The Museum of Bells


The museum has a quite interesting history of its foundation starting in the late 1980s when a group of workers from an open air museum 'Stare Misto' (the old town) started their meticulous work on collecting old bells survived in the local churches, a great deal of which to that time were closed and not functioning. That was the first step towards creating a unique bell collection.

Now the museum of bells in Lutsk castle is the only institution of that type in Ukraine. It was opened in 1985 in 'The Mastre's Tower' (Vladycha Vezha), the historical monument of the 14th century, the maintainance of which was provided by the Master. The exposition contains not only church bells, but also ones from schools, railway, post, and others; there are also cowbells, ship's bells, sleigh bells of different types, etc. The core of the local collection consists of the bells dated back to the 17th — early 20th centuries, and counts over 90 items. However, nowadays it is probably desreasing, rather that increasing, in size due to the process of the bells being given back to the places they originally belonged. As an example, 25 bells were returned to local churches. Church bells are usually unpretentious in their design — with mostly simple ornaments and manufacture dates. Only some of them are decorated with religious scenes in relief.

The oldest bell in the collection (1647) is a quite rare item to see in Ukraine, as long as lots of those were refounded into cannons in the Cossack era. This bell, which was functioning in times of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, is remarkable for its orignal manufacturing style — it was founded not in a traditional factory way, but following the unique technological process kept in secret by the bell master.

In the exposition you can also see the works of a famous Russian bell manufactory of the Olovyanishnikov family, the bells of Filchynsky (former Stanislav region, modern Ivano-Frankivsk), and also from Austrian, Romanian and Volynian founders. The museum investigators, who were researching the history of the collection, believe that the first working bell on Ukrainian lands were manufactured exactly in Volyn region. There's a record in the Galician-Volhynian Chronicle (1288): '...the Prince Vladimir Vasilkovich founded the bells, with magnificent sounds never happening before in the lands'. Those were believed to be made for a church in a small town of Lyuboml. Some bell images were also found in the remains of John the Theologian church in the castle (12th century). Symbolically, the final point of the museum exposition is a bell from Novovolynsk, the youngest town in Volyn. That town was the place where the modern history of church bell founding was created with the first modern foundry in the region being opened. The biggest item produces there, the great eight-tone bell, now is placed in the tower of St. Michael church in Kyiv.

The museum became a cultural centre for those who are interested in the bell craft. During the festival of bell ringing art 'Blahovist Volyni' (the Chime of Volyn), which takes place in the museum, you can see the best bell ringing masters from around Ukraine demonstrating their art of making music out of bells.

10:00-19:00 (in winter 10:00-17:00)
Entrance fee:
Free of charge.
Included in the general tour around the castle.
Contact info:
Lutsk city
Kafedralna St., 1

Tel.: +38 (0332) 72-34-32
+38 (0332) 72-48-88
How to get there:
By public transport
Go by train or by bus to Lutsk city. The museum is located within Lutsk castle.
More information about public transport.

By car
In Lutsk, go till the beginning of Volia Avenue (ukr. — Prospekt Voli), then go along B. Khmelnytsky—D. Halytsky street untill the left turn to Bratkovsky street. From there, turn to Kafedralna street (the second left turn).

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