Pidhitrsi Castle- The Remarkable, Neglected 17th Century Ukrainian Mansion

Unlike individuals, which must finally succumb to the passage of time, abandoned structures might nonetheless appear to have outwitted the process of deterioration, frequently standing as a grand memento mori wrapped in the arms of nature.

There’s a strange allure to a location that was once a participant in the ebb and flow of life. Lavishly painted walls deteriorate, once-decked chambers become infested, and grime and dust cover crystal windows that were once wonderfully clear.

Fountains that were once gushing are now dry and overgrown with withering ivy. Many structures throughout the world might match this storyline, but one of the most fascinating is the story of the beautiful Renaissance palace Pidhirtsi Castle in the Ukrainian town of Pidhirti.

Pidhirtsi Author: Rbrechko CC BY-SA 4.0

This well-preserved fortress was erected between 1635 and 1640 at the request of Crown Hetman Stanisaw Koniecpolski by architect Andrea del Agua with the assistance of engineer Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan. Unlike other castles in the region, this one was designed for leisure, as evidenced by its Italianate gardens and two churches on the grounds, giving the image of a palace or a country home rather than a military stronghold.

Pidhirtsi Author: Oksana CC BY 2.5

The castle is square in design, encircled by a moat and defensive reinforcements on each side, with the beautiful palace in its center, which is the oldest in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The interior was designed in a Western European manner, as seen by the titles of its various halls, which include Green, Crimson, Knightly, Mirrored, and Golden, all of which relate to the rich Turkish fabric that covered the walls and furnishings.

Napoleon Orda, Castle in Pidhirtsi.

Waclaw Rzewuski, the castle’s 18th-century owner, was a meticulous collector who constructed a theater in the castle and amassed a valuable collection of literature, weaponry, and paintings of Polish King Jan III Sobieski. During the 18th century, the castle housed a huge library and archives and served as Ukraine’s first palace museum.

The Crimson Room (1871), painting by Aleksander Gryglewski.

The castle underwent several reconstructions throughout the years, incurring significant damage on various times. It was first seriously devastated during the Polish-Soviet War in the twentieth century, and its misfortunes persisted after WWII. The castle was transformed into a hospital for TB patients at that time. Another significant occurrence happened in 1956, when the site was struck by a lightning storm, which caused a fire. During the Soviet era, it was frequently abandoned or misapplied. All of these tragic occurrences produced a deterioration in the palace’s east and west wings, with the walls decaying and floods in the courtyard and park.

Pidhirtsi Castle Author: Lestat CC BY-SA 3.0

The owners rebuilt the palace and turned it into a museum at the beginning of the twentieth century. Many art pieces were destroyed by the Soviet troops when the Lviv Historical Museum took over the castle decades later. Finally, in 1997, the land was given to the Lviv Art Gallery and funded by Borys Viznytsky’s charity organization. The organization hopes to recruit art patrons or investors to assist with the site’s restoration.

Must Read