Shargorod’s foundation is closely related to the name of a fomous Polish politician, public speaker and patron of art Jan Zamoisky (1542-1605). He actively helped Stephen Bathory and Zygmunt III Vasa to be enthroned in Poland. He was a devoted Catholic, and he supported the idea of religious tolerance.
In March 26, 1579, the king Stephan Bathory entrusted him that area. The king suggested a fortified castle to be built there. The castle would defend the country that was sparsely populated as a result of continuous Tatar raids. The king allowed new settlers to live there tax free for 20 years.
To build a castle, Zamoisky looked for a place where people could find a shelter hiding from the southern enemies. He chose a high cape at a junction of the Murashka and the Kovbasna rivers (forts at capes were highly popular then). The fortress was named Shargorod, after Florian Shariush a glorious knight who was believed to be an ancestor of Jan Zamoisky. Zamoisky united his Podolian lands and colonized them. He founded a Roman-Catholic church and a Church school in the city. Jan Zamoisky allowed Jews to settle in Shargorod. He founded new settlements in the vacant lands, and added them to Shargorod area, which included 2 towns and 20 villages.
Jan Zamoisky built a Cathoic church to St. Florian Shariush in 1595. In 1648, it was ruined during national liberation movement, and renewed in 1717. The Catholic church is built of rock and brck, in baroque style. It was planned as a three-nave and four-pole basilica. In the front top there is a baroque pediment. In the interior, there are 14 high-relief items of the 19th cent., in its eastern part there are two wooden polychromatic sculptures (the 18th cent.). On the vault and walls, there are paintings made in 1895-1899 and restored in 1863. The main entrance to the monument’s territory is a three-bayed arch with a baroque pediment in the top.
A synagogue in Shargorod is well-known far abroad. It was constructed in 1589, and it was a part of the city defense system. Shargorod synagogue is one of the most beautiful architectural Jewish monuments in Podillya. Thick walls, a Renaissance attic with figured castellation and tiny decorative towers in the corners, and widely spaced large windows give the synagogue a distinctive look.
During Turkish occupation in 1672-1699, the building was used as a mosque. The building was thoroughly renewed in the early 18th century, when the Turkish occupation was over. In the 18th – 19th cent. on the first floor of the western narthex there was a room for women (a wooden gallery, it hasn’t remained). A chapel has a typical for the late 16th – 18th cent. spatial design. In the centre, under the cupola, on a high rocky pedestal there is a bima with carved wooden hand-rails. In the late 19th century the main entrance was made in the centre of the front. In 1930s, the synagogue was closed, the building was confiscated by the Soviets and used as a winery.
Mykolayivsky Monastery was built in the 18th cent. in Shargorod. It consists of several buildings of different epochs: the Mykhailivsky Cathedral, a private building with a bell-tower, a brethren’s building with the Mykhailivska Church, a corner tower, and an administrative and supply building. Turkish troops ruined it in the late 17th century. In 1715 it was renewed as the Vasiliansky Monastery. In 1795 it was changed to the St. Mykola Orthodox Monastery.
In 1797, at the monastery a theological seminary was founded, and it functioned till the end of the 19th century. In this theological college S. Rudanskiy and M. Kotsiubynskiy had studied.
In the centre of the monastery yard there is a grand Mykolayivsky Cathedral (1829). This is a building with a four-pillar porch and a triangular gablet. The wall painting has remained inside.
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