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Armenian Roman Catholic Church, the XVII сentury. Preservation # 1687 | Foto
Zhvatets' Village


The Roman Catholic Church in honour of the Immaculate Conception (former Armenian Roman Catholic Church) was built at the beginning of the XVIII century by Zhvanets' Armenians. There is an icon of Kaetan, warshiped by the Catholics there (1782-1786). It is located in the territory, surrounded by an even stone fense. There are defense walls with loopholes in the western and eastern parts of the Church territory. There are two gates in the south-west; the first gate is late, the second one is more ancient (it looks like ruins of the entrance building with a lodge). It was built in the place of another building in 1699.
It is stone, mononaved with two eskedres along the side elevation, with a segment closed apse. Side articulations of the narthex were increased by the towers (did not remain). The nave and apse are covered with semicircular arhes with a lancet stripping, the abutments are decorated with a stone fretwork. The fretted compositions are a primary mean of artistic expressiveness of the main elevation of the building.
The Church is done in the Reinessance and Baroque traditions. This monument is an original work of the Late Baroque.

Памятники градостроительства и архитектуры Украинской ССР 4 том. - Киев Будівельник 1986

 

THE ARMENIAN FORTRESS

There is a Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in the territory of the village. It is known from the Armenian sources as "a little ancient Armenian Fortress". It is located in the centre of Zhvanets', in its ancient cape part. It is surrounded by the Dnister River from the South, and by the Zhvanchyk River - from the North-west. It looks like an irregular square in its plan, with an area of 0,5 ha. Its north-western sharp angle goes on the main entrance road fork, the western direction of which leads to the castle (on the distance of nearly 200 m), and the southern one, that surrounds the Armenian Fortress, leads to the Dnister River. There is an Armenian Temple within this area in the north-western corner. It is one-naved, one-apsed building with the sacristy and side-altars.
The date of building of the Armenian Fortress is unknown. V.Grygorian, referring to M.Bzhyshkyan, calls the walls, that surround the temple, "firm" and notes, that till 1766, during the Turkish agression of Zhvanets', a part of the citizens hide behind the Church walls. The description of this fortified territory was made by K.Mel'nyk at the end of the 70's of the XIX century: "The ancient Armenian Church that is located on the left side of the entrance street, draws one's attention. It is a stone building of the ancient architecture, surrounded by high massive stone fence with the tracks of the fortifications in the shape of the loopholes and buttresses in some places... The building (of the Church - Y.P.) is rather large and high, especially the bell tower with the loopholes".
The Armenian Fortress as a local fortification was formed on the base of the general fortification system of Zhvanets', in particular the fortifications that surrounded its ancient cape part from the East. There is an S-shaped ditch in the foundation of the earlier fortifications of Zhvanets'. It crosses the cape in the direction South - North. Later, forming of the second line of defense, the stone walls, began. In the place of their bend (at the south-western angle of the Armenian Fortress) the Defensive Tower was built (11 х 11m in plan). People could enter the ancient cape part of the city over the Tower crossing the bridge over the ditch. Soon, to strengthen defense possibilities of the entrance, some fortifications were built at the Overgate Tower. It was a small territory, surrounded by the walls. It is possible, that in 1431, the first owner of Zhvanets', known as Svychko from Lenchyn, settled there.
In the middle of the XV century, in the northern, upper part of the ancient territory of Zhvanets', a regular tower fortress, rectangular in its plan, was built with the purpose of providing a flanking defense of fortification with Overgate Tower. It became the military camp of that time owner of Zhvanets', Mychaylo Buchats'kyi. Under protection of the mighty castle the territory of the fortification became much safe place, where at the end of the XV - at the beginning of the XVI centuries an Armenian temple was built. At first, it was one-naved and one-apsed, with the bell-tower over the vestibule and perimeter one-tiered gallery. After building of the temple on the territory of the fortification it became a small fortress.
The next, the third stage of the building history of the Armenian Fortress is connected with the modernization of the Zhvanets' Castle that was made by Valentiy-Olexandr Kalynovs'kyi, in the first quarter of the XVII century. In the period of changing of two corner towers of the Castle into the bastions, the western and southern walls of the Armenian Fortress prevented the building. That is why the walls were demolished, then, built again with changing of the tracing. It, in its turn, caused the necessity of demolishing of the vestibule and western gallery of the temple because they appeared to be on the way of new fortifications.
In the period of the Turkish occupation (1672-1699), according to the order of Yan Sobes'kyi, the defense constructions of Zhvanets' were bunt down. At the beginning of the XVIII century, the fortifications of the Armenian Fortress were repaired. Then, a new front door in the south-western wall was made in the Baroque Style.
In 1769, the Fortress was damaged because of the military operations against the lordly rebels. In the process of the repairing, the southern wall was strengthened by means of firm buttresses. The earthen parapet with the embrasures was also made. These works became the last in the military history of the Fortress.
Today, the territory of the Armenian Fortress looks like a rectangular with the right south-eastern angle and sharp cut north-western one. Along the perimeter it is surrounded by the stone walls, except the northern side, where the ancient walls became a part of the present economic buildings. The south-western wall, that creates the fracture in the southern part, remained to the height of 2.5 m in average. There are twelve (12) loopholes and two (2) gates in the wall. The first gate is located opposite the entrance to the temple. Its dimensions are 3.4 х 4.7 m. The width of the opening of the gate is 2.0 m. There is a stone tie plate of bow-shaped contour. The tracks of the ancient, semicircular tie-plate remained under its abutment. Four (4) of twelve (12) loopholes are located northward of the gate. One of the loopholes, that is located near the gate, has the sides, widening in both directions, the rest of them are with the sides, widening in yard direction only. The loopholes are 0.5-0.68 m in the side of the yard, and 0.1-0.15 m in the floor side. The tie plates of the loopholes are architrave ones.
The second gate on the fracture of the wall remained from the Overgate Tower, that existed before building of the Armenian Fortress. The walls thickness of the tower is 2.73 m. The opening of the gate has external quarters and jambs, widening in the yard direction. Its width is 4.0 m from the side of the yard, and 3.0 m from the floor. There is a large loophole northward the gate, in 1.1 m distance. It is located in the front side, its width from the floor is 1.3 m, and 2.0 m - from the opposite side. Two loopholes of the south-western wall are crossed by the later annex. The Eastern defense wall of the Fortress with six (6) loopholes is similar to the south-western one. The Southern wall is 1.0 m thick. There are no loopholes in it.


Пламеницька Є. Малодослідженні фортифікації містечка Жванця на Поділлі // Пам'ятки України. Історія та культура. - 1997. - №3.

 


Translated by Yana Anufriyeva
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