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Noble estates of Kharkov region: both beauty and pain of loss

There are surprisingly picturesque corners in the Kharkov region, in which there are former noble estates, once abandoned by their masters.
When you come here, you are covered by a gamut of feelings and emotions. On the one hand, admiration for unusual architecture, on the other hand, sadness that time does not spare anything … It is as if you see people who lived here, worked, relaxed, had fun, decorated their homes, loved this land. And you are immediately embraced by a feeling of regret: it is sad that the creations of their industriousness and talent are gradually dying away, as is the memory of these people.

So, the famous Kharkov poetess and guide, the author of about a half of tourist routes Nadezhda Akimova, began her story about the old noble estates of Kharkov region.

– But nevertheless, interest in these monuments of history and architecture does not fade. Why do you think the ruins are so attractive?

– Because they provide an opportunity to look into the past, to live for some time with those who have long been gone, but who generously left this beauty for you, and you will remember it for life. The region has preserved many such estates. Let’s visit at least some of them, and you will understand why you want to come there more than once.

OLD MERCHANT. DECORATED PALACE AND PAGAN DOG

Route – “Noble estates of Kharkov region.” The first stop is the village of Stary Merchik in the Valkovsky district.

From the Kiev highway outside the village of Manchenki we turn right, drive along the bridge over the river, turn off the main road and find ourselves in another world. Here is a church in the early classical style, and behind it is an ensemble of buildings charming at first glance: the palace and park complex “Old Merchik”. It is amazing how this estate of the Catherine’s era, which at one time was the most beautiful and refined in the Kharkov province, could survive.

History says that the estate in Stary Merchik was declared a reserve back in 1891 by decree of Alexander III. The palace was built in 1786-1788 by a real state adviser Grigory Shidlovsky, a representative of one of the most notable Kharkov noble families. Accustomed to live in great style, he decides to erect a magnificent palace in the style of Louis XVI on the site of his father’s house. A stone house on a high basement, two floors, one side facing the courtyard with magnificent flowerbeds and stone wings, the other – to the stairs leading to the pond. The building itself had several beautiful living rooms and a magnificent ballroom, the walls were decorated with molding. A servant was placed in the outhouse opposite the house, there was a kitchen nearby, in two side wings there were guest rooms and a library. In the garden there is a stone arena, a gazebo, a rotunda, where music sounded for guests, and swans swam in the pond …

Today, the palace complex is visited by many tourists, but it is dilapidated before its eyes and is in urgent need of restoration. According to preliminary estimates, this will require more than 10 million UAH. At one time, Grigory Shidlovsky spent 120 thousand rubles in silver on the estate. For comparison: a cash cow at that time cost 50 rubles. Now 1 ruble silver is estimated by numismatists at 500 UAH.

In Soviet times, the estate was expropriated and an agricultural school was located here, later – the College of Veterinary Medicine. Then the college was evicted, and there was no one to follow the unique estate. In the 90s, homeless people spent their nights here. Later, local authorities expelled all uninvited guests, laid high windows with bricks and padlocked specially ordered metal doors. However, money was found for the reconstruction of the local church, where even today believers from all around come to.

Tourists are left with a beautiful palace, even in its dilapidation, two wings, the remains of a grotto and a barn.

Another interesting object: at the exit of the estate there is a huge boulder. Kharkov historian Alexander Zinukhov conducted a comparative work and came to the conclusion that this is a pagan altar. Imagine – millennia have passed, and the boulder is in place.

LYRICAL NATALIEVS OF THE SUGAR PLANT KHARITONENKO

Krasnokutsky district, the village of Vladimirovka. According to Nadezhda, we are waiting for the most lyrical meeting with the palace complex called “Natalyevka”. This is the estate of the sugar factory owner Kharitonenko’s family: Pavel Ivanovich gave it to one of his daughters, Natalya.

Once upon a time, the coat of arms of the Kharitonenko family flaunted with an eloquent motto: “I rise by work.” With understandable trepidation we enter the gate. Sugar factory Kharitonenko was a hospitable, hospitable host. In the summer, dozens of creative people visited here: artists, artists, musicians. A guest house was built especially for them. We are also guests, but no one meets us. We quietly walk along the avenue of chestnuts past the ship pines. The owner of the estate specially planted them to strengthen the sandy soil. The alley is long, but the eye notices something peering through the trees.

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