Okopy Swietej Trojcy

From Academic Kids

Okopy Świętej Trójcy (Polish for Stronghold of the Holy Trinity) was a - now non-existent - town and fortress at the Zbruch and Dnister rivers.


The stronghold and the neighbouring town were built in 1692 by Stanisław Jan Jabłonowski, grand hetman of the crown. The site was chosen by king Jan III Sobieski of Poland as a measure to stop a possible attack from the nearby Turkish-seized fortresses of Kamieniec Podolski (20 km away) and Chocim (8km away). The projects were prepared by Tylman of Gameren, one of the most notable Polish architects of that time.

The site is a natural fortress: a small strip of high rocks linking the Zbruch and Dnister rivers. Tylman of Gameren decided to build a double line of fortifications with two gates leading east- (Kamieniec Gate) and westwards (Lwów Gate). Other directions were defended by towered walls and natural escarpements over the river banks. The construction was started uder command of general of horse artillery Marcin Katski and the works were finished the same year. The nearby village was also fortified. In 1693 Jan III Sobieski built a votive church in the stronghold.

The stronghold was abandoned in 1699 when the rest of Podolia was turned back to Poland. In 1769 the Bar Confederates defended the stronghold against the besieging forces of Russia. The defence was commanded by Kazimierz Pułaski.

After the Partitions of Poland in 1772 the village and the stronghold ruins became the easternmost point of Austrian Galicia. The nearby town was depopulated and the village was moved by its inhabitants inside of the fortress walls and most of the houses were built of the stone used for the walls. The remaining parts of the stronghold (both gates, one of the forts, the ruins of the Holy Trinity church and parts of the walls) were partially restored in 1905 by count Mieczysław Dunin-Borkowski. One of the most famous people born in the village was Israel ben Eliezer, a Jewish mystical rabbi.

After the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1920 the site remained in Poland in the Tarnopol Voivodship. In the interbellum the village was known for its wineries and peach orchards. It became a holidays center for the inhabitants of the nearby cities of Tarnopol and Lwów.

After the World War II the site was annexed by the Soviet Union. The village was renamed Okopy and was turned into a Kolkhoz, but soon was totally depopulated in the effect of forced migration of Poles to Siberia.

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