National Heritage Board of Poland
date of addition: 22.02.2006 (date of modification: 22-02-2006)

Together with its Ukrainian partners, KOBIDZ is involved in the realisation of a programme intent on studying those residential premises which constitute the joint heritage of the two countries. Suitable agreements have been signed with the State Service for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Ukraine, the Lviv District State Administration and Lviv Polytechnic.

The residence in Podhorce (Pidhyirci)  - today located in Ukraine - is one of the most valuable palace-garden premises in the eastern borderlands of the former Commonwealth. The complex was built for Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski in 1635-1640 by constructors inspired by Italian projects of the period. The bastion outline and elements of military architecture refer to the villa castello . The palace was designed by the Italian architect Andrea dell Aqua, whose countryman was   the author of the Podhorce gardens, laid out on  terraced slopes to the north of the palace. Each part of the garden, similarly to the palace, offered expansive vistas of the surrounding landscape. The programme of the seventeenth-century residence was supplemented with a nearby grange, a private zoo, vineyards, an apiary, a trout fish farm and a mill.
In 1682 the grandson of Hetman Koniecpolski bequeathed Podhorce to Jakub Sobieski,  the oldest son of King Jan III , with the latter receiving the estate in the name of his scion. Subsequently, the property belonged to the Rzewuski family. Wacław Rzewuski, who became the owner in 1720, repaired the palace, which he raised by a storey, and built a church (designed by Karol Romanus to the south of the palace, along the end of the composition axis). In the garden he restored the orangery and the fig hothouse, and planted orchards. A new garden composition, framed with linden espaliers, was created to the south of the palace.
The nineteenth century did not introduce essential changes to the architecture of the Podhorce buildings. The garden, however, was expanded after an addition of a landscape part encircling the Baroque terraces.
During the second half of the nineteenth century the vast residence became the property of yet another outstanding family - the Sanguszkos. Already at their time (1909 ) important work was conducted according to a project by Prof. Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz, becoming the first example of revalorising a monument of the art of gardening in Poland. The undertaking involved primarily the terraces - the largest, middle terrace became embellished with eight lawn parterres. The lowest terrace featured pruned hornbeam bosquets. The project included also a thorough conservation of the garden located between the palace and the church, and a restoration of its espaliers. The garden composition, considerably damaged during the first world war, was recreated during the 1920s.
The post-World War II shifting state frontiers and systemic transformations affected the ownership status and functions of the palace and garden in Podhorce. The estate ceased being a private family residence as well as an open museum of great historical and symbolic significance, and was adapted for the purposes a pulmonary tuberculosis sanatorium. A fire which broke out in 1956 and the absence of a suitable conservation of the surviving monuments caused an enormous degradation of the whole premise. These adverse processes also left an imprint on the garden. The lawn parterres on the terraces became obliterated,  the unkempt bosquets now concealed the view,  the landscape park became overgrown with  self-seeding plants, and fruit trees were planted in the park interior to the south of the palace. Not until 1996 was the sanatorium transferred, and the whole palace-garden complex was entrusted to the Lviv Painting Gallery.

The palace and the church comprise two dominants delineating the fundamental composition axis of the Podhorce residence. The fortification system into which the palace solid was installed, is another permanent element, composed of a curtain of defensive walls with bastions, a covered road, places d’armes, and a fort slope. Both the palace with the fortifications and the church are in a highly unsatisfactory technical condition. After 1996  basic protection steps were initiated by the Lviv Painting Gallery.


The church interior has preserved the old polychrome and part of the fittings. The sacral object is surrounded by four figural sculptures of saints, ruins of bell towers, and two columns topped with figures of the Madonna. In 2004 it became an Eastern rite church which, together with the palace, demands urgent and complex conservation.





The Podhorce garden is composed of three parts : the terrace garden, the landscape park, and the regular garden located between the palace and the church. The first  consists of three terraces, with the highest and middle terrace   separated by means of a powerful retaining wall with a central entrance to a former grotto. Up to this very day, the middle terrace features a legible outline of the former quarter configuration. Its corners include two garden pavilions. The lowest terrace is covered by overgrown hornbeam bosquets. The terrace garden is encircled by a strip of the landscape park with numerous vista openings. The space between the palace and the church is filled with numerous espaliers of linden and hornbeam. The Podhorce garden requires immediate renovation.


The composition of the Podhorce residence, modelled on an Italian villa, is based on numerous vista links with its surrounding. The park was situated in such a way as to offer views of the sprawling Volhynian plains seen from the stately interiors and the garden terraces.

The landscape of the villages surrounding the residence brims with historical objects, frequently founded by the palace owners. Podhorce features a wooden church of St. Michael the Archangel, a Basilian monastery with the church of St. Onufry, a former sawmill, the ruins of a brewery, four cemeteries, as well as  various roadside shrines and crosses. The remnants of a twelfth-century castle- town known as “Pleśnisko” include a still distinct system of earth fortifications and  ramparts. The picturesque qualities of the landscape are enhanced by hillocks crossed by gorges, beech forests and numerous springs.

The oldest extant  linden espaliers in front of the palace, the vegetation surrounding the church, and individual trees to the north of the palace originate from the eighteenth century. The nineteenth-century trees in the side landscape strips of the eastern and western Podhorce garden  are predominated by the linden, the common maple, the common beech and the ash. The trees constituting garden compositions formed at the turn of the nineteenth century grow in espaliers in front of the palace and in bosquets on the lowest garden terrace. Post-war trees include predominantly the orchard laid out in the vicinity of the Hetman Tavern.

The prime axis of the Podhorce residence composition is delineated by two dominants : the palace and the church. The remaining axes were delineated perpendicularly or parallel to the main axis. The axis crossings mark the crucial points of the composition.
The respect for the composition principles of the Podhorce residence shown by successive generations of its owners was the reason why - despite consecutive stages of expansion - the complex has remained cohesive.

In the summer of 2004 the garden in Podhorce became the object of research conducted by the National Centre for the Study and Documentation of Historical Monuments. The project, which involved also representatives of the Ukrainian side, encompassed an archival survey, a dendrological inventory of the garden, an analysis of the trees’ age, the garden composition and the panorama connections between the palace premise and the surrounding landscape, orthophotographs of the palace elevations and those of the garden buildings, and an initial archaeological reconnaissance of the garden. The recently developing branch of garden archaeology offers excellent opportunities for a scientific examination and documentation of park-garden premises. It also provides extremely variable foundations for revalorisation. The authors of investigations into the Podhorce residence decided to benefit from this potential:  excavations were carried out by specialists from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at KOBiDZ. The area chosen for probes was the middle terrace owing to the legibly preserved configuration of the former composition. Attention was focused on three sites: a former fountain, whose disclosed relics call for further examination, an edge of the terrace with a discovered  balustrade foundation, and the stairs leading from the uppermost terrace to the middle terrace, where an unearthed additional step testifies to a difference in the levels of the contemporary and old garden. 


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  actualization: 05.09.2006
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2006 - National Heritage Board of Poland