reisewelt ukraine
Antonovycha st. 31,
79018 Lviv Ukraine


Zhovkva is the city of crafts and arts. It is located in Lviv region 30 kilometers away to the north of Lviv. There live about 13,000 inhabitants.

In the 17th century the city was a residence of Polish King Jan III Sobieski and in 1772 became under the Austrian rule.

From 1850 to 1918, it was also the residence of district administration and from 1854 to 1876 – the residence of a county government in Galicia.

In 1951, under the Soviet Union, the city was named after Pyotr Nikolayevich Nesterov, the pilot of the First World War who crashed near the town performing the loop.

Only in 1992 the old name of Zhovkva, which came by its’ landowner of the 17th century, was given back to the town. This Polish nobleman, Stanislaw Zholkiewski in 1594 built out the existing since the 14th century settlement, constructed the fortress and the castle. The settlement was growing quickly under Zholkiewski authority.

Zhovkva has been known for centuries as the city of crafts and arts. Potters, glassblowers, goldsmiths and weaver masters lived and worked here. The level of prosperity of the city can be recognized even now in the many beautiful buildings of previous centuries. On the Market Place of Zhovkva, there are two-storey houses from the 17th century with wide arcades. These types of buildings were common for commercial towns in Galicia.

Since 1593 the Jewish community grows in Zhovkva. In 1931 there were about 4,400 residents who confessed Jewish faith.

On September 18, 1939, the city was occupied by the German Wehrmacht, which was, however, pushed out by the Soviets already on September 23, of the same year.

By June 1941, the city belonged to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. After the WW II burst out between Germany and the Soviet Union, Zhovkva was occupied again on 28 June 1941st by the Germans. The synagogue was put on fire right on the following day. The first deportation of 700 elderly and sick Jews to the extermination camp Belzhec took place in March 1942.

Only those who fitted the work were saved at the beginning.  The second deportation of 2,000 people to Belzhec took place on 22 November 1942nd. On December 1, 1942, the remaining Jews of the town and surrounding villages were put into a ghetto.

From March 25, 1943, the ghetto was eliminated. In the end, the city had to be declared as "free of Jews". For this purpose, the ghetto inmates were taken to the forest “Bir” near the town and shot. Only 170 Jews were deported to the Janowski concentration camp in Lvov (Lviv), about more than 60 were imprisoned in a labor camp of Zhovkva until they were also killed in the nearest “Bir” forest in July 1943. After the liberation of the city by the Red Army on July 24, 1944 it appeared that only 74 Jewish inhabitants had survived the Nazi purges.

To the most important attractions of the city mainly belongs the Market square with Renaissance buildings and the cathedral of Sent Laurentius. Also one will find the Great Synagogue built in 1692-1700 in the style of late Renaissance. In 1941 the synagogue was severely damaged by the German occupiers and, despite restoration attempts after the war, is in a precarious state today.