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Verkhivnia

The settlement of Verkhivnia has been known since 1600. However, in his­tory it remained not because of revolution­ary acts or military conflicts, but due to romantic love of two well-known people. This story began when the book of the French novelist Honore de Balzac “Scenes from Private Life” fell into the hands of the Polish countess Evelina Ganska. Evelina wrote the author a passionate letter in which she expressed her admiration with his talent. It should be noted that Mrs. Ganska was a young well-educated woman. She knew several languages and had talent for literary work. And her beauty was once marked by Pushkin and Mickievcz. Balzac replied to the letter… Almost a year later their first meeting took place in Switzerland. The biographers of the writer have differ­ent opinions on the relationships between him and the countess. Ones are convinced that the novelist was in love with her, while Ganska needed only his glory. Others, in contrast, repeat over and over again that Balzac, who was always in debt, was at­tracted by her riches. After 15 years of cor­respondence and short meetings abroad, it was only after the death of Evelina’s husband, Waclav Ganski, who was 22 years  older than she, that Balzac arrived in Verkhivnia in December 1840. Being given every support and surrounded by domestic comfort, he worked very much. Here he wrote the play “Stepmother,” and worked on “Deputy from Arsi,” “Mademoiselle de Vissard, or France in the Days of Constitution,” “Petty Bourgeoisie,” “Woman the Writer.” On March 14,1850, in the Church of St. Barbara in Berdychiv, after many trials and agitations, the cherished wedding ceremony took place. Later happy Honore said: “Evi,” Hurrah!” I did what Bonaparte failed to do! With your help I conquered Russia.” Unfortunately, happiness was not long. The infirm writer died in August 1850 in his house in Paris on the hands of beloved wife. Evelina never returned to Ukraine. She died in 1882 and was buried near her husband in the Parisian cemetery Pere-Lachaise.

About 1780 count V.Gansky built a comfortable palace complex in the style of late classicism. The Frenchman Blerio is considered the author of the project. It is a typical family nest of provincial aristocracy. Besides the palace, the complex includes two symmetrically located economic outbuildings, which form the main court, and the family church (1810) of the Ganskies. Buildings are located in the landscape park of the 18 th century (from 1960-under state protection). The last owner of Verkhivnia was Evelina’s brother Adam Rzhevuski. In 1921 new power placed here an agrar­ian technical school. However, the palace structure has been pre­served in a relatively good state. In 1959, to mark the 160 th birth an­niversary of the outstanding French novelist, the literary-memorial museum was opened in the palace (Honore de Balzac Verkhivnya literary-memorial museum). Today the estate of the Ganskies ranks among the most significant classic palace-park ensembles of Ukraine.

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