Fot. Dominik Czapigo

Zalischyky (Polish: Zaleszczyki) is one of the most beautifully located towns in Podolia (Ukraine). In the interwar period it was a very fashionable summer health resort. Poles, gathered primarily around the Roman-Catholic Church, account for a small minority of its population.

Zalischyky, surrounded by the Dniester River from three sides, is located on a peninsula in a deep ravine whose southern face is 300 metres high and used to be a natural border between the Second Polish Republic and Romania in the past. Some Polish troops were evacuated across the bridge over the Dniester River in Zalischyky in 1939 (while the President, the Government and the Chief Command crossed the border in Kuty). Its early name Zalisia, and then Zalischyky, appeared in the 16th century documents. Following the First Partition of Poland the town was incorporated into the Austrian Empire. Zalischyky’s heyday was in the interwar period when the town was not only a major tourist centre but also a centre of commerce and a road and rail hub. Dniester in turn was a major timber floating route from as far as Sambir. In the Second Polish Republic the town enjoyed the reputation of a highly-regarded and modern health resort, owing to its exceptionally mild climate also conducive to wine, apricot and peach growing. In the interwar period many holidaymakers rested in the local villas and on the beaches called the “Shady” and “Sunny” ones. In the 1930s, the town hosted Marshal Józef Piłsudski, the then Foreign Minister Józef Beck, Lvov Voivode Władysław Belina-Prażmowski and Chief of General Staff General Janusz Gąsiorowski. In Zalischyky there are a few historic monuments, including a large 19th century brick synagogue which was used as a boiler house at the time of the Soviet Union and now is standing empty and deteriorating, a 19th century palace with a colonnade and the adjacent park bought by Baron Ignacy Brunicki from Prince Józef Poniatowski. In the 1930s, the residence became the property of the Turnau family, and its last owner, Stella Turnau, died in 1938. The oldest building in the town is the Roman-Catholic Saint Stanislaus Church built in 1763 which now gathers the very small Polish community living in Zalischyky. At the local cemetery in Zalischyky among Polish graves there is a monument to soldiers killed in the struggles for homeland between 1914 and 1920. The local Tourist Museum keeps collections from the Zalischyky area. Its holdings include pre-war photographs, postcards, and boards from the time of the Second Polish Republic. Before World War II the town’s population was 6,000, including more than 4,500 Jews, some 700 Poles and 500 Ukrainians. At present, Zalischyky is located in the Ternopil Oblast and has a population of 13,000.
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