Svirzh Castle is a surprisingly elegant example of defensive architecture. For several centuries it has been standing watching its romantic reflection in the lake waters from a picturesque hill near the ancient village of Svirzh in the Lviv region. Harmonious architectural forms, elegant exterior with an elegant combination of white walls with purple roof tiles, and rich, somewhat wild vegetation surrounding it, and its picturesque location make it one of the most beautiful castles in Western Ukraine destined to be a lively cultural center.
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However, despite the extraordinary popularity of Svirzh Castle among travelers, loneliness and silence remain the faithful companions of the estate for many years, because even the perfection of the exterior is not able to compensate for the lack of life in the castle walls. With a slight sadness, the charming castle remembers the times of its heyday, when the caring owners cherished their family nest, built a castle complex, decorated the walls with valuable works of art, took care of a beautiful park with shaded alleys under the arches of rare trees and bright flower beds. Under the protection of a heraldic griffin, the castle seems to be frozen in anticipation of the driving force that would breathe life energy into its abandoned rooms.
History of Svirzh castle
The beginning of the construction of Svirzh Castle began in the late 15th century initiated by the influential Svirzhsky family. From that heroic period, only fragments of its foundation and lower walls have survived. When the castle was owned by the Cetner family (second half of the 17th – beginning of the 19th century) the castle complex acquired a modern look, transforming from a purely protective building into a cozy residence decorated with windows and portals, and with a comfortable and stylish interior.
Built in the style of the late Renaissance, the castle boasted a spacious enfilade interior design system, an elegant terrace with a balustrade and baroque stone vases. An elegant decoration of the cozy courtyard is an elegant flower bed in the form of a rotunda. A drawbridge and a wrought-iron gate in the center of a two-story building with triangular gables with loopholes open the entrance to the castle.
Cetners nurtured and zealously revived their offspring from the ruins during the Cossack wars and the Polish-Turkish confrontation, saved it from the vandalism of Russian troops, and the last of the noble family – Ignatius Cetner – a collector and a passionate gardener, who created a magical park around the castle.
Svirzh Castle had its next heyday during the reign of an Austrian officer with a French surname, Robert Lamezan de Salins, who spared no expense on the restoration of the estate and its interior.
The First World War turned brought a catastrophic fire to the castle. After it, only fireplaces and ornamental details of the decoration of the rooms remained. The tireless owner made a titanic effort to reconstruct the complex, and a memorial plaque was erected to commemorate the tragedy. General de Salins spent the last years of his life in Svirzh, where he found his last refuge in the ancestral tomb near the castle, which, unfortunately, has not survived to this day. De Salins’ daughter Irenta and her husband Tadeusz Komorowski were the last private owners of the estate.
Svirzh Castle in modern times
The further fate of the castle complex was decided in the 1970s. It began to serve as the House of Architects. Unfortunately, the long years of restoration and reconstruction of the outstanding historical monument did not lead to the opening of a creative center. With the cessation of funding, life in the castle came to a complete halt, and for many years the castle gate remained hopelessly closed to tourists. Recently, the issue of concession of the building has been raised, but the wonderful tourist facility continues to be in a state of lethargic sleep.
Interesting facts and legends
- Thanks to its genuine French charm, Svirzh Castle became a setting in the famous Soviet epic of the three musketeers, playing several roles at the same time.
- There is a scary legend associated with the castle. Gossipers retell the sad love story of a naive local girl who worked in the castle and an insidious military invader. Opening the gates of the castle to the enemy army, the girl paid for it with her life, finding her death in the depths of the castle well. True or fiction, it is impossible to judge today, but for romantic tourists this story, in addition to the demonstration of an abandoned, but real castle well in the farmyard, makes an unforgettable impression.
- There are treasures at the castle too. After the Second World War, an underground passage with the property of the last owners of the castle was found in the moat under the drawbridge, containing furniture and household items that quickly found their new owners.
How to get to Svirzh Castle?
The castle is located close to Lviv and is included in the Golden Horseshoe of Lviv Region tourist route, so there are many options for how to get here.
You can get to your destination by car, bus or travel agency. There are minibusses from Lviv every 30-60 minutes departing from the bus station №5, and you can also go with tourist groups.
Excursions are a great option because you do not have to worry about traffic and but enjoy the scenery and be guided everywhere. You can join our 1-day tour to the 3 best castles near Lviv to see Svirzh, Zolochiv, Pidhirtsi, and Olesko castles. During the excursion, you will see the castle, the remains of the defensive tower of the 15th century, and the Renaissance Church. You will see the architecture and learn about the history of the castle and take a walk in the ancient park.
Take a glimpse at those castles watching our online tour:
Location: the village of Zvirzh, Peremyshl raion, Lviv oblast.
GPS: 49.652563, 24.432067
Official Website: https://svirzhcastle.org/
Phone number: +38(096)-721-88-68
Zvirzh castle work hours: Thursday to Sunday: 11:00 -17:00 (Monday to Wednesday closed).