Saturday, 03 November 2018

The König Palace in the Kharkiv region

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Sharivskyi Castle is one of the unique examples of the wonderful garden and park architecture in northeastern Ukraine, where a romantic love story was born.

König Palace, «Sharivka» Country House, «White Swan» «Sugar Palace», Sharivskyi Castle – so many synonyms fostered by people's imagination as a description of the Renaissance Gothic miracle of architecture.
It is surrounded with quiet subservient nature that best stimulates our imagination of the historical retrospective range.


The two-century manor house is 80 km from Kharkiv in the village of Sharivka. It's not easy to get there because there are no direct public transport routes.

Therefore, it is better to plan a trip on your own «wheels» or visit the castle with an excursion group.

A trap for tourists is that there are two different Sharivkas villages with the same name, which are not far apart. Therefore, there is a risk of not seeing the pearl in the Kharkiv region, but the local residents' usual houses.

According to the stories, Leopold König did not want his farm to be surrounded by ordinary farmhouses, so they were moved a little further away, but the old name of the new settlement is still there.

The story of Sharivskyi Palace

The building of the castle began in 1836. Landowner Pavlo Olkhovsky first instructed to construct a large park on the spot for a two kilometer long ravine and then ordered the construction of a luxury property. The process began quickly, but during Olkhovsky's time it was not completed – the landowner lost the property to the Gebenshtreitam brothers.

It is worth to notice that the change of ownership did not slow down the development of Sharivskyi Palace. On the contrary, the area of the park and the garden complex under the Gebenshtreitakh brothers expanded to 70 hectares. There was a school and a temple, and the park was filled with new rare plants.

In 1900, the property once again got new owners and was transferred to the Russian sugar producer Leopold König, who transformed the building into a renaissance gothic castle. By the way, it is called Sugar Castle precisely because of the last resident's specialty.

According to the project by architect Jacobi, rooms were built for servants, porches, greenhouses, stables and even their own power plants. König also instructed to build two gothic towers, rooms with pointed-angled windows and a watch tower.

The garden was assigned to the garden architect Georg Koufaldt. It was thanks to him that the park was filled with new plant species that enclosed terraces, fountains, artificial ponds and bridges.

The highlight of the park was long avenues with linden trees. Their peculiarity consisted in unusual pruning of the trees: it seemed that the branches grew vertically.

The legend of Sharivskyi Palace

One of the most famous legends about the manor house is the legend of a 6-ton stone. There is rumours that the beautiful wife of König did not really love her husband, but married him on the basis of the parents' persuasion.

Once at a resort where she rested after the baron's instruction to improve health, the woman fell in love with an officer and was her husband unfaithful. When she got home, she became very surprised when she in the park discovered the great rock where she had her love affair.

König had retrieved the stone, so his wife never forgot her sin for him and god.

Local residents say: If you touch the stone and have a sincere desire for love, then it will come true.

Another legend tells us about the power of König's love. He was very fond of his wife, who was sick of tuberculosis. In order to comfort her, he met all her whims. On a sunny day, she wanted to ride a sled. Leopold did not hesitate and ordered his workers to bring a few tons of sugar that was poured on his wife's favorite tray. Already the next morning she was sledging with the local children.

After the Revolution in 1917

In 1917, Leopold König, who diligently took care of the palace, was forced to leave his homeland. Now his new home was Germany. The castle itself became the property of the workers. With these events, a transformation of the magic property occurred to a tuberculosis sanatorium that was located there until 2008. Then the patients were taken out of there and the area itself was disinfected.

In addition, their own corrections to the appearance of the castle were made after a fire in 1920 and World War II.

The «sugar palace» melts in front of the eyes

The magnitude of the garden and the park are dissolved by the time. Sharivskyi Palace is slowly falling: the bricks fall out of the foundation, and «entertain» with sounds in the wind, and the plants run headlong from the park.

But for the newlyweds, the ruins are a good background for taking pictures. There are plenty of those who want to take a picture in memory of a «disappearing palace».

The chief architect of the Kharkiv region Mykhailo Robinovich «threatened» as early as 2014 to transfer the palace to the Zdravitsa-business for restoration of the property. But so far, the Sugar Palace melts lonely by the avenues of the lime trees.

Translation by Jørgen Deleuran

Read 1137 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 March 2019

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