This luxurious, heavily fortified Renaissance palace is one of the best preserved, famous, and most attractive castles in western Ukraine.
Its history began in the 17th century, when the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's Crown Hetman Stanislaw Koniecpolski bought an old fortification in the small town Pidhirtsi and decided to rebuild it in Renaissance style. At the hetman's request, the French architect Guillaume de Beauplan designed its unique defensive facilities, and Italian Andrea del Aqua created the luxurious two-story palace with three floor pavilions.
The castle was a wondrous combination of the elegant palace with refined terraces, and the severe bastions. It used to be considered as one of the best castles in Europe. Although it was well fortified by its powerful walls and the deep moat, enemies still dared to attack it occasionally. Yet each time it was rebuilt, the palace became more and more beautiful, and its defenses - stronger and stronger.
The 18th century was a period of great prosperity for Pidhirtsi Castle. The famous Polish officer who owned the fort at that time greatly rebuilt it, adding an extra floor. But the biggest change was that unique art and weapon collections were gathered, and a theatre and print shop were opened. Balls and noble receptions often took place in the luxuriously decorated halls of the palace; even European kings were among the attendees.
But the situation changed drastically in the 19th century. New owners neglected the castle and sold the majority of its treasures. By the end of World War II, the castle stood in utter disrepair. During Soviet times, a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients was created in the palace, which effected considerable changes in the building’s interior. A large-scale renovation of the castle began only in 1997, and it is still ongoing. The castle’s luxurious interiors are still being restored, so its halls are closed for visiting. However, the Pidhirtsi Castle is already a wonderful landmark!
An inn, church, and park contribute to the castle’s charming architectural ensemble. The inn was built primarily to house servants, but also acted as a hotel and tavern. The Roman Catholic Church of the Exaltation and St. Joseph was built near the palace in the 18th century. This remarkable example of baroque architecture still stands today. A 300-meter (984 feet) long linden alley leads to the church. A beautiful park surrounds the palace complex. It is truly a masterpiece of landscape art, and is the only Ukrainian park created in the so-called Italian style. Perhaps, the park used to impress the castle’s guests even more than the palace!