The history of ancient Yavoriv is not only victorious, but also sad, exciting, dramatic, glorious and patriotic. To this day scientists do not have a common opinion about the origin of the town name. There are several versions of its origin. According to one theory, the name “Yavoriv” comes from sycamore (in Ukrainian language «yavir») forests that once were located on the territory of the modern town. A second theory holds that from the prince Jawor, who is mentioned in chronicles of Kyiv Rus in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Yavoriv keeps a large number of archaeological mysteries. Remnants of Bronze Age settlements discovered on the outskirts of the town suggest that people lived in that area in the 2nd millennium BC. In the 3rd – 5th centuries this territory was inhabited by Eastern Slavic tribes.
Yavoriv arose as an agricultural, commercial and craft settlement on the trade route between Lviv and Jaroslav. Yavoriv was mentioned for the first time in 1376 in provincial and county regulations, which provide the information that Prince Vladislaus Opolski gave his brothers Reinhold and Nytku the villages of Selysok and Porudno, that bordered on the southwest with Yavoriv.
The foundation of the separate starostwo (administrative-territorial and economic unit) in 1563 was an important period in the history of Yavoriv, indicating the economic and social recovery of the town. Andriy Hurko was appointed to the post of starosty. The new starostwo`s possessions shared borders with Przemysl, Belz, Lviv and Horodotska starostvamy.
We find out about the further development of Yavoriv from the law of King Sigismund – Augustus, who granted Yavoriv Magdeburg rights in 1569. Thus, the town became a municipality and was exempted from government duties.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Yavoriv became an important craft and trade center, with a population of more than two thousand people. At this time the printing house of Yan Sheliga was transferred to Yavoriv from Dobromyl and the Vasyliianok monastery was founded.
In 1647 Yan Sobieski, the future King of Poland., became the mayor of Yavoriv. Sobieski paid much attention to the construction of his new residence – the town was surrounded by earthen banks and the castle, which was first mentioned in the chronicles of 1495, was strengthened with bastions and a water-filled moat. The European park was also established. In 1667, Jan Sobieski received the title of a great crown hetman, and in 1674 was elected as the King of Poland. After that, Yavoriv became one of the important centers of political life in Poland. Rulers and ambassadors of different countries arrived in Yavoriv to hold negotiations. Yavoriv was the location for grand royal ceremonies. The castle housed the Royal Mint. Historians suggest that during the reign of Sobieski the capital of Rich Pospolyta was moved from Warsaw to Yavoriv.
After the reign of Jan Sobieski, Yavoriv was still the center of attention for Polish kings, particularly during the Northern War. In November 1703, the Polish King August II gathered the senate in Yavoriv, where allies to fight against the Swedish were elected.
In 1711 the Russian Emperor Peter the Great visited Yavoriv for two weeks. There he led negotiations with the French ambassador Valyuzom, Austrian Ambassador Shlyayntsom, semyhorodski Prince Rakotsi and Moldovan master Cantemir, to unite for the common struggle against the Ottoman Empire. In Yavoriv Peter I became engaged to the future Empress Catherine I ( Martha Skavronska – was her maiden name). It is known that the emperor presented Yavoriv with a mirror and a copy of the Gospel. Both gifts were kept in the local museum “Yavorivschyna” which was destroyed in Soviet times. What happened to the mirror and the book still remains unknown.
After the First Division of Rich Pospolyta (1772) Yavoriv became part of Austria and obtained the status of free royal town. The Austrian government allowed instruction in the Ukrainian language which influenced the development of Ukrainian education. Yosyp Lozinski, a scientist, publicist, promoter of knowledge, the best national educational leader of Yavorivschyna, made a significant contribution to education in the 19th century. As a matter of fact, he was the first to defend the rights of Ukrainian language in schooling. As a member of the Yavoriv Council in 1867, he introduced Ukrainian language to Yavoriv schools as compulsory. That same year Osyp Makovey, the famous poet, literary critic, translator, and author of the novel “Yaroshenko”, was born.
In the second half of the 19th century the priest Michael Verbitsky, the composer of the National Anthem of Ukraine, visited Yavoriv several times. He often walked from Mlyny to the Monastery of the Vasilian Sisters, where he taught them in singing and playing the guitar. He rewrote his own book “Studying Guitar” and a lot of songs for nuns in order to teach Ukrainian girls. Today in the downtown of Yavoriv you can find a local arts school, which was named after Mikhail Verbytski, and the only monument to M. Verbytski, which was erected on August 24, 1997.
As for the monastery, it was rather large with a garden, outbuildings, which can still be seen today. Nearly one hundred nuns lived there at one time. Today the central district hospital is located there with a surgical department in the building of the former church. The authentic painting of those times was found on the walls during the reconstruction. Among the monastery relics the icon of Our Lady and Child has been preserved.
In the 19th century the development of the decorative arts, such as carving and painting on wood, ceramics, weaving and embroidery, grew rapidly. However, only the wood painting experienced great expansion. Yavorivski craftsmen decorated their products in their own style – the so-called Verbibka – using green, red, blue and yellow colors. To improve the skills of local artists, the industrial school in Yavoriv started in 1897. It was also called “zabavkarska”.
Ukrainian cultural life in the town intensified at the beginning of the 20th century. An affiliate of the society “Prosvita” was created in 1903 as well as an affiliate of the sport society “Sich” in 1904. A gymnasium (Ridna schkola) was founded in 1908 and that same year People`s House was built.
After the heroic and tragic events of the West Ukrainian National Republic`s establishment, in which local residents actively participated, Yavoriv became a part of Poland from 1919 to 1939. It is interesting to know that in the years 1931- 1939 an affiliate of the Higher Music Institute named after Mykola Lysenko was established by the lawyer Dr. Michael Filts and his wife Yaroslava. It was a prestigious institution. The famous composer Stanislav Lyudkevych came here twice a year to be present at the exams. In the interwar years Metropolitan Sheptytskyi visited Yavoriv and helped immensely in the development of education and culture.
After 1939 Yavoriv was under the rule of the Soviet Union. The active repressions against national and cultural figures began at that time. From 1941 to 1944 the town was occupied by German troops. The fact that in 1943 a writer, poet, journalist and doctor Yuriy Lypa moved to Yavoriv from Warsaw and did significant educational activities there was an important event for people in Yavoriv.
The first post-war years were an ordeal for the town as hundreds of local people continued to fight for the freedom of Ukraine in the ranks of the Rebel Army. The Communist authorities closed two ancient churches. The national traditions were banned and Ukrainian patriotism was persecuted.
Today Yavoriv is a district center. It is situated 50 kilometers from Lviv. The highways between Lviv and Krakovets and Lviv and Hrushiv pass through the territory of Yavoriv, leading to the international checkpoints on the Ukrainian – Polish border. The town has a clinic and a district hospital. There are three secondary schools and a Polish Saturday School, which not only provide high-quality education, but also educate the public, cultural and sport figures. The famous composer Bohdana Filts, singer and the Minister of Culture and Arts of Ukraine (2005) Oksana Bilozir, actor and TV host Oleh Stalchuk, bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Vasyl Tuchapets, artist Yaroslav Zhminka and footballer Andriy Pokladok all studied in Yavoriv. The town has three museums: the historical and ethnographic museum “Yavorivschyna”, the Museum of Osyp Makovey and the Museum of World Wars.
There is also a meteorological station in Yavoriv. One of the best units of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – The Danylo Halitski 24th Mechanized Military Brigade- is posted in Yavoriv. Its soldiers have been protecting the eastern borders of Ukraine since the early days of the war with Russia. The leading role in the economy of the town belongs to powerful enterprises “Sniezhka-Ukraine” and “CAN-PACK Yavoriv”. They work not only in the domestic market, but also export their products to neighboring countries.
Yavoriv is proud of its perennial ties with the western neighbor country of Poland. Thus, the cooperation agreements with Lyubachiv, Yaroslav, Venhozhevo and Kolbudy have been signed.
Yavoriv City Council is actively leading the transformation in the town`s infrastructure. A lot of historical and architectural monuments attract tourists. Therefore nowadays Yavoriv is a town that remembers and honors its history while building its future and sees prospects for its development in the years ahead.