Ever had the desire to see an abandoned castle…in Russia? Well, you’re in luck because there exists a real life medieval French chateau in the Vladimir region along the Golden Ring. If you’re on a Golden Trip it’s only a half-day long detour from Vladimir to check out the castle.
Legend has it that the Russian nobleman Vladimir Khrapovitsky was travelling through France in the late 19th century when he met a French lord whom he bet he could build a castle of equal grandiosity in Russia. So he bought a chucnk of land outside of Vladimir, hired some of best artisans and architects in Russia and well, built a castle. The Frenchman reportedly even came to see the castle. For the last decade of the century and into the 20th century, the castle was known as one of the most exquisite in western Russia. A pond, stables, theatre, pavilion and other luxuries were added over the years.
Eventually the Russian Revolution came and castle-type folks weren’t exactly welcome anymore and the Khrapovitskys fled abroad, eventually dying in ruin. The castle then served as a forest college (not a bad place to learn!) and served as a hospital during the Great Patriotic War, before finally falling into obscurity during the end of the Soviet period. The only restoration to date, has been a new roof put on by a German company, but that’s it. The castle remains a a laregly untouched relic just sitting there in the forests.
Be careful when exploring inside as there are no safety measures at all (ie there are holes in the floor throughout). If you have a flashlight you should bring that along. You can also explore the grounds (which nature has reclaimed) and see remains of the stable and other structures.
● How to Get There
The best way to get there is to take a bus from the Vladimir bus station to the town of Sudoga. This should take half an hour to an hour or so. From the Sudogda station you can take a bus to Muromtsevo or ask a local to take you to the castle (zamok) – it’ll only cost a couple bucks and 5-10 minutes to get to the castle. I recommend taking a taxi. I tried to have my driver come back and pick me up, but he wasn’t interested. I would try this since no one stopped to give me a lift back to the bus station along the road, which resulted in a bearable 45 minute walk. Some say that local kids were offer tours – this might not be a bad idea if the price is reasonable.