The dramatic history of Ukraine has many bloody pages. That is why there are so many impregnable fortresses with strong walls, arches and defensive towers in the country. The architectural heritage of Ukraine includes not so many buildings that combine defensive features with the sophistication and elegance of a European palace, and Pidhirtsi Castle is one of such places.
This majestic palace in a fortress in Pidhirtsi is considered the most beautiful castle of Lviv region. It was once famous all across Europe thanks to the incredible architectural aesthetics, luxurious interiors, valuable collection of works of art, and the enchanting way of life of its hospitable owners.
You can visit this castle on our tours from Lviv:
History of Pidhirtsi Castle
The history of the castle began in the first half of the 15th century when a defensive fortification was built on its future place. When Crown Hetman Stanislaw Koniecpolski owned the fortification, in a few years (1635-1640) it became a refined building, combining the styles of the late Renaissance with the complication of details and pompousness of Baroque style.
The two-story palace with towers and pavilions was designed by the famous Venetian architect Andrea dell’Aqua. At the northern side, the palace was decorated with a spacious terrace with a balustrade and sculptures. Welcome guests came to the castle through an arched portal with columns, and from unwanted – the estate was protected by deep ditches on three sides.
The palace went through difficult times before it could shine again. Only in the early 18th century, when owned by influential Polish magnates Rzewuski, the building was revived. Prominent politician and philanthropist Wacław Rzewuski restored the castle. Antique furniture, a valuable collection of paintings, rare weapons were brought to the palace. Works of art and war booties adorned the Chinese and Golden, Mosaic and Knight’s Halls. Luxurious receptions of European nobles were accompanied by theatre plays, orchestral performances, fireworks.
Baroque Church of St. Joseph, Rzewuski family vault, was built at the same time. Also, the French park with evergreen plants, rare trees, colourful flowers, and sculptured was designed.
The last owners of the estate were the Sanguszko princes, who had a private museum in the castle, the valuable collections of which were taken abroad by Roman Sanguszko on the eve of World War II. Thus, many rare exhibits were saved, because the Second World War had a disastrous impact on the castle: a part of the castle terrace was blown up, the remains of the collection were looted, the interiors suffered irreversible damage.
In Soviet times the palace was turned into a tuberculosis sanatorium. Only thanks to the efforts of the director of the Lviv Art Gallery Borys Voznytsky, the castle got back its due status and was restored. The restoration of the castle was funded by the Foundation for the Revival of Pidhirtsi Castle created by Voznytsky.
The palace was included in the register of 100 monuments of the world that need immediate restoration. Unfortunately, Borys Voznytsky, who called his creation “miracle-palace-castle”, did not have time to return the building to full life.
Ghosts of Pidhirtsi Castle
The history of the famous palace has many mysterious pages. There are many incredible rumours about one of the owners of the castle, a politician Seweryn Rzewuski, because of his rather peculiar hobby. They say that in his secret alchemical laboratory, Rzewuski was making a magical longevity potion and was searching for a philosopher’s stone to create gold. He conducted these experiments and organized treasure hunting, to attempt to improve the financial situation of the family. Today in the dungeon of the castle you can find an alchemical workshop. In the dusk, among the magical items, you can immerse yourself in the mysterious past of the castle.
Another legend is about the ghost of White Lady, whose mysterious figure emerges from the misty darkness of the dungeon together with a terrifying melody. The origin of this mystical image is associated with a real dramatic story that took place in the castle in ancient times.
The young wife of the elderly owner of the castle, having become a victim of her husband’s jealousy, was, by his order, walled up alive in the walls of the palace. Since then, the spirit of a young woman wanders restlessly through the castle corridors and park alleys. Believe it or not, but not only castle inhabitants and residents of Pidhirtsi witnessed unusual phenomena in the palace.
Recently, the fact of supernatural presence in the castle was confirmed by participants of the Ukrainian “Battle of psychics”. Sensory phenomena, having nothing to do with reality, were discovered in the palace also by an American group of so-called “ghost hunters”.
- In different years the castle was visited by the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, Ivan Franko, Fyodor Glinka, Jan Matejko, Alexei Tolstoy and many other prominent personalities.
- The inn of the castle (which, by the way, is quite well preserved) remembers the French writer Honore de Balzac, who stopped in Pidhirtsi on the way to meet his beloved Ewelina Hanska.
- A 700-year-old linden tree is considered a unique natural monument of the park.
How to get to Pidhirtsi Castle?
Pidhirtsi Castle is located at a distance of 90 km from Lviv, so you can get to the castle by car, public transport, and with tourist groups.
So, you can trust the professionals who have been organizing trips not only to this destination but all over Ukraine for many years. On our tour, you will not only see the castle but also learn about the mystical stories and supernatural phenomena that have occurred here since the 17th century.
Location: Pidhirtsi village, Brody district, Lviv region.
GPS: 49.943003, 24.983734
Official website: https://pidgirci.org/castle
Pidhirtsi Castle contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pidhirtsi Castle work schedule: Tue – Fri: 11:00 – 17:00 (ticket office until 16:30), Sat and Sun: 10:00 – 18:00 (ticket office until 17:30), Mon: closed.
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