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Coat of arms
Zhovkva is located in Ukraine
Location of Zhovkva
Coordinates: 50°4′0″N 23°58′0″E / 50.066667°N 23.966667°E / 50.066667; 23.966667
Lviv Oblast
Zhovkivskyi Raion
Founded 1597
City rights 1603
 - Total 7.64 km2 (2.9 sq mi)
 - Total 13,316
 Density 1,742/km2 (4,511.8/sq mi)
Postal code 80300—80304
Area code(s) +380 3252
A street in Zhovkva
Old market place

Zhovkva (Ukrainian: Жовква; Polish: Żółkiew; Yiddish: Zholkva) is a city in the Lviv Oblast (province) of western Ukraine, north of Lviv. It is the administrative center of the Zhovkivskyi Raion (district). The current estimated population is 13,500.



The site of Zhovkva has been inhabited since the 14th century. In 1594, the Polish military commander Stanisław Żółkiewski fortified the settlement and built Żółkiew Castle.[1] Due to its strategic location at the intersection of important trade routes, the town prospered.

In the 17th century, it became the royal residence for King John III Sobieski of Poland, and a hub of religious life, arts and commerce.[1] From its earliest days, the population was a mix of Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. Landmark buildings include a fortress-like synagogue, churches and monasteries.[1]

Before World War II, the town's 4,500 Jews accounted for nearly half the population, but few survived the Holocaust. The synagogue was blown up by the Nazis in 1941, leaving only the outside walls. In 2000, the building was declared one of the world's most endangered sites by the World Monuments Fund.[1]

In 1951, while under Soviet occupation, Zhovkva was renamed Nesterov after the World War I aviator Pyotr Nesterov who became the first to perform a suicide plane crash in the history of aviation near Zhovkva. The name Zhovkva was restored in 1992.


The Collegiate Church of St. Lawrence, a domed church from the 17th century built by the Italian architect and mason Paweł Szczęśliwy ("Paolo the Lucky"), was turned into a warehouse under Soviet rule. After Ukraine declared independence in the early 1990s, the church was restored.[1]

The town center of Zhovkva was declared a heritage site in 1994, and restoration work is now under way.[1] Zhovkva Castle, the town's oldest and largest building, is being converted into a culture and conference hall.[1]



  • Relics of Saint Parthenius, 3rd century Christian martyr from Rome, whose relics were moved to Zhovkva in 1784. They are kept at the local Church of Holy Heart of Jesus, run by Ukrainian Greek-Catholic monks of Basilian order.

Notable residents


External links


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