Верховня дворец Ганских

Museum Honore de Balzac in Verkhovnia, Ukraine

In 1847 Honoré de Balzac came to the estate of Countess Ewelina Hańska, the widow of Marshal Wacław Hański. On March 14, 1850, after 17 years of dating, Balzac and Evelina got married in Berdichev in the Church of St. Barbara.

In 1832, Ewelina Hańska sent Balzac a letter without a return address, signed by L’Étrangère “The Foreigner”. She invited Balzac to continue the correspondence, for this he had to place an advertising in the Gazette de France. When Balzac posted the ad, Evelina sent him an address to which he could write. In 1833, Balzac and Ewelina met for the first time in Switzerland. At first, Evelina was disappointed, but his charm and mind won her over.

In 1841, Ewelina became a widow, but for a long time she could not marry Balzac due to disputes over inheritance and waiting for permission to marry from the emperor. In 1845, Ewelina became pregnant, and Balzac was sure that a son would be born, whom he wanted to name Victor-Honore, but the child was born prematurely and died. Balzac himself died on August 18, 1850.

Now the estate houses an agricultural college. The three rooms on the second floor, in which Balzac lived, are now a museum.

Commemorative plaque about Balzac’s stay in Verkhovnia

The Empire style palace was built in 1800.

View of the palace from the park

Outbuildings – to the left is the outbuilding of the estate manager, built in 1799, to the right is the outbuilding-kitchen, 1800.

Ballroom interior

The photo shows the interiors of the ballroom in 1914, a drawing by Napoleon Orda depicting the family chapel.

Balzac Museum

The museum has some furniture from the palace, many photographs and books.

This folding cane chair belonged to Balzac.

In this chapel was the tomb of the Hanski and Rzewuski families, built in 1810, but when the Hanski left Ukraine, they took everything with them, including the ashes of their ancestors.

The chapel

The chapel itself has an Orthodox church, but the crypt is empty.

empty crypt