Berezhany Castle

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Name: Berezhany
Location: Berezhany(a small town in Ternopil region
Country: Western Ukraine
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 This castle is located in Berezhany(a small town in Ternopil region, West
 Ukraine).It was build in 1534-1554 by Polish magnats the Seniavskys. The castle consists of walls, a palace with an entrance gate, a bastion , a
 quarter tower. and a church.. It was  inaccessible. The castle was created
 with the help of Italian architects but there are many ukranian elements
in its planning and details. The walls from the north side were 2 m. wide ,
from the south-west side- almost 6 m. The beautiful carved ceiling is preserved in Seniavsky's chapel. Now the castle is not used and stands dying in
town's park near the Zolota Lypa river.

 The castle  built by Polish voivoda Mycolay Seniavsky was unassailable. For many years people said legends about castle's interior.
The collection of fine art was rich and famous. There were some rooms
decorated by gold and silver there .All that gone without any trace and only some sculptures preserved .You can see them as a part of permanent
exibitions in Cracow and Lviv art galleries. The name of the castle church is St. Trinity.

The above information and pictures were provided by Sergey Gnap.

 

HISTORY OF BEREZHANY CASTLE
in Berezhany, Ukraine

Berezhany castle
Masterpiece of defensive architecture in Ukraine and Europe.
Designed by famous French architect Beauplan
and built by Italian masters. Castle hosted Polish magnates and kings and
even Peter the Great of Russia was twice here.
In 1554 in Berezhany the erection of unseen before in this area stone castle was finished. The castle, was fortified and enlarged later in 1570 and in the first quarter of 17 th century. Unlike other fortifications, Berezhany castle emerged not on a high, inaccessible mountain but in a deep swampy river valley, on an island, formed by two flows of Golden Lime Tree river. Besides these natural factors, the defensiveness of the castle was strengthened by the deep ditches with water and high land walls.
  Berezhany castle reflects those great changes which took place in castle architecture in the middle of 16 th century, namely the transition of the castles from military defense buildings into residential defense buildings. This evolution touched not only the external appearance but also planning. So, in Berezhany castle,
not defense walls but residential buildings were built along the perimeter of the courtyard. External walls of these residential buildings had canon holes. The facades with big windows and two stories arcades - galleries which remind the Italian palazzos were turned to the side of the courtyard. In the 17 th century, at the eastern part of the castle, a palace decorated with white stone carving was built. For its luxurious decorations it was compared to Cracow's Wawel. Under the lords halls and apartments, there were minor rooms for the lords servicemen, guards, poor guests as well as warehouses. Along with this, there were battle towers, three of which have been preserved until nowadays. An entry gate decorated with stone carving and chain bridge led to the castle.
 Interesting monument of medieval architecture is castle Roman Catholic
church in the courtyard of the castle. Despite the mixture of styles, caused by reconstructions, the beauty of architectural lines, harmonic correlation of forms, the perfection of separate details provide basis to consider (along with Roman Catholic churches in Ternopil, Mykulyntsi and Sydoriv) as the best monument of Roman Catholic Church Art, which has been preserved until nowadays.
The central part of church with Gothic arrow like building sections and windows was built simultaneously with the castle. Much later, in the first half of 17 th century, two renaissance chapels with baroque elements and elegic interior domes on the top, were added. Exceptional artistic value had the interior decoration of the church. Only baroque sculptural decorations of the dome interior, western chapel and partly drawings and sculptural ornamentation over the choruses. Some of the marble grave stones and sarcophaguses of castle owners belonged to the masterpieces of sculptural arts. Unfortunately they are almost completely destroyed, namely the pair gravestone of Mikolaj and Hieronim Sieniawski (Mykola and Ieronim Syniavsky) of 1582, created by the famous artist Henrich Gorst, and also two gravestones and sarcophaguses, created in 1619 - 1636 by famous sculptor Jan Pfister. They represented the best samples of European plastics of those times.   Sieniawski sarcophagus was taken by Polish authorities retreating from the Soviet occupation in 1939 and as far as I read was placed in Piaskowa Skala Church near Cracow. Some of Berezhany sculptures and exhibited and kept at the Olesko Castle Museum (the branch of Lviv Gallery) in Olesko by Lviv. Who had led this uniquely exceptional monument to such a state? With the Russian Soviet occupation of Berezhany in 1939 and re-occupation of the town in 1944, new Russian authorities set a bomb in the castle and deliberately destroyed it. And all during the Soviet rule and Soviet stagnation years castle was ultimately brought to ruins. The fires of two world wars also added to the destruction. Not accidentally Polish poet Karol Wiejski wrote to defend the castle.
 It is worthy to note that at the beginning of the 17 th century, Berezhany became a kind of the artistic center, where many famous artists and masters lived. Jan Pfister had his stone house here. In some sources he was even
referred as "Berezhany sculptor and townsman".
 Berezhany castle, as a complex of civil and cultic architecture was the exceptional creation of local artists. Its connection with the Ukrainian and Polish architecture can be traced in the planning of the building, in its external
appearance. It impressed the imagination of people of those time and ours. With astonishment Berezhany Castle was described by famous traveller Ulrich von Verdum, who saw already not just one majestic fortifications back in Belgium, France, Germany. Polish writer Z. Kaczkowski described Berezhany castle in his novel "Sodalis Marianus" in the 19 th century. Many poetic lines were devoted to Berezhanycastle by one of the most famous Polish poets Juliusz Slowacki (who was born in Krements/Krzemieniec some 80km north east of Berezhany):

                            Brzezany lord in wonderful surroundings
                              Had a settling. There among two brooks,
                             Luxurious castle in an astonishing beauty,
                                High chapel and tower raised high.
                     Shining of the apartments - equal only to the royal ones:
                                  There gold, luxuries and peace.
 (*rough translation from Polish. Note that here Brzezany is old Polish
name for Berezhany)
 Here among noisy parties, the life of Berezhany owners flew. Such a
luxury demanded serious spendings, so the magnates exploited the poor peasantry. Besides the maintenance of "royal court" of Sieniawski dynasty, half hungry society was obliged "to fortify and repair the ground walls and wood fences" for the defense and also to keep on guard the ready guns and dust, in order to defend the town wherever there is such a need. In the castle Berezhany people had the
right to hide only in case when the town was given up. During the alarm,
the inhabitants of whole surrounding areas were escaping here.

 The above information was provided by:Roman Zakharii

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Serhiy Mostrianskiy, 23, from Syracuse, NY, wrote:
Having a memory of a marvelous castle makes me feel so excited and gives me the feeling like I lived centuries ago. This great castle is located in a small town, Berezhany, in Ukraine where I was born. Craftsmen who built the castle made it very beautiful. The castle has a long and majestic history. I used to play there, and it was so exciting. The castle is old and it has a long and interesting history. Polish aristocrats built it, and it took 20 years to build. They started in 1534 and finished in 1554. It was created to protect surrounded populations against attacks. The castle is not located on a hill like most castles, but in a valley on marshland between two rivers. Aristocrats chose this place because it was hard to lay a siege. There was only one entrance to the courtyard. Inside the castle was a gorgeous Roman Catholic Church. Many princes and kings had owned the castle and lived there through centuries. This castle saw many wars and attacks and the Russian army destroyed it during World War II. The castle was built as a glorious castle with beautiful shapes and forms, and as a strong structure, which could protect people. Craftsmen built it and they didn't spare any effort to make it beautiful. Residential buildings were built along the perimeter of the courtyard. External walls of these residential building had cannon holes and windows only at the top. Nowadays the big rocks look like someone threw them all over the yard, and many buildings and walls are demolished. Grass and weeds are all over the yard, and the tops of the walls are overgrown with grass and trees. The church that is inside the castle is still beautiful, even though it is almost destroyed. The ruins can't hide the beauty of the architectural lines and harmonic forms. The tall dome is still on the top, and it is beautiful although it faded over time. Every time I walked in the smell of ancient times embraced me. I could feel how life was many years ago; I could imagine the time  when it was once magnificent. The surrounding park is as attractive as the castle. Two rivers from the east and west, and two roads from the north and south are around the park. There are many old trees, and mostly lime-trees, and they are big like mountains. These green witnesses of ancient times are so dense that it seems like it is night under them even during a cloudy day. In our area many lime-trees, and rivers had been named because of it: " Zolota Lipa"(Golden lime-tree) and " Hnyla Lipa" (Rotten lime-tree). The trees, grass, and flowers spread a cleansing, refreshing small. The especially comforting feeling was during early spring when leaves and flowers are blooming and birds are singing their best lovely songs. On the west of the castle there is a museum of nature  where you can see samples of trees, plants and animals from the surrounding area. A cafeteria that serves drinks and ice-cream and playground with a fountain and many swings, slides, and a sandbox are located on the north of the park. I liked to go to the park when I was a high school student. It was a lot of fun to play with friends  on the playground; we could swing, slide, jump, and it was so exciting to play catch, run, and we especially enjoyed climbing on the walls. We loved to play wars, and we felt like real warriors playing and hiding between big rocks and walls. Good memories about the castle have filled my head ever since I was a child. I feel excited and proud that this miraculous castle was located in the place where I was born. I hope that some day someone will rebuild it, and it will be as beautiful as it was before.
Zakharii, 25, from Ukraine, wrote:
In 1554 in Berezhany the erection of unseen before in this area stone castle was finished. The castle later in 1570 and in the first quarter of 17th century was fortified and enlarged. Unlike other fortifications, Berezhany castle emerged not on a high, inaccessible mountain but in a deep swampy river valley, on an island, formed by two flows of Golden Lime Tree river. Besides these natural factors, the defensiveness of the castle was strengthened by the deep ditches with water and high land walls. Berezhany castle reflects those great changes which took place in castle architecture in the middle of 16 th century, namely the transition of the castles from military defence buildings into residential defense buildings. This   evolution touched not only the external appearance but also planning. So, in Berezhany castle, not defense walls but residential buildings were built along the perimeter of the courtyard. External walls of these residential buildings had canon holes. The facades with big windows and two stories arcades - galleries which remind the Italian palazzos were turned to the side of the courtyard. In the 17th century, at the eastern part of the castle, a palace decorated with white stone carving was built. For its luxurious decorations it was compared to Cracow's  Wawel. Under the lords halls and apartments, there were minor rooms for the lords servicemen, guards, poor guests as well as warehouses. Along with this, there were battle towers, three of which have been preserved until  nowadays. An entry gate decorated with stone carving and chain bridge led to the castle. Interesting monument of medieval architecture is castle Roman Catholic church in the courtyard of the castle. Despite the mixture of styles, caused by reconstructions, the beauty of architectural lines, harmonic correlation of forms, the perfection of separate details provide basis to consider (along with Roman Catholic churches in Ternopil, Mykulyntsi and Sydoriv) as the best monument of Roman Catholic Church Art, which has been preserved until nowadays. The central part of church with Gothic arrow like building sections and windows was built simultaneously with the  castle. Much later, in the first half of 17th century, two renaissance chapels with baroque elements and elegiac interior domes on the top, were added. Exceptional artistic value had the interior decoration of the church. Only baroque sculptural decorations of the dome interior, western chapel and partly drawings and sculptural ornamentation over the choruses. Some of the marble grave stones and sarcophaguses of castle owners belonged to the masterpieces of sculptural arts. Unfortunately they are almost completely destroyed, namely the pair gravestone of Mikolaj and Hieronim Sieniawski (Mykola and Ieronim Syniavsky) of 1582, created by the famous artist Henrich Gorst, and also two gravestones and sarcophaguses, created in 1619 - 1636 by famous sculptor Jan Pfister. They represented the best samples of European plastics of those times. Though as far as I read Sieniawski sarcophagus was taken by Polish authorities retreating from the Soviet occupation in 1939 and as far as I read was placed in Piaskowa Skala Church near Cracow. Some of Berezhany sculptures and expiated and kept at the  Olesko Castle Museum (the branch of Lviv Gallery) in Olesko by Lviv.  Who had led this uniquely exceptional monument to such a state? With the Russian Soviet occupation of Berezhany in 1939 and re-occupation of the town in 1944, new Russian authorities set a bomb in the castle and deliberately destroyed it. And all during the Soviet rule and Soviet stagnation years castle was ultimately brought to ruins. The fires of two world wars also added to the destruction. Not accidentally Polish poet Karol Wiejski wrote to defend the castle.  It is worthy to note that at the beginning of the 17 th century, Berezhany became a kind of the artistic center, where many famous artists and masters lived. Jan Pfister had his stone house here. In some sources he was even referred as "Berezhany sculptor and Townman".   Berezhany castle, as a complex of civil and cultic architecture was the exceptional creation of local artists. His connection with the Ukrainian and Polish architecture can be traced in the planning of the building, in its external  appearance. It impressed the imagination of people of those time and ours. With astonishment Berezhany Castle  was described by famous traveler Ulrich von Verdum, who saw already not just one majestic fortifications back in Belgium, France, Germany. Polish writer Z. Kaczkowski described Berezhany castle in his novel "Sodalis Marianus" in the 19th century. Many poetic lines were devoted to Berezhany castle by one of the most famous Polish poets Juliusz Slowacki (who was born in ts/Krzemieniec some 80 km north east of Berezhany):  Brzezany lord in wonderful surroundings. Had a settling. There among two brooks,  Luxurious castle in an astonishing beauty High chapel and tower raised high. Shining of the apartments - equal only to the royal ones: There gold, luxuries and peace. (my rough translation)
 

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