstwo. But such proposal was not accepted because under the third Polish splitting-up the West Volyn (including Volodymyr) joined the Russian Empire. By the order of Catherine the Second, the city was renamed as Volodymyr-Volynskyi in order to distinguish from the Region center of Volodymyr upon Kliazma. The city became a county center in the Volyn province. For that period it ceased to be a trade center and became a small peripheral town.

In 1915-1918 the troops of the Ukrainian Sich Archers based in the city. They provided assistance to inhabitants and established the four-grade Taras Shevchenko School in 1916.

In 1921, under the Riga Treaty, Volodymyr-Volynskyi joined Poland till 1939.

The Second World War was a serious trouble for the city. The German aviation bombed it in 1939.

In 1939-1941 the city belonged to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as a district center of Volyn Region.

Population of the Jews increased due to the flow of Polish refugees escaping the fascist invasion. As compared to 38 thousands of inhabitants, the Jews made up nearly 18 thousands for that period.

In June 1941 Volodymyr-Volynskyi faced the battles between the German troops and the Red Army.

The fascist capture for 1941-1944 was one of the most terrible moments in history of that ancient city. Before invasion of the German troops, the center was bombed (the Jew families settled just in center). The fascist repressions touched, first of all, the Jews. They were turned into slaves and tortured. In August – September 1942 the Jews from Volodymyr were murdered finally. Mass executions took place near the village of Piatydni. Under various calculations, 25 thousands of Jews were murdered there. Only single persons could escape. Such tragedy impacted the further development of the Jew historical and cultural heritage.

The fascists murdered the Jews, the peaceful citizens, captured young people, tortured ten thousands of prisoners in the concentration camp “Nord-Oflag 365”.

The city was released from fascists on the 20th of July 1944. After the war Volodymyr-Volynskyi became one of the industrial centers. New industrial enterprises were created, the city infrastructure was renewed. During the Soviet period Volodymyr-Volynskyi got its up-to-date image. The new historical period started in 1991 when the city appeared at the territory of independent Ukraine.

The Jews inhabiting Volodymyr-Volynskyi have a long history for over 800 years. The Jew document always mentioned Liudmyr from the ancient times (similar to Ladomyr), thus we may suppose that the first Jews appeared there probably before the Christian period.

First mentioning, name, privilegesDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

First mentioning

In the 7th – 8th centuries the Arabian Merchant Al-Massoudi described in details the Volyn including the territory of modern Volodymyr. There are interesting data in chronicles about the Valinians and their king Madjar as the strongest king in the Eastern Europe. He united the people to a large and strong state. We do not know the period of existing such political formation but somewhere in the 9th century, due to frequent wars with neighbours (or maybe with Roman capturers) the state split up to several small princedoms, a sort of policy towns. Maybe the city of Volodymyr originated from such policy town.

We can find the data about the city foundation in manuscripts of the Hungarian chronologist Anonymus who was a notary of the king Bela the Fourth (1233–1270). He stated in the work “Hesta Hungarorum” (Activities of the Hungarians) that the city of Volodymyr (Lodomyr) existed in the 9th century. In 986-988, due to military marches of Volodymyr Sviatoslavovych, the Prince of Kyiv, a town located at the bank of the Luga appeared under the Prince’s protectorate, while previously it had been independent for several centuries. Firs mentioning in written form goes back to 988. In the chronicle “The Tale of Bygone Years” the Prince Volodymyr founded the city but transferred it to his youngest son Vsevolod to administration. Meantime the Prince Volodymyr converted the town upon the Luka to the important defense point at the western border of the Lyiv Russ. Vsevolod’s successors were sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of Yaroslav the Wise.


According to the ancient chronicles, its initial name was Lodomyr.

It was called Volodymyr from the late 12th century, after being enforced as an administrative and political center. After the third splitting-up of Poland, West Volyn (including Volodymyr) joined Russia. By the order of Catherine the Second, the city was renamed as Volodymyr-Volynskyi in order to distinguish from the Region center of Volodymyr upon Kliazma.

It was called Wladzimerz in 1921 – 1939.


For the first settlement (which turned out to be a town) the local inhabitants chose the most outstanding land plot among the lands suitable for settlement. It was a round and flat hill above the Luga river, with natural round-up panorama which became an epicenter of landscape, surrounded by swamp lowlands. This territory was unsuitable for agriculture and cattle breeding due to swampy landscape. As stated by researchers, most ancient cities were found in the regions favourable for agriculture with dense population of agrarians.

Granting the city privileges

The Magdeburg Law is one of the law types spread among the free city communities in the Medieval Ages. It was a system of state, criminal, civil and procedural regulations. Its name originated from the Saxon city of Magdeburg whose Charity was an example for obtaining the city privileges. Some scientists believe that Volodymyr-Volynskyi was the first city in the Volyn which obtained the Magdeburg Law in 1324. They refer to the letter of Volodymyr Community dated 1324 to the Government of Strahlsund in order to provide assistance for two citizens – brothers Bertram Rusyn and Nicolas, fixed by the seal with an image of St. George the Horseman. Unfortunately there are no other more important documents which could confirm such version. In particular, there is no privilege of providing the Magdeburg Law to the city of Volodymyr; thus it causes serious doubt regarding such statement. Therefore, 1324 shall not be treated as a year of providing the Magdeburg Law to the city. Mykhailo Grushevskyi supported such position too. This date was not also evidenced in the work “Prince’s town Volodymyr” made by Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi, the famous researcher of Volyn. There is only the privilege provided by the King Sigismund the First in 1509 which certifies providing the Magdeburg Law to the city of Volodymyr. We treat the city of Volodymyr as the first Ukrainian city which used some elements of the Magdeburg Law. The Magdeburg Law was provided by the Great Lithuanian Prince or by the Polish King, certified by the Magdeburg Documents – a sort of statutes of the West European cities.

Emblem, privileges, changes in administrative composition, demographic dataDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index


Volodymyr-Volynskyi had several emblems, as shown on preserved seals and their imprints. Cross and trident could be symbols of the city (as shown on the bricks used for church building). Trident was Prince Volodymyr’s coat-of-arms and cross was a symbol of Christianity he enlarged and enforced. As we know, the Magistrate used seals with images of St. George – Serpent Fighter which probably was inherited due to family relationship with Moscow Princes. The Viking Shield had an image of a horseman mounted on the white horse and fighting a serpent by means of spear. This coat-of-arms was used till late 18th century. In fact the symbol of St. George is shown on ancient seals and shields of Volyn princes as a symbol of straightforwardness, justice and bravery. According to legends, Saint Equal-to-the Apostles Prince Volodymyr provided a City Emblem – a horseman mounted on the white horse fighting a serpent by means of spear (approximately in 991). It remained almost unchanged till 1911.

In 1796, after the third splitting-up the Poland, Volodymyr was included to the Russian Empire and became a county ccnter in the Volyn Province. On the 12th of December 1796 a new emblem was provided. Its lower part contains the former symbol of Volodymyr while the upper part is decorated with a crowned two-headed eagle with the emblem of the Volyn Province on its chest and silver cross on the red background, as a symbol of the Russian Empire.

In the early 20th century, under the Tsar’s Order, the cities should have obtained the new emblems created under certain rules prescribed by the Order. On the 27th of March 1911 Volodymyr-Volynskyi obtained its own emblem based on the French shield with black background and horseman mounted on the white horse and holding a club, in order to be distinguished from the Moscow emblem. The right part contained the emblem of Volyn, i.e. red shield with white 4-ended cross. In the 20th century, when new emblems were designed and old ones were reviewed and reapproved, the emblem of Volodymyr-Volynskyi obtained a three-end crown and two golden spikes around the shield, bound by the Alexander’s Strip. This emblem combined history and modern period. The horseman on the emblem held a club instead of a spear.

The Soviet emblem, designed in 1987 by the 1000th anniversary of the first mentioning the city, preserved the old symbols: a serpent-fighting horseman on the Viking shield with stating the date 988 when the city was mentioned in chronicles for the first time. The horseman held a spear again. It was located in the middle of the French shield painted in the colours of state flag of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In the bottom there were white spikes on the blue stripe and in the upper part there was signed “Volodymyr-Volynskyi” with crossed sickle and hammer, the Soviet symbol.

Modern official symbol of Volodymyr-Volynskyi was approved by the Decision of City Council BNo.5/22 dd. the 12th of March 1999, without the author’s consent (designed by A. Kostiuk). The red quadrangular shield with semi-circle in the bottom has an image of St. George mounted on the silver horse, in silver clothes and with golden nimbus, in left hand holding a red shield with silver cross and in right hand holding a spear fighting the silver serpent. The shield is framed by the golden cartouche with a silver crown. St. George was shown even in 1324, on the Volodymyr’s seal. It is the most ancient Ukrainian city emblem among the known ones.


Flag of Volodymyr-Volynskyi was approved on the 12th of March 1999 at the Fifth Session of the Volodymyr-Volynskyi City Council of the twenty-second convocation. The flag has a square shape and consists of three vertical stripes (blue, yellow and blue with proportion of 2:1:2), with the red shield in the middle (its height makes one half of the flag) and white image of the Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Cathedral – an architectural monument of the 12th century.

Other privileges

After the Mongol and Tatar invasion the city faced decay and demographic crisis. So for the purpose of economic increase the power bodies provided all the possible conditions facilitation the flow of Jews. The Jewish migrants obtained some privileges – both economic (temporary release from taxation or permission on certain activities) and ideological ones (permission on keeping their own ethnic and religious traditions). In the 13th century, the Polish kings provided privileges to the Jews which remained in force even after inclusion of the city to the Great Lithuanian Kingdom in 1393. Most of the privileges for Jews complied with the Vienna Privilege of 1244 which provided internal court proceedings among the Jewish communities, proprietary and personal immunity and sanctions for violation thereof. In late 14th century the Great Lithuanian Prince Vitautas invited the Jews to his state and provided settlements not only in Lithuania but also at the Ukrainian territories occupied by Lithuania. He provided the right for the Jews from Lutsk and Volodymyr to inhabit his lands as well as privileges of peaceful relationship with the aborigines and free development of economic activity. In the privileges provided in 1570 by the King Sigismund August the Jews are mentioned for several times jointly with the citizens. For that time the Jews were released from any dues, except the tax on salt and wax.

Changes in administrative composition

988-1199 – the Kyiv Russ;

1199-1340 – the Galytskyi-Volyn Princedom;

1340-1569 – the Great Lithuanian Princedom;

1569–1795 – the Polish Republic (Rzecz Pospolita);

1795-1914 – the Russian Empire;

1915-1918 – the Austrian and Hungarian Empire;

1918-1921 – the Ukrainian People’s Republic;

1921-1939 – the Second Polish Republic (Rzecz Pospolita), under the Riga Treaty;

1939-1941 – the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, as the district center in Volyn Region;

1941-1944 – the fascist intervention;

1944-1991 - the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic;

1991-2014 – the independent Ukraine.

Demographic data about the ethnic composition:

According to the data provided by the Main Statistic Department (1931), territory of the Volodymyr County occupied 2207.7 square kilometers and inhabited 150364 persons (68.1 persons per 1 squar ekilometer). 23500 persons lived in the city itself, including 51% of Jews, 27% of Poles (including the militarists), 22% of Ukrainian. By the late 1934 the percentage of population has changed. According to the Volodymyr Magistrate, population of the city, despite joining the villages inhabited by the Ukrainians, made up 27177 persons, including 10406 Jews, 11210 Poles, 5025 Ukrainians, 283 Russians (including those who previously treated themselves as Ukrainians and belonged to “Prosvita”, but indeed there were a few families of true Russians), 246 Germans, 7 other ethnic groups, 127 Greek Catholicons.

As stated by Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi (“Prince’s town Volodymyr”, 1935), the city population as of 1861, 1911 and 1935 was the following:

As of 1861: 

  • Total – 8636 inhabitants.
  • Jews – 6122 (70,89%)
  • Ukrainians – 1778 (20,59%)
  • Poles – 723 (8,37%)
  • Evangelists – 13 (0,15%)

As of 1911:

  • Total – 15621 inhabitants.
  • Jews – 7060 (45,20%) 
  • Orthodox – 6610 (42,31%) 
  • Catholicons – 1901 (12,7%) 
  • Evangelists – 50 (0,32%)

As of 1935:

  • Jews – 10406 (38%)
  • Ukrainians – 5024 (18%)
  • Poles – 11210 (44%)

In late 18th century, a few dozens of Germans (pharmacists, craftsmen, gardeners) inhabited the city, From the 19th century, Volyn becomes one of the densest regions of German diasporas in Ukraine.

The Poles are deemed as one of the ethnic groups inhabiting the territory of Volodymyr for a long period, due to the border between Poland and Ukraine. Influence of the Polish culture got essential after the Liublin Union of 1569 when the territory of Volodymyr appeared in the Polish Kingdom. In 1921, under the Riga Treaty, Volodymyr was included to the Second Polish Respublic. Polish colonists settled near Volodymyr. Their villages were destroyed dueing the Second World War. Now the Polish community lives in the city.

Russian influence on the region got essential after 1795 when the Russian Empire annexed Volyn and Volodymyr. After release from the fascist intervention in 1944, the Russian-Speaking population increased due to militarists (a division was located nearby) and specialists from various regions of ex-USSR who arrived there to renew the economy.

The population comprises a slight percentage of the Armenians, Georgians, Azerbaijani.

Chronology of eventsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

  • 988 – First mentioning in writing
  • 991 – According to the legend, Saint Equal-to-the Apostles Prince Volodymyr provided a City Emblem – a horseman mounted on the white horse fighting a serpent by means of spear
  • 992 – Prince Volodymyr establishes eparchy in the city
  • 1156-1160 – The Uspenski (St. Dormition) Cathedral is erected by the Prince Mstyslav Iziaslavovych, great-grandson of Volodymyr Monomakh. It is the oldest church in the Volyn preserved from the period before Mongol invasion
  • 1199 – The city belongs to the Galytskyi-Volyn Princedom
  • 1201-1299 – The Galytskyi-Volyn chronicle is kept in the city as a valuable historical source for the Ukrainians
  • 1241 – The city is captured and destroyed by Mongol-Tatar troops
  • 13th century – The Roman Catholic Community is established
  • 13th – 14th centuries – St. Basil’s Church is erected. It is one of the most interesting architectural monuments of the ancient Volodymyr
  • 1340 – The city belongs to Lithuania
  • 1371 – Catholic Episcopate is established
  • 1497 – Dominican Monastery and St. Trinity’s Catholic Church are erected
  • 1569 – The city belongs to the Polish Republic (Rzecz Pospolita)
  • 16th century – St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s wooden church is erected, at the expense of Princess Anne of Zbarazh. Synagogue is also opened
  • 1670 – The Volodymyr College is established as an educational institution for studying philosophy, natural sciences and foreign languages
  • 18th century – The Polish noble lady Jadwiga Zagorowska establishes the Jesuit Mission. The Volodymyr College becomes one of the largest educational institutions at the Volyn for that period. St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s brick church is erected with the support of Adam Oranski, the Bishop of Lutsk
  • 1755-1770 – St. Christmas’s Cathedral is erected
  • 1770 – St. Christmas’s Cathedral is sanctified as the Catholic Church of St. Jesus’s Heart
  • 1780s – St. Nicolas’s Church is erected
  • 1795 – The city belongs to the Russian Empire and renamed as Volodymyr-Volynskyi by the Order of the Empress Catherine the Second, in order to be distinguished from the Volodymyr upon Kliazma
  • 1801 – The choral stone synagogue is erected
  • 1890 – German colonists erect the Lutheran Church in the city
  • 1892 – Due to the 900th anniversary, the St. Volodymyr’s Chapel of St. Volodymyr’s Eparchy is erected
  • 1908 – A military church for soldiers of the 149th Black Sea Troop of the Russian Army is erected
  • 1916 – The Sich Archers facilitate opening the Taras Shervchenko’s four-grade Ukrainian school
  • 1918 – The city belongs to the Ukrainian People’s Republic
  • 1921 – Under the Riga Treaty, the city belongs to Poland (till 1939)
  • 1939 – 1941 – The city belongs to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as a district center in Volyn Region
  • 1941 – Intervention of fascists
  • The 20th of July 1944 – The city is released from the fascist capture
  • 1947 – St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s church is closed by the Soviet power
  • Early 1950s – the choral stone synagogue is destroyed
  • 1987 – The Soviet emblem of Volodymyr-Volynskyi is adopted
  • 1988 – Slovianskyi Central Park is erected by the 1000th anniversary of the city
  • Since 1991 – Volodymyr-Volynskyi belongs to the independent Ukraine, St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s Church is renewed

ArchaeologyDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Development process of Volodymyr-Volynskyi had several stages. Ancient archeological monuments are shown both in the city itself (e.g. the Kindergarten Castle and the surrounding town) and in its suburbs (Bili Beregy, Fedorivka, Provallia, Lobachyn, Zaluzhia, Zarichia, Zapiatnychi). The territory is deemed to be inhabited in the Acheulean Period. As stated by Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi, the mammoth’s bones and tusks were found at the territory of the modern Volodymyr and Bili Beregy. In late Paleolithic and Mesolithic eras (12-5 thousand years ago) first hunters and fishers settled on the Luga banks and near the modern Volodymyr. Treasures of the Copper Age (silicon plates and products) are known in various places both in and around the city (mainly on the Lugy banks), changing each other. There co-existed early agricultural groups of population, such as Malytska. There were found products of Trypilska culture, round amphorae and early ceramics. Probably the main business there was agriculture but they were good at hunting too.

In late Copper – early Bronze Age (3-2 thousands B.C.) in the Volyn there were representatives of ceramics culture. But there is little evidence of ceramics – mainly fragments of ceramics, silicon axes and sickles. On the Luga bank there were discovered graves of Stryzhiv culture with two ritual vessels. Thus, in the Neolithic Period, Bronze and Iron Ages the Volyn attracted various ethnic groups involved in creation of the ancient Volodymyr. Early Slavic Period preceding the Princedom is quite enough expressed both in the city itself (e.g. the Kindergarten Castle and the surrounding town) and in its suburbs (Bili Beregy, Fedorivka, Provallia, Lobachyn, Zaluzhia, Zarichia, Pishchanytsia, Zapiatnychi, Zavallia). Earl evidence is found also in the villages nearby (Zymne, Shystiv, Novosilky, Falemychi, Ostrivok). All of them played a crucial role of forming the Great Town of Volodymyr.

Archeological materials were one of the important arguments proving existence of settlements before the Princedom Period. As stated by Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi, in the eastern region of the city (Mykhailivshchyna territory) there were discovered traces of pagan hecatomb. As told by owners of local cottages, during the excavation works there were found pieces of clay jugs. To the north of Mykhailivshchyna there is Apostolivshchyna territory which in the Princedom Period was one of the main trade and craft regions. Materials dated the 10th century were founded within the Surrounding Town in the process of investigating a ditch designated for the residential house at Gaidamatska Street. To the west of Apostolivshchyna there is Tukhivshchyna territory, on the Smocha left bank. Here, at the depth of 0.8 – 1.5 meters, there were found pieces of ground and underground houses with clay stoves. In the south-western part of the Surrounding Town (the Pidzamche territory) there were also detected materials stating the fact of inhabitance in the early periods. No doubt, the surrounding villages played an important role in formation of the city of Volodymyr (now they are suburbs). The researchers of the 19th – 20th centuries, M.I. Teodorovych and O.M. Tsynkalovskyi, mentioned such villages as Zarichia, Lobachyn, Fedorivks, Dubnyky, Ostrivok, Shystiv, Onufriivshchyna, Bili Beregy as well as RYlavytsia, Zavallia etc., integrated with the city. Unfortunately none of those territories was researched, with some exception. Only in some of them there were detected materials evidencing inhabitance therein till 981.

An interesting sight of ancient Volodymyr is a small island in its southern suburb – Onufriivshchyna (Veselivshchyna). In 1974 the Lutsk archaeologists found there lots of ceramic fragments. It belongs to the territory of Historical and Cultural Reservation “Ancient Volodymyr”.

The city walls are located in the Slovianskyi Park as the archeological monument. They are artificial walls erected over a thousand years ago. Their height now makes up meters but during the Princedom the walls were higher. The Prince’s castle was surrounded by these walls.

In 1980s the archeological excavation took place at the territory of walls, performed by the archeologist PEskova from Saint Petersburg. The scientists tried to find foundation of the castle and ruins of St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s Church mentioned in chronicles but they failed to find them. Excavations were performed also in the period of Independent Ukraine.

Religious institutionsDirect link for this paragraphGo back to indexGo back to index

Orthodox and Uniate

Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Cathedral (1156-1160) is the oldest church in Volyn (the only church preserved from the period before the Mongol invasion). It was erected in the 12th century by the Prince Mstyslav Iziaslavych, great-grandson of Volodymyr Monomakh. Sometimes it is called Mstyslav’s Church. For the whole centuries the cathedral was used as a graveyard for Galytsko-Volyn Princes, such as Prince Mstyslav Iziaslavych, the founder of church, Princes Vasylko Romanovych and Volodymyr Vasylkovych (accordingly, brother and nephew of King Danylo Galytskyi). The noble person and priests of Volyn are also buried therein. St. Dormition Cathedral was used not only as the main church of Volyn but also as an epicenter of culture and education. There was a parishioners’ school and the artists’ workshop. It served as a venue for making inter-state treaties and the Parties swore in the Gospel in order to comply with them. Princes got crowned and married in the cathedral. As stated in Galytskyi-Volyn Chronicles,the Lithuanian Prince Dmytro Bobok married Ann, a daughter of the Moscow Prince Ivan Krasnyi (John the Red) in that church in the 14th century. Later Dmytro was famous for a hero of the Battle of Kulikovo Field. During the Mongol and Tatar Invasion (1241) the strong walls of Uspenskiy Cathedral were the last shelter for the citizens and defenders. As stated in chronicles, when the Orda left Volodymyr nobody survived and the church was full of corpses.

In early 17th century the Bishop Ipatius Potius lived in the cathedral. He was one of the initiators of Brest Union (1596) and one of the founders of Greek Catholic Church. The cathedral was decorated by the Italian masters. The complex of cathedral includes also the entrance gate (the 17th century), the Bishop’s Palace (the 15th century) and the bell tower (the 15th century).

In the church graveyard there is a grave of Omelian Dvernytskyi (1834-1906), a nobleman, a judge and a historian. He used all his best to restore the Mstyslav’s Church in late 19th century. He was buried in the church graveyard for such a great merit to the church and to citizens.

St. Basil’s Church (13th – 14th centuries). According to the local legend, the church was built by Volodymyr Sviatoslavovych, the Prince of Kyiv. In late 10th century Prince Volodymyr and his troops returned from the Carpathians where they captured White Croatians. Prince stayed for a rest in our town and ordered his warriors to erect the church as a gratitude to the God for successful campaign. The warriors erected the church for one day. Since Prince Volodymyr had a christening name of Basil, the church was devoted to St. Basil. Now the researchers of ancient architecture state that St. Basil’s Church was erected in late 13th – early 14th centuries, i.e. for the period of Galytskyi-Volyn Princedom. But this ancient temple has many other secrets. In particular, in early 20th century there was discovered a slate board with the phrase “God Save the Prince”, dated 1194 (in the northern portal). During the First World War the board was transferred to Zagreb (Croatia) and now it is kept in the Museum of Zagreb University. This area is called Mykhailivshchyna, since there was St. Michael’s the Archangel’s Monastery stated in the Galytskyi-Volyn chronicles.

In 1958 professor M. Karger detected the foundation of the older rotunda church.

St. Christmas’s Cathedral (18th century). In the 18th century Jadwiga Zagorowska, the Polish noble lady, organized the Jesuit mission in Volodymyr. For the purpose of expanding Catholicism, the Jesuits planned to found a series of schools in Volyn as well as to erect the Catholic Church. In 1755 the building of a temple started under the financial support of Gnat (Ignatius) Sadowski and his wife. The building process lasted for 15 years and in 1770 the church was sanctified as Church of St. Jesus’s Heart. In 1773 the Jesuit activities in Poland and Russia were prohibited by the order of the Pope Clement the Ninth. Since 1783 the church belonged to Basilians and was called St. Christmas’s Cathedral. Basilians erected two-storied cells used for the school and hospital for poor people. They also founded the first drugstore in the city.

In 1840 both the cathedral and the monastery became Orthodox institutions. The Bishop’s Chair was located there from 1891. The monastery was furnished with a beautiful vestry, furniture, library (evacuated to Kharkiv in 1914). Between the First and Second World Wars (when Volodymyr belonged to Poland) the cathedral belonged to Catholicons again and was renamed as The Church of Apostles’ Letters. After the Second World War there was a warehouse. The cathedral was restored in the period of Independent Ukraine. Now there is a Chair of the Lutsk Bishop. Services are held in Ukrainian.

St. Nicolas’s Church was erected in 1780s. Initially it was used as a chapel of St. Josafat, the Greek Catholic priest whose life is tightly related to Volodymyr-Volynskyi. He was known to the ordinary people as Ivan Kuntsevych (1580–1623). His father, Gavrylo Kuntsevych, was a shoe-maker. Parental house was located in the area Zapiatnyche, just near the current location of St. Nicolas’s Church. In 1614 he became an archimandrite of the monastery and in 1617 he was appointed as Assistant Bishop. He died as a martyr in 1623. On the 29th of June 1867 the Pope Pius the Ninth signed a Decree under which Josafat Kuntsevych was numbered with the saints. In 1949 his relics were reburied inside the Roman pope’s basilica near St. Peter’s grave in Vatican. His relatives sold to Porfirius Skarbka Wazhynski (a local Greek Catholic archimandrite) the land plot where Josafat’s parental house was located. Under his order St. Josafat’s Chapel was erected in 1780. It used to be a chapel for 15 years. Since 1795 it belonged to the Orthodox Church and in 1800 it was sanctified as St. Nicolas’s Church. It was a main church of the city till 1900 because Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Church was semi-destroyed and unsuitable for services. Later it was a cemetery chapel. According to Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi, in 1915 it was the only church in Volodymyr where services were held in Ukrainian. As told by veterans, in 1930s it functioned as Greek Catholic Church. In 1991 the church was returned to the Orthodox Community and the bell tower was restored in early 2000s.

St. George’s Church (1908). In 1908 one more cultural building was erected – a military church for soldiers of the 149th Black Sea Troop of the Russian Army located in Volodymyr. Such churches were built by the order of the Headquarters of the Ministry of Defense under the typical projects approved in 1900. Soldiers’ signatures still remain on the walls. The Officer’s House was located in the church during the Soviet period. In 1991 the church was returned to the Orthodox Community.

St. Volodymyr’s Chapel (All-Hallows Church of the Volyn). St. Volodymyr’s Chapel at the Soborna Street was erected in 1892 for the 9000th anniversary of the Volodymyr Eparchy (founded in the city by the Prince Volodymyr the Great in 992). Prince Volodymyr appointed the first bishops, Stephen and Amphylochius. Probably they were buried in Fedorivka where the ancient Russ church used to exist (not preserved). The documents mention that in late 19th century a beautiful garden was located near the chapel. It has a cup-like shape while its bell looks like the ancient warrior’s helmet. The chapel was used as a shop and planetary. Now it is included to the Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Cathedral.


St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s Catholic Church (1752). History of the Roman Catholic Community in Volodymyr-Volynskyi goes back to the 13th century. German, Czecj and Polish merchants used to inhabit the Galytskyi-Volyn Princedom. St. Mary’s Church was erected for Catholicons (not preserved). The amount of Catholicons increases in the middle 14th century when the Volyn belonged to Lithuania and Poland. Most of Catholicons were the Poles. For lots of centuries, till the end of the Second World War, there was a large Catholic Community in Volodymyr-Volynskyi. In 1371 the Catholic Episcopacy was established in Volodymyr. First Catholic Bishop was St. Peter from the Order of Dominicans. In the 16th century Princess Hanna of Zbarazh sponsored the building of St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s wooden Catholic Church, supported by Martin-Bozhidar Pidgorodnenskyi (buried in the church as a patron). But the wooden church was burnt down in early 17th century. The building of St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s brick Catholic Church began in the 18th century with the active support of Adam Oranski, the Bishop of Lutsk. The church was sanctified in 1752 and acted initially as a parish church. Part of alters were used by Capuchin monks since their monastery was located nearby (now there are only walls preserved).

In late 18th century the Polish King Stanislaw August Poniatowski visited the city and the church.

Citizens of Volodymyr tell a legend that treasures of Polish Kings were kept inside the church. When the Red Army under the command of Budyonnyi passed through the city the soldiers believed that it was true and even tried to find treasures in the dungeons.

In 1947 the church was closed by the Soviet regime and later it was used as a furniture store and a café. Precious oak banks and the organ were removed from the building. In 1991 the church was return to Roman Catholicons and now it is active.

Dominican Monastery (15th – 17th centuries). In the Medieval Ages the Dominicans were heads of Inquisition and prosecuted the heretics. In 1497 the Polish King Alexander Jagelon sponsored the building of Dominican Monastery and St. Trinity’s Church in Volodymyr. There are few documents preserved about the monastery. As we know, the monastery occupied a large land plot with pond, garden, watermill and several yards. The monastery was entitled to keep an in, to brew and to sell beer, mead, wine, gorilka. The church was destroyed by the fire in the 19th century. Former cells were used by courts in the 19th century while the ground floor was occupied by the city archive and museum. Border troops were located in the monastery in 1940s. Nowadays there is a local professional and technical school.


Synagogue. It played an essential role in lifestyle of the Jewish Community. The Jews held common prayers in the Synagogue (in Greek it means “assembly”). The most famous synagogue in the town was erected in the 16th century and was located at the Starozhydivska Square (now it is Rosalina Street). In the 17th – 18th centuries there were at least two synagogues in Volodymyr: one was wooden and the other was made of stone (a choral synagogue erected in 1801). It was a rectangular construction with walls and tiled roof, unique decoration on the façade finished with four arch-shaped vaults with cylindrical edges above them. Traditional hexagonal star (David’s Shield) was located on the front side, on the broach above the roof and under the arch-shaped vault. Inside the synagogue arch-shaped vaults were supported by four stone columns. That synagogue was destroyed in early 1950s and its remaining details were used for constructing the helicopter field. The synagogue was used not only for religious services and customs but also as a spiritual administrative center for government and court sessions. Moreover, lessons in religious schools were also held there. In the 18th century the religious movement of Khasids (translated as “blessed”) gets widespread in Volodymyr-Volynskyi. Such movement appeared in Ukraine in the 18th century and was founded by Rabbi Baal Shem Tob who insisted on priority of sincere faith. He stated that the main features are not mind and intellect but feelings and emotions, love and care of an ordinary unskilled Jew, love to people irrespective of their features and dignities. The best way of contact with the God is prayer read in joy which allows for people to overcome the ordinary laws of the Universe and to make a marvel in their ordinary existence. People need only to serve to the God in joy and to enjoy their life in holiness and purity.


Lutheran Church (1890). In late 18th century several dozens of German families inhabited Volodymyr. From the 19th century Volyn has become one of the regions of Ukraine with dense German population. German colonization in Volyn was caused by several factors such as political pressure against the Germans by the Napoleon’s invaders, lack of cultivable and grazing lands at the territory of their historical motherland, various innovations incompliant with their traditional culture and household, high taxes and disagreement with some religious canons, political splitting-up which worsened the life level among ordinary citizens of German, protectionist policy in favour of the Russian Empress Catherine the Second who was a German and supported her compatriots (the Germans were released from tax payment, military service, acquired land plots with benefits). The migrants from Germany cut down the forests in Volyn and used these lands for agriculture. Most of them were more –educated than local inhabitants and could make a career of the Russian officers. Landless peasants, craftsmen, merchants, brewers, smiths, confectioners, teachers, doctors, artists, architects and warriors migrated from Germany to Volyn. The main migration flow occurred in 1860s – 1880s. First foreign colony was founded in 1787 in the Volodymyr County. Its founders originated from Holland. In 1890 the German colonists erected the Lutheran Church in Volodymyr-Volynskyi. Rich land owners sacrificed 100 zloty per month as compared to 10 zloty for poor citizens. Now there is St. Josafat’s Greek Catholic Church located in the building of former Lutheran Church while the Basilian Monastery is located in the pastor’s house.

Lost churches of Volodymyr-Volynskyi

Not all the 20 temples mentioned in chronicles and other written documents have been preserved till nowadays. Let us describe each of them in a nutshell.

Church in the Old Cathedra area. In 988 Prince Volodymyr the Great christened the Kyiv Russ and in 992 he established the Bishop’s Chair in the city of Volodymyr. Firs bishop was called Stephen, the second was Amphilochius. As stated by the Russian historian Teodorovych, the first temple with the Bishop’s Chair was located in the Old Cathedra at Fedorivka (a name of area). In late 12th century the temple was destroyed and erection of Mstyslav,s Church began. In late 19th century the ruins of Old Cathedra were investigated by Professor A. Prakhov. Now there are only fragments of foundation remained.

St. Dmytro’s Church (10th century). It was mentioned only in the Ipatiivskyi Chronicle telling about death of Prince Volodymyr Vasylkovych, calculating his sacrifice in favour of churches including sacrifice to St. Dmytro’s Church. Its exact location is unknown. Probably it was located in the Old Cathedra or nearby. In the 14th – 15th centuries, during one of Mongol and Tatar invasions, the church was burnt down. There are few data about it. Probably St. Fedor’s Stratylat’s Church was built instead.

St. Fedor’s Stratylat’s Church (16th century). First it was a wooden church. First it was mentioned in 1547. In the documents dated the 17th century the church was known as the ancient chair of the bishops of Volodymyr. As of 1685, St. Fedor’s Church got destroyed because it was too old. Later St. Fedor’s Stratylat’s Chapel was erected instead. It functioned till 1815 and then was dismantled. The village of Fedorivka located nearby is caeed in the name of the chapel.

Church of Holy Virgin’s Introduction to the Temple (14th century). This church was located at Lutsk Street, between the castle and St. Basil’s Church. As told by the priest Sebastian Kosovych, the church had a bell weighing four stones. The year 1346 was engraved on the bell, so we may suppose that the church existed in early-middle 14th century. In the archived documents the church is mentioned for the first time in 1554. In early 19th century it was a wooden church with three domes. The unique feature of that church was the icon of Holy Virgin Odygytria (in Greek it means “showing the way”).

St. George’s the Winner’s Church (14th century). In eastern part of the city (Rylavytsia Area) there were ground walls. According to local legends, in the 14th century there was St. George’s the Martyr’s Church. It was erected allegedly in the place where the Galytsko-Volyn Prince George Lvovych the First was killed by the troods of Lithuanian Prince Gediminus. The church existed till the 17th century.

St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s Catholic Church (14th century). It is an old church mentioned in the Ipatiivskyi Chronicle dated 1291. As stated by the chronicle, “In the same year the God proposed to Prince Mstyslav to build a stone grave of his wife Anne Romanova (a daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Isaac the Second the Angel)”. In historical documents the church was mentioned for the first time in the 15th century as existing from the ancient period. According to the chronicle, the church was located at the territory of Volodymyr Castle. In his testament dated 1547 Prince Fedir Sangushko, Marshall of Volyn and Prefect of Volodymyr, granted monetary funds to the church. From the 16th century there was preserved a fact that the priest Joseph Gorlyn had a trial for church land plot for 20 years. Date of the church destruction is unknown. It is also mentioned in Gaslytsko-Volyn Chronicle.

St. Prokopius’s Church(16th century). It was located on the right bank of the Luga, over the mills on Bily Beregy, at the border between Zarichia and Bily Beregy. In the written documents it was mentioned for the first time in late 16th century. Father Dmitriy, the priest, is also mentioned. In 1596 he joined the Brest Union and became a Greek Catholicon.

As the result, the Orthodox citizens were unsatisfied and prohibited to him doing agricultural works on church land plots. Case was submitted to the court. In the 17th century the building belonged to Greek Catholic Church and was destroyed in late 17th century.

St. Paraskeva’s Church (16th century). It was located at Kovel Street, between St. Nicolas’s Church and the garden which used to exist. Now there is an obelisk with a cross. The district was called Zapiatnyche in the name of the church. In the 16th – 17th centuries there was Piatnytska (Friday’s) Gate, one of the entrance gates of the city. A founder of the church is unknown but it existed in early 15th century. As stated in the order of Prince Svydrygailo (the 15th century), the church owned land plots. In 1595 Father Malofei, priest of the church, made a testament stating that both the church and the land plots were granted to him by the King Sigismund August and that the priest granted them to his son and to his family forever. In late 16th century it became a Greek Catholic Church. In 1798 it got destroyed because it was too old. There was kept a Crucifixion Cross form which the sparkle fell down to Ivan Kuntsevych (according to the legend). It happened in the 16th century and symbolized that later he was numbered with the saints.

St. John’s the Christener’s Church. It was located in Lozivshchyna, near the village of Ostrivok. The Palace of Zagorowskis was located nearby. Vasyl Zagorowski was a prefect of Volodymyr in the 16th century and a Marshall of Volyn. He was one of the first who swore to serve the Polish King and served as tax collector. He was a skillful person, patron who supported education and cared to study children – both his own and others’. When he was captured by the Tatars he made a testament in which he also took care of the church school preservation. The area was called Lozivshchyna because there grew grape vines and bushes. The exact date of building the church is unknown. It is stated as the ancient church in documents dated 1695. As supposed by Mykola Teodorovych, the church probably was erected in the 15th century.

St. John’s Zlatoust Church (15th century). It is also located in Lozivshchyna, on the island among swamp. Neither the date of building nor the builder is known. But it is mentioned in the documents dated the 17th century as the ancient building. Teodorovych stated that it was erected in the 15th century. In the 17th century it belonged to Greek Catholicons. Several buildings, land plots and hay field belonged to that church. The date of its destruction is unknown.

St. Luke’s the Gospeller’s Church. We have very few information about this church. As stated in the documents dated the 17th century, the church was located in Volodymyr but its exact location is unknown.

St. Kosma’s and St. Damian’s Church Data about such church are kept only in memories. There is no true historic information about it. Mykola Teodorovych, historian of Orthodox churches, referred to memories of the priest Danylo Levytskyi who stated that the church was located in Pozdnyky Area and was destroyed in the 17th century.

St. Michael’s the Archangel’s Church and Monastery. Mykola Teodorovych states that the church located on the right bank of the Luga. The monastery was mentioned even in Galytsko-Volyn Chronicle. The territory was called Mykhailivshchyna in the name of the monastery. There were wooden constructions built on the brick foundation. According to legends, St. Michael’s Church was erected on the venue of a former pagan totem. The monastery was mentioned for the first time in 1286, in the Ipatiivskyi Chronicle telling that King Leo Danylovych poisoned the Lithuanian Prince Wojshelk during the struggle for power; the latter was buried in the monastery.

In the 15th – 16th centuries Princes Sangushkos were owners of the monastery. In late 16th century the monastery was closed but the church remained active. It was mentioned for the last time in 1621. Later there was a cemetery and now there is a wooden cross.

Twelve Apostles’ Church and Monastery. It was located on the western suburb in so-called Bily Beregy (White Banks). The monastery was erected in the 13th century by Volodymyr Vasylkovych, nephew of the King Danylo Galytskyi. According to the Ipatiivskyi Chronicle, the prince erected the monastery as a gift to his wife Helen. He also provided for the monastery icons, cross, Gospel. Starting from the 16th century, the monastery was not stated in the documents but Twelve Apostles’ Church was mentioned. For the later period, parishioners intended to shift the building to the purchased territory near Dominican Monastery but Catholicons did not allowed them to do so. But the citizens managed to shift the church for one night. It was burnt down in 1790.

St. Onuphrius’s Church and Monastery. It was located in Velesivshchyna, among the forest and the moors, on the left bank of the Luga. Now there is a village of Zarichia. Neither the date of building nor the builder is known. It was mentioned for the first time in the 16th century while in the 17th century the monastery was destroyed. But the parish church functioned for a short period. There was mentioned the alter with St. Onuphrius’s Icon. After the church was closed its treasures were transferred to other churches of the city.

St. Savior’s (St. Transfiguration) Church and Monastery. It was located to the south-west of Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Cathedral. Neither the date of building nor the builder is known. It was mentioned for the first time in 1508 in the Order of the Polish King Sigismund the First stating that the King granted the monastery, jointly with town of Litowezh and Volodymyr Castle, to Prince Andrii Sangushko. Then Fedor, Andrii’s son, inherited the monastery. After 1563 the monastery, by the order of the Polish King Sigismund August, was granted to the nobleman Pavlo Oranskyi for his long-term service at the royal court. In 1597 the monastery was transferred to Greek Catholicons. The monastery is mentioned as decayed in the documents dated 1695.

St. Elijah’s Church and Monastery (the 16th century). This church was located on the banks of the Luga. It was mentioned for the first time in late 16th century. From 1568 it belonged to the major Vasyl Zagorowski who built a mill on the church land plot. Mr. Zagorovski was captured by the Crimean Tatars and made a testament in which he asked his wife to take care of the church. There was also a school for Orthodox youth. The church was mentioned for the last time in the 18th century.

Ancient cemeteries

The Great Jewish Cemetery is one of the oldest in Central Europe, founded in the 17th – 18th centuries. It started from Zavalska Street (now it is Dragomanov Street) and had almost square shape from Fliushna Street (over the stadium) and almost to houses along Kovelska Street. In late 18th century the Jew Cemetery was almost full, so the new one was opened. It stretched from the old cemetery to houses along Dubynkivska Street (now it is Sagaidachnyi Street). As told by veterans, both cemeteries had no fences and there were stone monuments.

In 1960s Jewish cemetery was destroyed and instead of it Yuri Gagarin Park was established. Tomb plates were used for pavements at Vasylkivska Street. Citizens knew history of such plates and tried to avoid walking down such pavements for many years. Later the street was covered with pavement tile while tomb plates are still kept in the yards of surrounding houses. Recently at the place of formed Jewish Cemetery there was erected a mausoleum of Shloimo Gotlib – Khasidic tzaddik  (lived there in the 18th century).

The historian Waldemar Piasecki, one of the local veterans, made a research upon the burials in Volodymyr-Volynskyi and stated that traces of one of the oldest necropoleis of Volodymyr have been preserved in Spasyi Area, at the crossroad of Vodopiina (Prince Roman) and Sokalska Streets. He states that traces of such burial go back to the 11th century. Oleksandr Tsynkaolvskyi describes the underground crypt in the center of Spasyi Area, used as a cellar. The territory of that old cemetery can be visible at Prince Roman Street.

There were also two other cemeteries. One was located in Illivshchyna Area (at the end of Brovarna Street) near the destroyed St. Elijah’s Church, the other was located at the end of Ostrovetska Street (now it is 20th of July Street). As told by veterans, some people were buried there during the First World War.

According to the City Plan dated 1802, there were two cemeteries located at the end of Tsvyntarna Street (now it is Ladomyrska Street): Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic. As for Greek Catholic tombs, there was a detached quarter in the Catholic section of Ladomyrskyi Monastery. That quarter was located between the eastern border of Catholic Cemetery and Central Alley of Orthodox Cemetery. After the Russian Empire annexed Volyn, the Volodymyr major expanded the Orthodox Cemetery to the east. Local elite was also buried in that cemetery, inter alia the members of Maristrate (local administration), noble man and famous persons.

Famous historians Oleksandr Tsynkaolvskyi and Mykola Teodorovych stated in their works that there used to be lots of cemeteries in Volodymyr beside churches. Parishioners and church clergies were buried there. There are preserved traces of such burial near St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s Catholic Church.

Then the power authorities order to destroy graveyards neas churches and to erect the central city cemetery. Ladomyrskyi Cemetery was also erected at that time, almost 150 years ago, since first burials therein occurred in 1844-1853.

In view of different faiths, the city cemetery was divided into Orthodox and Catholic sections detached by means of ditch and wwo gates. There were many Polish noblemen who built delicious crypts and graves for their families, some of them preserved.

Two years after the Second World War began (1939 - 1941) the consciousness and traditions of citizens were not influenced by the Soviet regime, therefore the cemetery was clean, as mentioned by veterans. Volodymyr Antonovych Stemkovskyi (born in 1935) says: “Till 1944 the Catholic graveyards stayed well-kept despite the grief of war and fascist invasion. After the end of the War (since 1945) people from different regions of USSR moved there. Unfortunately there were among them immoral persons who destroyed Catholic family graveyards for the purpose of trophies. Local inhabitants tried to keep Christian traditions and never let do so. Many tombs got lost”. The Volyn historian Waldemar Piasecki wrote the following about Catholic graveyards: “The dominant of the oldest part of the Catholic Cemetery are brick ruins of chapel erected in 1827 over Constantia Klosowska’s grave by her son. Nearby there is another small chapel, well-kept but empty inside. This is a family grave of the Bodziaks. There were several dozens of family graves of various types: either in closed crypts or surronede by single fence with common monument. Such monuments were often decorated by round-shaped sculptures or reliefs. Single graves were also decorated by round-shape sculptures of angel or Holy Virgin. Besides sculptures, Catholic Cemetery had another feature – a large amount of epitaphs”. Each preserved Catholic grave has impressive artistic decorations and interesting histories. One of the brightest examples is Johanna Olshanska’s grave. On the grave there is a high monument with Crucifixion.

Olshanska died in 1855. Her husband is buried nearby. On their grave there are the following rows in Polish: These rows are soaked by tears of the grieving family. It is erected for their kind brother who missed his wife and followed her on the 9th of August 1857”. It is one of the oldest graves in Ladomyrskyi Cemetery, 155 years old. The monument is interesting from various aspects: first, it has been preserved since the middle 19th century stating the longstanding existence of the cemetery itself; second, the tomb plate shows a delicious art taste and has a perfect image.

At the Central Alley there is a grave of Vasyl Petrovych Bobko, one of the best grain producers of Volyn.

Ladomyrskyi Cemetery has also graves of the Vavrysevychis, in particular the grave of Mykola Vavrysevych born in 1891 in Gorodlo town at Kholmshchyna.

At the Central Alley there is a family grave of the Liutsenskyis. As told by Nataliia Nazarivna Grabarchuk-Tsynkalovska, Mr. Liutsenskyi belonged to rich land owners.

Military graves at the Ladomyrskyi Cemetery have their own history. There are buried heroes of the First and Second World Wars, heroes of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, Soviet officers and soldiers – heroes of the Great Patriotic War and many others.

Now there is a cemetery in memoriam of war victims. It occupies 5 hectares. 

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History of the Jew Community in VOlodymyr-Volynskyi has been developed for many centuries. Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi, a famous historical researcher, wrote: “The Jew colony in Volodymyr also goes back to ancient period when they migrated to Volyn in the Pre-Princedom times for the purpose of trade”. The Jew colony existed in Volodymyr in the medieval ages too, as mentioned in the Galytsko-Volyn Chronicle. In particular, the description of Prince’s Volodymyr Vasylkovych funeral in 1288 states the following: “Lots of citizens wept – Germans, Surozhians, Jews like during the capture of Jerusalem”. So the Jew migrants were mentioned in written sources of Volodymyr even in the 13th century. Naturally, the city was an important trade center for that time and business-able Jews got interesting in the intensive trade therein.

Local authorities. As stated in the commercial contracts and other documents, the city of Volodymyr has its local administration from the ancient times. One of such documents is a letter of Volodymyr inhabitants addressed to the citizens of Strahlsund at the Baltic Sea. This document describes the public lifestyle and trade relationship for that period. Therefore in the 13th century the strong and noble layer of old-Russian and foreign merchants appeared in Volodymyr. Trade development is also mentioned in the Order of the Polish King Kazimir dated 1349 which granted a right to the Russian merchants to visit Volodymyr and to perform free trade with it. All the Southern Volyn transported the goods by the river Luga to Ustylug (the main port in Volyn), then by the Bug and the Wisla to Gdansk, then to Germany and England. In the 15th century Volodymyr exported leather, honey, grains, fish and wax.

Although in late 15th century the Magdeburg Law was granted to Volodymyr which was entitled to have local government, the prefects controlled the court proceedings and charged taxes, fines etc.

From the ancient times Volodymyr-Volynskyi had a profitable geographic location – at the crossroad of the great trade ways, such as the way from the Vikings to the Greeks joining the Mediterranean and Scandinavia and the way joining Europe with Middle and Far East. Therefore the international trade was developed intensively. In particular, in the 13th – 14th centuries the city performed large-scale trade both with its neighbours, Poland and Czekh Republic, and with the Teutonic Order in Konigsberg (Kaliningrad) where monumental seals of the Volyn Princes had images of the Prince Yurii Boleslav the Second surrounded with the slogan “God Save the Prince of Russ”. The “Drogyshynski Seals” witness also the trade development in Volodymyr and the use of trade factory upon the Bug in the 10th – 13th centuries.

The State History Archive in Kyiv has a document preserved: an Order on granting the right on local government for citizens of Volodymyr. It was a large sheet of parchment (75x38 cm) with the Ukrainian scripts. The text prevails with such vivid phrases as “Granting freedom to citizens”, i.e. the city inhabitants owning the houses and other real estate. Not all of them had a right to govern the city, but only the top noblemen (so-called patriciate). The patriciate governed the magistrate, i.e. city and judicial councils managed by the Viyt. Although most of the city population was engaged in agriculture, neither trade nor craft got out-of-date. As of 1552, the city had 25 tailors, 25 shoe-makers, over 15 saddle-makers. In 1582–1585 there were founded skinning, tailor and shoe-making factories, as well as bakeries, butcheries, smithies (employing also lock-smiths, saber-makers and bow-makers). The potters and casters of Volodymyr were also proud of their masterpieces. The famous gunners in the middle of 16th century were Senko and his son Grytsko.

In the 16th century the local Jewish merchants owned 24 stores at the central place. IN the 18th century historical sources state that there were 27 Jews’ houses in Volodymyr. The Jews held prevailing positions in the urban trade for the following centuries too, until the Second World War. Besides documentary evidence of the Jewish communities, there is also preserved the material evidence consisting of the architectural structures belonging to the Jews.

In 1670 the Volodymyr College was established as one of the largest educational institutions in Volyn for that time. Its students studied physics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, physiology and human anatomy, fundamentals of agriculture, philosophy and theology, English, French and Italian languages. The College consisted of 7 grades, employed 7 professors and taught 380 students (mainly the children of noblemen and priests).

In late 18th century the Basilians of St. Christmas’s Cathedral founded a school and a hospital for poor men and the first drugstore in the town

In the 19th century up to 60 annual fairs were held in the Volodymyr-Volynskyi County.

Let us mention the following cultural associations from Volodymyr-Volynskyi: “The Union of Female Ukrainians”, the “Prosvita” Association, the “Kholmshchyna” Association, the All-Ukrainian Fraternity of Warriors of the Ukrainian Rebelling Army. In particular, “The Union of Female Ukrainians” was opened on the 3rd of February 1929. During the Soviet period such associations were prohibited and their members were subject to repressions. “The Union of Female Ukrainians” was reborn in 1996. In 1990 the “Prosvita” Association of the Ukrainian Language started its functioning, as well as the “Kholmshchyna” Association which defends the cultural and legal rights of migrants from Kholmshchyna and Pidliashia, organizes journeys of Kholmshchyna descendants to their historical motherland and improves the ancient Orthodox cemeteries in Poland.

In 1912 there were opened the Volodymyr Monomakh’s Male Public School (located at the up-to-date Dragomanov Street) and the Female Private School (located at the Ustyluzkyi Street). There were also the five-grade school, primary school, single-grade Jew school, Taras Shevchenko’s four-grade folk school. As stated by Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi, “Till 1917 there were male public school, female private school, five-grade school, primary school and single-grade Jew school”.

As soon as the military units appeared in the city, there were opened Ukrainian schools. There was also the six-grade school for migrants from Polissia with the branch in the village of Ostrivok. The studying book “Obscene glossary” was even published on the basis of local materials. In 1918 the local major I. Zubovych made a decision to build the new state female public school. In its right wing on the ground floor there was a male craft school which in 1925 moved to the area where a power plant is located now. Students of the public school published their own newspaper, chronicles, participated in plays and exhibitions. The public school existed till 1939. At the territory of the modern Tsynkalovskyi’s Public School there was one of the most popular educational institutions of that period – a four-grade folk school founded by the Sich Archers. Savyna Sydorovych was a director of that school. Among the Ukrainian schools opened in the Volyn during the First World War, the most popular was a private school in Volodymyr-Volynskyi under the patronage of the Commissariat of Sich Archers managed by M. Saevych. Later it bore the name of Taras Shevchenko. Now the city has three general schools, a lyceum, a public school, a school for deaf children, a school for orphans, art, sports and music schools.

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The first city castle was erected in the 10th century when Prince Volodymyr ruled. In late 14th century the Polish King Kazimir the Great captured Volyn and Volodymyr and then built its own castle surrounded by walls, made of oak (unpreserved). The castle used to be enforced by ground walls and ditches filled with water (the Smocha, tributary of the Luga, flows nearby). It was called “Kindergarten” because women and children were hidden there during the Mongol and Tatar invasion as the most unprotected inhabitants. The Kindergarten Castle was a center of the Prince’s town because the Prince and his army lived there. In so-called surrounding town the Prince’s servants, craftsmen, merchants and citizens lived. Under the dam there were located districts of the ancient Volodymyr called Mykhailivshchyna, Illivshchyna, Bily Beregy. Zavallia, Zaricchia, Zaluzhia. An entrance to the Kindergarten Castle faced to the North with Grydshin Gate (the warriors protecting the castle were called “Grydni”).

Besides documentary certifications of the Jewish Community in ancient period, there were preserved material evidence, inter alia, architectural monuments. Near the Fire Fighting Headquarters there is a house decorated with hexagonal star. As stated by veterans, there was a religious school “Thorax – Talmud”. At the corner of Roksolana and Danylo Galytskyi Streets there is a house previously belonging to the rich Jewish entrepreneur. His name remained unknown but the religious symbol (looking like a stylized tree) on its northern wall is still kept. 

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Folk craft and art. The following kinds of craft are widely spread at the territory of Volodymyr: embroidery, joinery, smithy, pottery, decorative art, egg-painting art, vine-plaiting art, manufacturing of straw, cattail, birch bark. Famous embroidery masters are Vira Onyshchuk and Maria Vavrysevych from Ovadny located near Volodymyr-Volynskyi. They were born in Polissia and their teacher was a famous embroider Dr. Dmytro Blazhejowski. Their masterpieces were exhibited at many city, regional, national and international exhibitions. Unique towels were embroidered by the outstanding masters – sisters Galyna, Svitlana and Liudmyla Makhoniuk from Ovadny located near Volodymyr-Volynskyi. Their personal exhibition “A garden in blossom” was shown in many museums of Ukraine, in particular in the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Historical Museum.

A protean artist was Joseph Onufriiovych Romashchuk (1909-2001), member of the National Community of Folk Art Masters, awarded a Regional Prize of Job Kondzelewych. He was born in Kholmshchyna, faced the war and forced migration, manufactured artifacts of vine, straw, cattail.

Tetiana Oleksandrivna Pasievych, teacher of the Agatangel Krymskyi’s Pedagogical College, awarded a Regional Prize of Modest Levytskyi, was famous for egg-painting. She pained the Easter eggs by using the Volyn ornament and white colour on red background.

Artist Anatolii Boyko is a master in twelve techniques. He is a wood carver but also studied by himself art, embroidery, manufacturing of tree roots, manufacturing of glass and others.

The couple of Mykytas (Andrii Vasyliovych and Galyna Iakivna) are members of the National Community of Folk Art Masters. They manufacture gobelins by means of special machines. Their arts depict landscapes of Volyn, literature characters and many others.

Local traditions and customs. Volodymyr-Volynskyi is located at the border of two natural zones – Polissia and forest-steppe. There are widely spread folk traditions typical of Western Ukraine. Lots of generations inherited such traditions. In Christmas holidays the inhabitants play the puppet shows and sing Carol songs (especially the children). On the Easter they paint and decorate eggs, bake an Easter pie, clean their houses and yards, improve graves of their ancestors. On Saint Trinity they decorate their houses by smelling green grass. On Saint Transfiguration they consecrate fruits and vegetables. Each village celebrates the harvest collection according to ancient traditions.

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Sacral architectural monuments

Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Cathedral (1156-1160). Frescos used to decorate its walls. Some fragments of wall-mounted frescos are kept in the local museum. The cathedral has perfect acoustics due to clay jugs (resonators) inside the church walls and vaults. The Nikonovskyi, Galytsko-Volyn and Ipatiivskyi Chronicles tell that princes Mstyslav Iziaslavych, Volodymyr Vasylkovych and others were the cathedral patrons and provided for the Mstyslav’s Temple the expensive icons, delicious books and precious interior.

St. Basil’s Church (13th – 14th centuries). It is one of the most interesting monuments of the old Volodymyr belonging to the rare type of rotundas (i.e. round-shaped churches). Professor G. Logvyn researched the temple in 1946-1949 and stated that its walls were decorated in frescos visible even in the 17th century. Now the frescos are covered with plaster layer.

The original technical planning – that is the feature of St. Basil’s Church architecture. Eight semi-round pylons make an impression of wave-shaped walls. Shape of the church looks like a flower with eight petals. The church used to have one large dome which looked like a warrior’s helmet. In late 19th century the church was reconstructed under the Russian architects’ designs (architect N.P. Kozlov).

St. Jochem’s and St. Anne’s Catholic Church (1752). The church was erected in the late Baroque style. In the architectural planning it looks like a three-nave basilica with two quadrangular towers. Ancient floor/wall tile has been preserved. Even in the early 20th century the church was surrounded by walls and the bell tower was located nearby.

The church interior combines staidness and delicacy typical of catholic churches. The interior is similar to Rococo style.

St. Christmas’s Cathedral (18th century). From the architectural point of view the cathedral was erected in the late Baroque style. Michal Radziminski, the architect, was obviously impressed by the South German Baroque masters tightly related to the Guarino Guarini’s school. So this church serves as an example of cultural influence and synthesis of various art styles. Its walls were decorated with frescos but these frescos are not preserved.

Architectural complex of the cathedral consists of the Upper Church, St. Andrew’s East Church, St. Protection’s underground church with the crypt (i.e. tomb under the alter) as well as the St. Christmas’s Female Monastery with St. Dormition’s Church. The cathedral’s interior was restored in 1990s. Iconostasis consists of three storeys with the icons of Father God on the upper storey, Saint Apostles on the middle storey and Jesus, Holy Virgin and angels on the lower storey. Cathedral vaults are decorated by images of four Gospellers: St. Luke, St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. John.

St. Nicolas’s Church (1780).

St. Josaphat’s Church (1890) a Lutheran Church erected in new gothic style, with the pastor’s house nearby.

St. George’s Church (1908). Erected under the decision of The Russian Military Ministry’s Headquarter under the sample projects approved in 1900, in the Russian-Byzantine style by using the red non-plastered brick. In Volodymyr-Volynskyi such style was applied to several more buildings, such as the former male public school, infection hospital, military commissariat (officer’s headquarters) and railway station.

Dominican Monastery with the St. Trinity’s Catholic Church (15th – 17th centuries). According to historical documents, the building has an extended shape and its façade was turned to the city. The church had 22 windows, 12 mirror chandeliers while the bell tower nearby had five bells.

Only the monastery and bell tower remained preserved.

St. Volodymyr’s Chapel (All-Hallows Church of the Volyn, the 19th century). It has a cup-like shape and the bell looks like the ancient warrior’s helmet.

Other monuments

Ground walls of the castle (the 10th century).

Monuments to outstanding persons, architectural and archaeological monuments of state importance, located in the Slovianskyi Park. At the beginning of the park there is a sculpture “Lukasz and Mavka (Mermaid)” devoted to characters of the fairy-play “The Wood Song” written by Lesia Ukrainka who lived in the Volyn. A monument to Taras Shevchenko, the great poet and philosopher, is located nearby. It was erected in 1993 by the sculptor Yu. Gaviuk and by the architect A. Mykyta (made of copper and concrete). A quotation from Shevchenko’s poem is engraved on the pedestal: “Fight and you will win! God stay with you!” An arrow-wood alley is planted nearby as a symbol of struggle for Independence of Ukraine (arrow-wood and willow are Ukrainian symbols). There is also the Princes’ Alley in the park with monuments to the Kyiv Prince Volodymyr Sviatoslavovych (ruled in 980-1015; the monument was erected in 1989 by the sculptor L. Iaremchiuk and by the architect A. Mykyta (made of copper and concrete)), his sons Yaroslav the Wise and Vsevolod, the Prince of Galychyna Yaroslav Osmomysl (Eight-Minded) mentioned in the Galytskyi-Volyn Chronicle as a powerful state and military leader.

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At the entrance to the Slovianskyi Park there is a symbolic grave of strugglers for Independence of Ukraine, in the form of hill. Such hills were erected in Ukraine from ancient periods as a memory of peopled who sacrificed themselves in favour of Independence of Ukraine.

In 1997 the scientists from the Lviv Community “Search” and the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Historical Museum at the territory of walls in the Slovianskyi Park excavated bones of 97 persons – victims of Stalin’s terror and prisoners of NKVD Jail which was located behind the walls in 1939-1956. Fascists also executed prisoners in the jail in 1941-1944. The jail building is preserved.

Military cemeteries of Polish soldiers killed in the Soviet-Polish War of 1920 draw attention too.

There are family graves of the outstanding persons, such as the grave of Semaskkos (1916), of Dr. Stanislaw Pjotrkowski (1902), Jan Bzezniakewych etc.

Many famous people from Volodymyr were buried at the Ladomyr Cemetery. A local veteran – Nataliia Grabarchuk, niece of the famous archaeologist Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi, states that a nobleman and patriot Spyrydon Pimenovych Maksymchuk was buried there. During the fascist intervention in 1941-1944 he was a teacher in the craftsmen training school located in a small castle near Uspenskiy Cathedral. He told his students about the battle of Kruty, about young people who died struggling for Independence of Ukraine. He used to serve as an officer of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and was prosecuted by the Soviet regime.

The family of Zubinski was buried near the destroyed chapel, to the right.

The collective grave was erected in 1941 (designed by Volodymyr Zaluskyi, performed by Volodymyr Zhulkovskyi). It has three stone crosses (the highest one in the middle), a trident and an engraved phrase “To people who died struggling for freedom of Ukraine in 1919, 1920, 1939, 1941”. Victims of Stalin’s terror are also buried here. To the left there is a grave of Nazarii Grabarchuk, secretary of local administration tortured by the Soviet regime.

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The Slovianskyi Park is the central park of the city, erected under the decision of City Council dated 1988, to the 1000th anniversary of the city of Volodymyr-Volynskyi.

It has two natural objects – underground sources. In 2011 microbiologists from the Odessa Institute of Recreation Studying researched water in such sources and stated that it was similar to hydrocarbonate water under the composition. It is clean and tasty water used by the citizens. Flower-beds in the park are subject to care by employees of the Public Enterprise “Troyanda”. There are the following trees in the park: birches, poplars, cherries, arrow-woods, willows. The Luga, tributary of the Western Bug, flows nearby. Its source is located in Lokachynskyi District of Volyn Region while its mouth is located in the town of Ustylug, at the Polish border. The Luga tributaties are the Rylavytsia, the Smocha and the Svynareika.

The Slovianskyi Park is an interesting historical, cultural and natural monument with special landscapes and unique buildings.

The marvelous Liutsenskyi’s Garden used to be located at the Lutsk Street (now there is a hostel of Higher Professional School). 

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An ancient monument of sacral art is kept inside the Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Cathedral. It is a cross with Crucifixion dated the 15th century. According to the local legend, a spark from this cross fell on Ivan (Josafat) Kuntsevych, the further priest of Greek Catholic Church. Parishioners say that a special spiritual atmosphere is felt near Crucifixion.

St. Basil’s Church has an iconostasis dated the 18th – 19th centuries. Special attention is paid to Holy Virgin’s icon dated the 16th – 18th centuries. It was transferred from the burnt St. Introduction’s Church. The icon was preserved despite the fire. According to the local legend, the icon was moved here from the Byzantine Empire (the date is unknown). St. George is depicted in many icons. One of them (over 200 years old) is kept in the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Historical Museum.

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(including private ones)

The Volodymyr-Volynskyi Historical Museum is the most ancient museum in the region: it celebrated the 120th anniversary in 2007. For such a long period the museum faced lots of dramatic events related mainly to political crises in early and middle 20th century. Revolutions, wars, destructions, splitting-up the states, changing the borders and political regimes – that was a real challenge for the historical and cultural epicenter in ancient Volodymyr-Volynskyi. Despite the fact that lots of rare exhibits from the museum’s collection got lost forever, its employees worked hard upon filling-up the stock. Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi (1898–1983), a famous historian, archaeologist and country researcher from Volyn, made a precious contribution thereto. In his scientific works he enlightened the broad historical heritage of his motherland. After the Second World War the Volyn attracted many historians, archaeologists and country researchers. Numerous scientific expeditions managed by famous researchers from Kyiv, Lviv, Moscow, Leningrad, worked both in the ancient city upon the Luga and in its suburbs. Let us mention Vitold Aulich, Mykhailo Karger, Pavlo Rappoport, Marianna Malevska, Igor Sveshnikov, Sviatoslav Terskyi, Mykhailo Kuchinko. They discovered precious items which based the collection of the city museum. Now it is one of the best collections in the region. Now there are over 17 thousands various exhibits in the museum joined into the following groups: “Archaeology”, “Numismatics”, “Art”, “Photos”, “Icon-painting and sacral art”, “Written documents”, “Metal products”, “Decorative and applied art”. This collection is regularly filled-up. The museum’s staff participates actively in the cultural and scientific lifestyle of the city and the region.

The Volodymyr-Volynskyi Historical Museum is governed by the current legislation of Ukraine and is designated for keeping, collecting, exhibiting and research of ancient items of historical and cultural value. Its main mission is generalization of the past, present and future cultures based on keeping and updating the most precious items of all the types of heritage. In a nutshell, the modern museum is a treasury of past creating the consciousness and esthetic taste of the present generations. One of the most interesting exhibits are the restored collections of icons (the 16th – 18th centuries), archaeological materials (labour instruments and household items from the Stone Age till the period of Kyiv Russ), cutting weapon, coins, photos dated 1915 – 1918, masterpieces of folk masters (embroidery, cloths, clothes, panorama of ancient Volodymyr), shooting weapon of the Second World War, biographic cards of the political repression victims and prisoners of the concentration camp “Nord-Olfag-365”.

Collection of sacral arts in the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Historical Museum was formed in 1960s – 1980s. The museum keeps over 150 exhibits of the church items, in particular 46 icons dated the 16th – 19th centuries. The Volyn icons are symbols of its collection. They are created by unknown masters but make an impression by self-made style and original artistic concepts. Their composition combines organically longstanding traditions of the Ukrainian icon-painting and the influence of West European art of the 16th – 19th centuries. It is noteworthy that most of these exhibits originated from destroyed churches and monasteries of the Volyn and Kholmshchyna, thus they have a special historic value. In 2006-2011 the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Historical Museum cooperated actively with eht Lviv Branch of the National Scientific and Research Restoration Center of Ukraine. Such cooperation resulted in restoring 12 icons, such as “St. George the Serpent Fighter”, “Holy Virgin of Odygitria”, “St. Dormition”, “St. Nicolas”, “Secret Dinner”, “St. Protection”, St. Dimitri” and images of prophets. The most ancient among the saved masterpieces is the icon of Holy Savior Not Made By Hands (the 16th century), the discovery whereof was a main event in cultural and historical lifestyle in 2010. Restoration of ancient icons is supported by the Rotary Club from Lviv which unites the real fans of the Ukrainian historical and cultural heritage. Now the first regular exhibition of the best examples of the old Ukrainian art has been opened in the Museum.

In late 19th century the researchers interested more in history of the Volyn which belonged to the Russian Empire at that time (especially in 1880s – 1890s). At that time there were published the following works: “Volyn: Historical Fates of the South-Western Region” by P.N. Batiushkov (1888), “History of the city of Volodymyr-Volynskyi correlated to history of the Volyn Hierarchy” by M. Teodorovych (1893). The enthusiastic historian Omelian Mykolaiovych Dvernytskyi (1838-1906) lived and worked in Volyn for that time. He was a nobleman, a judge and a highly enlightened and educated person who had an idea of renewing the destroyed ancient Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Cathedral in Volodymyr Volynskyi (the temple was destroyed in late 18th century due to unprofessional reconstruction).For that purpose Omelian Dvernytskyi founded the St. Volodymyr’s Orthodox Fraternity which united the devotees of ancient art – representatives of local intelligence. Since Russia was going to celebrate the 900th anniversary of Christening the Kyiv Russ (1888), the initiative of St. Volodymyr’s Orthodox Fraternity was supported by the governing layers of the Empire. For the next several years the famous scientists (historians, archaeologists, architects) worked in Volyn, such as Adrian Prakhov (archaeologist, professor of Saint Petersburg University), Volodymyr Antonovych (professor of Kyiv university), Orest LEvytskyi (secretary of the Kyiv Archaelogical Committee), architects Mykhailo Preobrazhenskyi and Grygorii Kotov. Their cooperation resulted in restoring the original image of Uspenskiy (St. Dormition) Cathedral as the monument of ancient architecture in the 12th century (the cathedral was restored in 1896-1900). At that time there were detected lots of interesting cultural and archeological memorials. Local inhabitants also found many ancient items. In order to preserve the valuable materials, Omelian Dvernytskyi organized the Museum of Ancient Storage which operated first under St. Basil’s Church and then under the Uspenskiy Cathedral. It served as grounds for the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Museum. The collection increased due to activities of the Fraternity. In late 19th century it consisted of nearly 100 manuscripts and 500 printed works, including manuscripts of Gospels (the 16th century) as well as rare icons, coins and church items. The Museum of Ancient Storage included also a lecture hall, library; its ancient exhibits were studied by famous Russian scientists. For his merits to the Orthodox Church and the city society, Omelian Dvernytskyi was buried under the walls of St. Dormition Cathedral in 1906. In 1911 the exhibits of the Museum of Ancient Storage were transferred to Zhytomyr Eparchy Administration (Zhytomyr was a capital of the Volyn Province). In 1914, when the First World War began, the collection was evacuated to the Kharkiv Art Museum (the significant amount of exhibits got lost) while during the Second World War (for the period of fascist invasion in 1941-1943) the exhibits of Volodymyr-Volynskyi got lost forever. Probably they were destroyed by fascists. But some scientists, such as P. Zholtovskyi, presumed that after the war precious exhibits found out to be kept in Russian museums. The Historical Museum operated also in the inter-war period (1920s – 1930s) although the detailed information about that period is absent. We know only that it was a public institution and most of exhibits were transferred from private collections.

The Volodymyr-Volynskyi State Museum was established in 1940 after the Western Ukrainian was included to the USSR. In 1941, when the war began, the museum was not promptly evacuated (Volodymyr-Volynskyi was occupied by fascist army on the second day of the war). The museum employees could only hide the boxes with the most valuable exhibits. The city was destroyed and lots of its inhabitants were killed. The people hiding the museum’s exhibits also disappeared. So it was impossible to find the storage place, thus those items were deemed as lost forever. Only in 1995 some boxes with the museum’s documentation were found accidentally during the repair works. The museum was reborn after the war and was called “Born in the Tempest”. Its main function was enlightening the revolutionary and military fame of the Volyn, the Soviet achievements in restoring the urban economy and industry (1960s – 1970s). But even under the Soviet ideologies the museum’s collection was filled-up by ancient precious items. New materials were found by archaeological expeditions which operated in Volodymyr every year. Lots of exhibits were transferred by the Regional Historical Museum (the Volodymyr-Volynskyi State Museum was its subsidiary). The museum-s collection included also the masterpieces of sacral art: icons, prints, metal products originated from churches destroyed by the Communist regime and arts of folk masters. In the 1970s – 1980s essential contribution to the museum development was made by Petro Zaklekta, a long-term employee and director of the museum, historian and country researcher, an educated and enthusiastic person who participated personally in many scientific expeditions and popularized history and country studying among children and youth. For that period the museum become an important venue of the whole cultural lifestyle of the city. Famous researchers and archaeologists studied its exhibits and enlightened information about them in their scientific works. After Ukraine got independence, the Volodymyr-Volynskyi State Museum faced new tasks and prospects. It became an independent institution, as a historical museum governed by local city authorities. The scientists had an opportunity to represent the history of city and region openly, objectively and without prejudices. It should be noted that reorganization of museum took place during the serious economic crisis in early 1990s which caused essential difficulties in operation of its staff.

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The 20th of July Street (formerly Ostrovetska) has a house where Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi lived in 1960s – 1970s (he was born in the house previously located nearby).

Oleksandr Mykolayovych Tsynkalovskyi was born on the 9th of January 1898 in Volodymyr-Volynskyi. His father, Mykola Tsynkalovskyi, was an officer of high rank, married to Khrystyna Nitetska, daughter of the Polish nobleman and historian Pavlo Nitetskyi. Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi inherited his grandfather’s interest to history of his motherland. He studied at the Kovel Public School and then, when the First World War started, his family moved to the Russian Empire. Oleksandr entered the Lazan University and returned to Volyn after the war. He joined the army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, worked as a teacher and in 1925 entered the Warsaw University (the theological department). He graduated from the university as a Master and prepared the dissertation work “Traces of the early Christianity in VOlyn before the Volodymyr’s Princedom”. He cooperated with archaeological museums of Poland and Shevchenko Scientific Society in Lvov.

Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi made research mainly in history, archaeology, ethnography, sacral architecture, numismatics of the Ancient Volyn (i.e. the territory of modern Volyn, Lviv, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytskyi and part of Ternopil Regions). He walked in these regions, visited numerous towns which now ceased to exist and described their history. In 1939 he became a director of Kremenets Historical Museum and when the Second World War started he moved to Poland with his wife Regina. He worked in Krakow and Warsaw, awarded a bronze medal of the Polish Academy of Sciences for merits in archaeology. His letters, works and medal are kept in the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Historical Museum. Lots of his manuscripts are kept in archives of Poland, the main of which are the dictionsry “Old Volyn and Volyn Polissia” (in two volumes), “Prince’s town Volodymyr”, “The Pripiat and its tributaries”, “Materials upon archaeology of the Volodymyr county” etc. The scientist wrote hundreds of scientific works and lots of them remained unpublished. Oleksandr Tsynkalovskyi died in April 1983 and was buried at the Wolya Orthodix Cemetery in Warsaw.

Ustyluzka Street has a two-storeyed building of Agatangel Krymskyi’s Pedagogical College. Agatangel Krymskyi (1871-1942) was an outstanding world-recognized linguist and politologist, historian and ethnographer, folklorist and poet, translator and philatelist, knew 60 foreign languages. He was born on the 15th of January 1871 in Volodymyr-Volynskyi where his father was a teacher of history and geography in the local two-grade school (now it’s a pedagogical college). The scientist originated from the Crimean Tatars, his mother was a Pole from Lithuania. Agatangel Krymskyi studied at the Ostrog Public School, Pavlo Galagan’s College in Kyiv, Lazarevskyi Institute of orient languages and Moscow University. His main credo was “To study and to know!” He translated Omar Hayam, Saadi, Firduosi into Ukrainian. His main works were called “History of Persia and Persian Theatre”, “History of Arabian Literature” etc. He was tortured in 1942 due to Stalin’s regime, died in the Kazakh prison and was rehabilitated after the Second World War. In 1971 UNESCO included his name to the list of the outstanding world scientists.

Mykola Rokytskyi, the artist, was born in 1901 in the village of Zaricchia near Volodymyr-Volynskyi. He studied in Kyiv, his teacher was a famous professor M.Boichuk. His art style was monumentalism. Rokytskyi decorated the Villain Health Center near Odesa, the Kyiv Railway Station. His famous picture “The apple-tree” is stored in Lviv, at the Andrtii Sheptytskyi’s National Museum. Rokytskyi participated in the Seocnd World War and was kept at the concentration camp as a prisoner. He died in 1944 and was buried at the Lukianivskyi Cemetery in Kyiv. In his tribute, the bas-relief is placed on the wall of Human Public School in Volodymyr-Volynskyi where the artist studied in early 20th century.

Arsen Richynskyi (1892-1956) lived in Volodymyr-Volynskyi in 1920s – 1930s. HE was a doctor, public person, priest, historian, expert in religion. He wrote the monographic work “Problems of the Ukrainian religious consciousness”, chronicles “On the duty” and many others. He was tortured and exiled to Kazakhstan where he died in 1956. The house where Arsen Richynskyi lived is still kept in the city. The memorial board is placed its wall in memoriam of that scientist.

Solomon Gotlib lived in Volodymyr-Volynskyi in late 18th century. He was a Jew priest, one of leaders of the Khasid religious movement. His grave is located at the territory of formed Judaist Cemetery, one of the most famous in Western Europe. Now there is a mausoleum.

Damian Osypovych Gershtanskyi was born on the 1st of November 1854 in the village of Tarazh (Kremenets county, Ternopil Region). All his male predecessors were priests. Damian graduated from the Kremenets Priest School in 1871 and entered the Volyn Theological Seminary (graduated in 1877). On the 15th of March 1877 the young priest started serving at the Mykolaiv Church of Volodymyr-Volynskyi, instead of Father Sevastian Kosowycz – a priest and historian who served there for 64 years and died. From 1890 Father Damian served at the Vasylivska Church for over 50 years. He was also an active public person: he participated in the All-Russian Census of Population, was a member of the Russian Community upon Animal Protection. Mr. Gershtanskyi had a wide reputation among the citizens and was elected in 1907 to the Russian Parliament – the 2nd State Duma (he was a member of its Ukrainian subdivision). But in 72 days the parliament was wounded-up by the Tsar Nicolas the Second. In the Duma the priest cooperated with one more citizen of Volyn – Iryna Levchanivska from Lutsk. In 1913 the Father Damian was awarded the Emperor’s Order of 3rd class. When the First World War started he was a chaplain in the 320th field hospital despite his 62 years old. In 1927 his 50-year period of service was mentioned in the greeting letter signed by the Volodymyr layer of intelligence and stating the following: “You have been serving for a long time and almost all the parishioners are the children of God. You blessed everyone in the process of christening, marriage or funeral”. IN 1922 he was elected as a senator of the Seim in Rzecz Pospolita. He protected there also the interests of ordinary people. His cottage with bursting ashes was located at the territory of the modern Park Lane. He married Olga Kostiantynivna, had six daughters (Maria, Nonna, Galyna, Vira, Olena, Nadiia) and the son Volodymyr. All his children obtained high education but their mother died early. Father brought up his children by himself, faced material problems but overcame them. His children went different ways. His daughter Nadiia married an officer who was killed on the first day of the First World War and was buried near the Vasylivska Church. They had a son Vadym. Vira had a short marriage and died. Nonna married the geodesist Kulesha and moved to Europe with her son Olexandr Kulesha who lived in the USA. Galyna married Ivan Zubovych who was head of the Volodymyr City Administration in 1920s. He founded also a public school operating in the premises of pedagogical college. Grateful citizens wanted to call a street in his name. Volodymyr, Damian’s son, married Olena Babii, a land owner who graduated from the Warsaw University. Their daughter Susanna was a teacher and administrator of Shevchenko Cinema Hall. Father Damian Gershtanskyi died in 1936 and was buried near the Vasylivska Church. As stated in the Bible, there are lots of invited but few selected. He belonged to the selected ones, he was invited by the God and he served to the church and to people for his entire life.

Hanna-Rachel Werbermacher was born and lived in Volodymyr-Volynskyi in the 19th century. She was one of the unique persons in khadisism – a female priest and spiritual leader. Hanna Werbermacher was born in the rich family in the center of Volodymyr, at the Farna Street, in the red-brick house. Her father, a rich Jew, provided qualitative education for his daughter and the universal studying of Thorax. Hanna-Rachel is said to be a late child and was born according to the prophecy foreseeing her unique fate. Hanna had ascetic lifestyle, studied holy Judaist texts. She is said to have healed and to have predicted future. Khasid spiritual leaders criticized Hanna and stated that the woman is designated to family, children and household. In 1863 the Virgin of Liudmyr (she was called so) migrated to Israel. She was buried on the Olive Mountain. Her children and grandchildren were murdered during Holocaust in the village of Piatydni, near Volodymyr. A monument is erected on Hanna’s grave on the Olive Mountain.

Vasyl Bobko was buried at the Ladomyr Cemetery. His son, Yevgen Vasylievych, was the most famous among the Bobkos (born on the 12th of May 1890 in the village of Bobychi).

Mykola Vavrysevych was an editor of the Volyn and Kholmshyna folk advising calendars issued with the support of the Orthodox Church.

Mykola Vavrysevych wrote 25 multi-act plays, 7 comedies, 25 scenarios for club performances as well as an autobiographic memoires “In labour and armour”. During the Second World War Mykola Vavrysevych, his wife Maria Adamivna and their sons Mykola and Mykhaili saved several Jew families and were recognized as holy persons of the world. Trees in the Holy Alley in Jerusalem grow in their honour.

Legends of ancient Volodymyr

St. George fighting the Serpent. Our legends and myths composed by the Ukrainians contain lots of interesting facts. At first sight they seem to be invented by they tell about the real events. Myths and legends were used for explaining and interpreting the unknown natural phenomena and environment. The region of Volodymyr has many architectural monuments and, certainly, legends. One of the most ancient legends composed in the pre-Christian period, when our ancestors were pagans, tells about the wicked serpent which lived on the bank of the Rylavytsia (a tributary if the Luga). There was a hecatomb devoted to a wicked pagan god. Each year a young maiden from the city was sacrificed and nobody could prevent such trouble. One day the local prince’s daughter was subject to sacrifice. Her parents burst in tears and gave her daughter to the wicked monster. But suddenly a handsome knight appeared, mounted on the white horse. He was St. George. He struck the serpent with his spear and the agonizing monster dug land by means of its tail. Thus the Rylavytsia River occurred. It is a symbolic legend about the good defeating the evil (as shown by confrontation of St. George and the Serpent). The Serpent symbolized dark, aggressive and unknown natural phenomena substituted by Christianity – this is another interpretation of such legend.

Crown of the King Danylo Galytskyi. The city of Volodymyr has a rich history. In the ancient time princes ruled the city of Volodymyr. The wisest prince was Danylo Galytskyi. He was also the noble and brave knight who inherited both the might of his father, Prince Roman, and the Galytsko-Volyn Princedom. He always defended it from enemies. But one day Danylo, his brother Vasyl and a dozen of other princes gathered in Volodymyr to celebrate the wedding of Vasyl’s daughter. They drank mead, ate wild fowl and handsome servants assisted the princes. Suddenly the Mongol-Tatar troops appeared – the worst trouble in the Russ! It was a surprise for princes (Danylo was already a king, crowned by the Pope). Danylo shouted: “Listen to me, my brother Vasyl and everybody – princes of Galychyna and Volyn! We shall not let the enemy capture us! It is better to die at our motherland than to be famous in the foreign land!” He took his sword and mounted the horse, the princes followed him. The prince gave his crown to his servant Klym Khrystynych and ordered him to hide the crown. The servant dug the crown under the oak. The battle was hard but the princes fought bravely, though the city was destroyed. The whole world restored the city of Volodymyr. And now the golden domes shining again and the bronze bells ring for fame of the city. But Danylo’s crown disappeared. There are lots of legends about it: it is said either to be hidden in Holm or in Volyn. People have been seeking it for many years but have not found it yet.

Treasures of the Polish Kings. St. Johem’s and St. Anne’s Catholic Church is a brilliant sight in the center of Volodymyr-Volynskyi. It is over 200 years old. Nearby there are ancient walls in the cozy garden. They were also erected over 200 years ago. There used to be a monastery. The monks were called Capuchins, since they wore hoods. They prayed in the Catholic Church. One day the Polish King granted them his treasure (gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones) for storage. Monks lived in privacy and told almost nothing about themselves. Therefore some legends and riddles appeared regarding their lifestyle. But the citizens heard also about the treasures of Polish Kings. In the 19th century there was a Polish riot against the Russian Tsar who captured Poland. Tsar faced anger of the Polish rebels who left the city jointly with the Capuchin monks. The monastery ceased to exist long ago but the legends about the treasures of Polish Kings, allegedly kept in the Catholic Church, were spread for many years.

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Author: Volodymyr Muzychenko