The Belarusian village of Golshany in the Oshmyany district has become a place of pilgrimage for historians, tourists, and even ufologists. There are the famous ruins of the Golshany castle; a ghost of the Dark Monk wanders there; a centaur is depicted on the coat of arms of the village.
Legacy of Golsha and Sapieha
The well-known novel “The Dark Castle Olshansky” by Vladimir Korotkevich made Golshany a popular place. The Sapieha Palace in Golshany was a prototype of “the dark castle”.
According to one version, the castle was built by the legendary Duke Golsha; the Sapieha family owned the castle only in the XVII century. According to another version, it was Pavel Stefan Sapieha, the subchancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, who built the castle.
Nevertheless, the castle in Golshany was famous for its grandeur – it had four towers, red brick walls, stained-glass windows, arched entrance. The luxurious interior of the castle was compared with royal chambers. The castle was surrounded by defensive moats.
Decline and Revival of “The Dark Castle”
Unfortunately, all this grandeur turned into ruins by the middle of the 20th century. After the death of Pavel Sapieha, his residence fell into decay. The castle was badly damaged during the Northern War. In the middle of the XIX century, bricks of the third floor were used for the construction of a tavern in Golshany but people lived in the building during World War I. After 1945, bricks from the castle walls were used for the construction of a pigsty and other outbuildings.
However, the castle in Golshany lives, even in ruins, and looks majestic. In 2015, restoration works began.
Annually, the knight’s festival is held in Golshany.
Ghosts of Golshany
Sometimes ufologists and "ghost hunters" gather in the walls of the castle. According to a legend, a young man was immured into the wall of the castle because he seduced a duke's daughter. The man was called Gremislav, but now he is known as the Dark Monk. He appears in the form of a ghost and scares tourists and restorers.
There is another legend about the White Lady: she was immured into the wall, too. The woman was a builder’s wife. Vladimir Korotkevich knew well about the ghosts of Golshany...
The village of Golshany is located on the bank of the Golshanka River. This ancient place preserved its aristocratic appearance and ancient structure. According to famous architects, this is the only place in the country that “saved its face".
The coat of arms of Golshany combines coats of arms of famous dynasties — Golshansky and Sapieha.
What else to see in Golshany
- The building of the Franciscan monastery. It was founded by Sapieha (the XVI century). A two-story residential building preserved. It was functioning until 1832.
- The Church of the Franciscans (Jan the Baptist) was built in 1618 and functioned as a monastery church. The architectural monument of the Baroque underwent changes in the XVIII century.
- St. George's Church (1901).
- Residential buildings in Golshany (XIX–early XX century) — the former stone houses of artisans and merchants, as well as the buildings of the former tavern, shops, workshops along the Zamkovaya and Trabskaya streets.
- Old buildings of merchants’ row on the former market square.