Lutsk – Visit One of the Largest Cities in Western Ukraine
If you decide to travel to the Volyn Oblast in Ukraine, you will no doubt find yourself in the region's administrative center, Lutsk. Lutsk is located near the Styr River in the north western part of Ukraine at the center of the Lutsky Raion, or district, and has a population of approximately 206 000 people. What is perhaps most remarkable about the city is that it enjoys a long and involved history in the development of the country – even though the Volyn Region today seems to play only a minor role in the economy of Ukraine. In fact, the city today started life as an ancient Slavic town which is made mention of in the Hypatian Chronicle dated 1085. This means the town was already in existence long before this and, since it is so old, no one today knows the true meaning of the city's name.
Legend has it that the ancient Slavic town of Luchesk (now Lutsk) was founded sometime during the 7th century – though this cannot be proved beyond a doubt. At the time the town served as the capital of the Halych-Volynia and it was built around a wooden castle. The town was not seen as being particularly important at the time and did not attract much in the way of commerce or culture. It was seized and looted by the Tatars, though at the time the nearby castle was left untouched. Sometime later, during the 1300s, the town was captured and recaptured by Lithuania. Under Lithuanian rule Lutsk was finally able to prosper and a stone castle was erected to fortify the area. Vytautus the Great made the effort to import a number of Jewish, Tatar, Karaim and Armenian colonists into the town and so Lutsk in Ukraine slowly came to enjoy a strong sense of culture and trade. In 1427 the Catholic bishopric was moved from Volodymyr to Luchesk, giving the city religious importance. Vytautus himself chose to live in the Ukrainian castle, being the last Duke of Volhynia to do so. Over time the city came to have such religious significance that it came to be known as the ‘Volhynian Rome’.
By the mid 17th century, the city had as many as 50 000 inhabitants. But the town was later siezed, looted and partially burnt – something from which it never fully recovered. It’s inhabitants fled and a number of them were slaughtered. The city was also struck by fire during 1781, which caused a lot of damage to many of the churches for which it had gained prominence. This was the start of more bad things to come and soon Lutsk fell into insignificance. Damaged by war and continually changing hands between rulers and countries, the city only barely survived long enough to see the 20th century. Fortunately, since the city has come under Ukrainian government it has been able to recover to quite a large degree. Today, it is one of the largest cities in Western Ukraine and it is seen as playing an important role in industry, culture and science. Today you will find several places of interest in Lutsk which are worth seeing. For one thing you will see remnants of the castles which have provided the city with protection over the years. You will also be able to see a number of the churches which once played such a prominent role in the history of the city. The nearby villages of Trochenbrod and Lozisht also make for interesting touring. So visit Lutsk and discover the heart of this ancient city for yourself.