SVIRZH CASTLE

This effective Renaissance castle has been preserved in Svirzh, which is a small village that has been once a large town. The castle stands picturesquely on a hill above the calm mirrorlike surface of a large lake, surrounded by centenary oaks and lindens.

svirzh-castleThe information about Svirzh as the town appeared in written sources in the beginning of the 15th century. However, the castle was constructed later, in the second half of the 15lh century, when the town owner was a princely family, which made Svirzh their main residence (they began calling themselves Princes Svirzkiy). Presumably, the construction of the castle was supervised by brothers Andriy and Martyn Svirzkiy, and the work was completed in 1482.

The primary function of Svirzh Castle was defense. The natural protection was provided by a river that washed the castle hill from the three sides. On the fourth side, there was a moat filled with water. Square by its shape, the castle had two towers. At the beqinning of the 16th century, there must have been more construction works. There is no documentary data on them, but this fact is indicated by the date «1530» engraved above the castle gate from the inside of the yard. Only one (western) tower and fragments of walls have been preserved up to now, while the other buildings were dismantled during the reconstruction of the castle in the 17th century.

In 1641, Svirzh and the castle were purchased by Count Oleksandr Tsetner, whose descendants owned the town until the 19th century. In the 17lh century, the castle fortifications were already too obsolete, and the Count made a significant renovation, reconstructing the Svirzh fortress in the way it has been preserved till our days, with little modification.

svirzh-castle-1Svirzh Castle was enlarged, and now it consists of two courts located on terraces of different height: the upper eastern court and lower western court. The upper court, also known as front or noble, is built up around the perimeter with residential buildings. Its entrance is through the southern building, in the center of which there stands the gate tower. Archway entrance is decorated with carved portal in late Renaissance style, and a drawbridge over a deep moat leads to it. Numerous loopholes face the entrance side, because this side of the castle needed the maximum defense. On either side of the building, there are towers with hipped roofs, with three aboveground floors and two underground tiers of casemates. In addition to the three towers in the south building, the upper court was protected by the tower in the north building. In the depth of the court, in front of the northern residential building, there is a small terrace with a balustrade.

Next to the castle, there stands a pentagonal tower. It differs from other buildings, and historians have not reached a consensus yet as to its function in the defense of the castle.