Ukraine: Volodymyr-Volynsky

Volodymyr-Volynsky is one of the oldest and historically important towns in Ukraine. It was founded in 988 by Prince Volodymir the Great, the ruler of Kievan Rus from 980 to 1015, at the westernmost outposts of his vast empire. Mongol Batu Khan conquered it in the 13th century, then came Polish conquest in 14th century, then came Great Duchy of Lithuania in 15th century, also via a conquest. Polish kings came conquering back in the 17th century, until Russia conquered and annexed this in the 18th century. Russia expelled its Jews to the outskirts of the empire and the town rapidly became majority Jewish in the 19th century. The town fell to Nazi invasion on the second day of WWII in 1941, who immediately exterminated the entire Jewish population of 25 thousand. Today, Volodymyr-Volynsky is a small town near the Polish and EU border with loads of attraction – an old fortified 13th century stone church, several catholic cathedrals, several orthodox cathedral, remains of the 10th century fortification, several monasteries, and a memorial to Nazi atrocities.