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For village in central Poland, see Borysław, Łódź Voivodeship. For a small city in southern Ukraine, see Beryslav.
City of regional significance
Church of St. Anne
Church of St. Anne
Boryslav is located in Lviv Oblast
Location of Boryslav
Boryslav is located in Ukraine
Map of Ukraine with Boryslav highlighted.
Coordinates: 49°17′21″N 23°25′08″E / 49.28917°N 23.41889°E / 49.28917; 23.41889Coordinates: 49°17′21″N 23°25′08″E / 49.28917°N 23.41889°E / 49.28917; 23.41889
Country Ukraine
Oblast Lviv Oblast
Municipality Boryslav
First mentioned 1387
 • Mayor Volodymyr Firman
 • Total 37.0 km2 (14.3 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 35 040

Boryslav (Ukrainian: Борислав, Polish: Borysław) is a city located on the Tysmenytsia River (a tributary of the Dniester), in the Lviv Oblast (province) of western Ukraine. The city is designated as a separate raion (district) within the oblast. It is a major center of petroleum industry.


The area of modern town of Boryslav has been inhabited at least since the Bronze Age. There are remnants of a pagan shrine from 1st millennium BC located in the area, with c. 270 petroglyphs found, most often solar signs - symbols of pre-Christian Solar deity. Between the 9th and 13th centuries the site of the modern town housed a fortress named Tustan, which was a part of a belt of similar strongholds defending the Kievan Rus' from the west and south. After the dissolution of Kievan Rus', the town became a part of the Halych-Volhynian Principality. With the collapse of the latter, in the 14th century Boryslav became a part of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. It was first mentioned in a document from 19 March 1387, listing all personal belongings of Queen regnant Jadwiga of Poland.[1]

Since that time, Borysław, as it was called back then, was a small town related to the nearby metropolis of Lwów (currently Lviv, Ukraine) and mostly shared its fate. In 1772, during the Partitions of Poland, it was annexed by Austria and became a part of Austrian Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. One of the great technological developments of the 19th century was the discovery by pharmacist Johan (Jan) Zeh (1817-1897) in Lviv - of technology that led to the establishment of a new industry based on petroleum. Scientists worked out a method of distilling Boryslaw crude oil, and 30 March 1853 constructed the first kerosine lamp. As early as 31 July 1853 their new lamp was used to illuminate the Public Hospital in Lvov. Their discoveries marked the beginnings of the rapid search for petroleum in the Carpathians - especially in the eastern sector of the mountain chain where deposits rich in oil were discovered. In 1854 the first ozokerite mine was started in the town after they were discovered by Robert Doms. In the second half of 1853, following the research of Jan Zeh,[2] and several other scientists working in the nearby city of Lemberg, the town and its surroundings saw emergence of oil industry, with one of the first oil rigs in the world built there in 1861 by Robert Doms. The oil mining industry soon started to dwell and in 1909 alone more than 1,920,000 tonnes of oil were produced there, roughly 5% of world oil production at that time. The number of oil rigs also rose from 4,000 in 1870 to over 12,000 three years later. The oil boom drew many industry moguls from all over Austria-Hungary and many fortunes were earned and lost there.[3] In addition, the period of prosperity started and the city's population grew by almost 10,000 new workers who arrived to the area. In 1886 an oil mining school was opened in Borysław, one of the first such facilities in Europe. Also the ozokerite, a natural mineral wax, mined in Borysław, was used for isolation of the first trans-Atlantic telegraphic cable line. On December 31, 1872, a railway line linking Borysław with the nearby city of Drohobycz (now Drohobych, Ukraine) was opened.

After the Great War and the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918-1919, the area became part of the newly-reborn Poland. In 1920 the mining school was significantly expanded and was renamed to Carpathian Geological Station, a de facto oil mining university. As the capital of the Zagłębie Borysławskie (Borysław Oil Area), the town of Borysław was the centre of Polish oil mining and one of the most important industrial zones of Poland. Because of that, on July 26, 1933, the town was granted with a city charter. Together with nearby settlement of Tustanowice (Tustanovychi, now part of Boryslav), Boryslaw produced in 1925 some 80% of Polish oil (812 000 tons). Boryslav was then commonly called "Polish Baku".

After the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland the town was annexed by the Soviet Union, under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and allocated to the Ukrainian SSR where it was called Boryslav. In 1941 the city fell under the German control upon the advances of the German army to the east in the start Soviet-German hostilities and the area was attached to the General Government. The Polish-American writer, and Boryslav native, Wilhelm Dichter's popular and acclaimed literary debut, Koń Pana Boga, is a memoir of the war in Borsylav as he experienced it as a Polish-Jewish child.

Following German defeat in World War II, the town came again under the Soviet rule. Since 1991 the town is part of an independent Ukraine. Although the oil and gas deposits have almost depleted, the oil industry remains the main branch of local industry.

Landmarks and visitor attractions[edit]

  • Tustan fortress, a historic-cultural preserve
  • Skole Beskids, a National Park

People from Boryslav[edit]

Mykhailo Dragan


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Борислав. Офіційний сайт міської ради. — Історична довідка". Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  2. ^ Zeh Jan (Зег Ян)
  3. ^ Frank, Alison Fleig (2005). Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia (Harvard Historical Studies). Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01887-7. 

External links[edit]