At the gate, you hear at once: “Do you have a permission to go inside?”. And the reason is that it is not just an estate. The unique complex in the village in Khmelnytskyi region was changed to the neuropsychiatric residence for adults years ago. And these walls seem to be forgotten for many years.
…”Didurnia?”, said a taxi driver through gritted teeth, having heard where to go. He says in the regional center this place in Kryvchyk is called “Didurnia”. He convinces, that it is “an asylum for the elderly people”. And no one knows anything about its past.
The Soviets “wrote” their history by this kind of buildings. Where the palace is – there is a tuberculosis dispensary, mental health facility, the neuropsychiatric hostel… All that restricts access to these walls for ordinary people. So that as few as possible could see the luxury of the past. And that nothing prevented the construction of equal society, which then will fall to the ground, as a plaster from the walls of the Pan’s rooms.
And on the walls of this Pan’s estate in the small village of Kryvchyk in Khmelnytskyi region, you can still see massive, like they were made with an axe, chopped letters: “THE GLORY OF THE CPSU.” On the house, which several centuries ago served as a dwelling for… servants.
Just over two hundred years have passed, as Polish general Mykhailo Krupenskyi bought a land in a small village in Podillia. The estate was built by Kryvchyk. Fountain. Basin. Park. Garden. Distillery. Dwellings for servants. Made his son married the local girl.
Incredibly scenic place. Kryvchyk himself had several dozens of huts in the steep bank. Surrounded by forests, the mountains and the caves, Karmelyukovi as they used to be called. Once upon a time, there hid a national vindicator Ustym Karmelyuk, a kind of Podilskii Robin Hood in the middle of the 19th century. In the Dunaivtsi region (this land can easily be called the heart of Podillia) “karmelyukovi” caves – are almost in every village …
You can not film patients. But if you have the permission of the key personnel, you will easily walk across the picturesque courtyard of the old general’s heritage. Leonid Romanov – one of those, who cleared up this place a little bit and, what is more important, explores its history.
Mykhailo Krupenskyi came to Kryvchyk from Poland at the end of the 18th century. He bought the land here. As the archives show, he built this house in 1794. People say he had the rank of general, participated in the State Duma of the Russian Empire. This is, in fact, all that is known about the owner of the estate. The peasants saved good memories of General Krupenskyi. From generation to generation, it is told how he helped the local poor.
After the revolution of 1917, Krupenskyi escaped abroad – and in Kryvchyk, he has never been heard since then. And his luxurious estate in the 1920s became the home for pioneers. Then either the pioneers did not get accustomed, or anything else, but the Pan’s house was turned into a rezort. Peasants still mention, that then, during each season, one of the residents of Kryvchyk could rest there for free. Privilege, so to speak.
One of the pages of the history of the estate resembles the footage from the film “Guide” by Olesia Sanina, about the destruction of kobzars. During the Second World War an asylum for the blind was built in Kryvchyk who then were taken out and buried alive in one night near the district center of Dunaevtsi. Nobody knows the reason.
From 1945 until 1978, Krupenskyi’s estate was a shelter for World War II disabled soldiers, who did not have a roof over the warm corner. And then it was reorganized into a neuropsychiatric hostel: in the Pan’s rooms seriously ill were settled.
Today, this is a kind of Neo-Gothic, “occupied” by people, who had rough times. Someone is knocking at the window. Someone tells you how to get to the garden. Someone is running away. And someone humbly pulling the grass on the asphalt, not spotting anything around.
Meanwhile, in the yard near the two-hundred-year-old fountain, a chapel of the Mother of God is being built with… Last year, the central structure of the general’s estate (and now the main part of the residence) was completely renovated. Nearly one and a half million hryvnias have been allocated from the state budget.
Next to the renovated house, there is the old shabby tower. The building is crowned with rusty watches, which “remember” General Krupenskyi. Those funds were not enough for the repairs. The tower will be repaired next year. With luck. And if the winds of any new revolution don’t blow over Krupchyk, that could change the fate of its main charm.
“Come back in September…”, they say to Leonid Vasylovych in response to the request for repairs to be finished.
He’s used to it. When for the first time in 1994 he started working here and convinced everyone that even in the presence of special patients, you can keep this property in order, they did not believe him. In a few years he proved it. Recently he has affirmed it one more time.
“I was told, that there are such people who will damage and spoil everything… People are ordinary here. Gravely ill. This is not the point”, Romanov grieves.
His work is not only to take care of patients. And also 42 hectares of land, pigs, flocks and herds. In the utility rooms of the Pan’s estate there is agricultural machinery, and under the old apple trees in the blue-yellow hives, bees are buzzing. General’s or not – the history will not tell…
The estate and the “monsters” – both amazing and frightening. Rusty clock on the tower has “frozen”, and it seems, that there is a reason for that. It is the only witness to all, that had happened in this picturesque place for more than two centuries in a row. It tactfully keep its secrets.
And the “monsters” here are not its inhabitants. “Monsters” are those, who have not found these walls another destination than an asylum.
Text and photo by Olena Livitska