Transfers Lviv - Warsaw - Lviv
Not only merchants were attracted by the wealth of Lviv. In those days Tatars, Moldavians, Turks, rebellious Polish nobility were attacking Lviv, and the defences were a vital matter. Basically the system of fortifications was completed in 1445; it comprised the Higher and Lower Defence Walls with a ditch between them; a deep moat filled with water, which protected the town on the northern, eastern and southern sides; a defence rampait, 16 metres high; the High and Low Castles. The river and impassable swamps shielded Lviv from the west. However, with the advent of firearms, such fortifications could afford little protection, and they underwent drastic alterations. High walls were replaced by lower and thicker ones; in place of towers with narrow embrasures, designed mainly for archers, there appeared basteas (semicircular defence structures with an open space in place of a roof on the top), two of which have been preserved until the present day (in Pidvalna Street and in Brativ Rohatyntsiv Street); earthworks became very common. The last significant addition to the town defences was the Royal Arsenal, constructed in 1639-1669 (13 Pidvalna Street).
The High Castle, built by the Polish King Kazimierz III, heavily fortified and located on a steep hill, 300 metres high, remained inaccessible for more than 300 years. It was only in 1648 that the High Castle was seized for the first time, by the Cossacks of Maxym Kryvonis. In 1672 Turks captured it almost without a fight. Later, little was done to save the Castle from decay, and in the 1870s it was dismantled, with a segment of its southern wall being preserved.
The Lower Castle, famous for its beauty, rebuilt after 1565 to replace earlier wooden ones, was located on the site presently occupied by the National Museum and Maria Zankovetska Theatre. Here in 1537 King Sigismund I the Old signed the Order which put an end to the absolute monarchy in Poland. The Swedish King Karl XII stayed in the Lower Castle in 1704 after capturing the city. A royal residence, the Castle also served as a prison for Polish nobility.