From Pidhirzi to Czernowitz

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
(Thank you xl)
As Hunter S Thompson put it, sometimes the energy of a generation forms a fine white flash, and it can be seen for a large distance. SanFrancisco in the middle sixties formed the epicentre of such a fine energy wave and somewhere in Nevada the momentum faded.
The middle 17th century in war-ridden Europe saw various centres from where a kind of cultural wave went out, places like Vienna, Prague, Rome. And in the middle of the Ukraine on a hill 400 meter above sea level you find “the high-water mark, that place where the wave finally broke”.  As you may already know, I talk about the village of Pidhirzi (Ger., Eng.)  in the Oblast Lwiw (Ger., Eng.), 24 kilometers southwest of Brody (Ger., Eng.), direction Lemberg (Ger., Eng.). Lviv, Lwow, Lemberg – it’s all Leopolis by the way, and Unesco world heritage.
In Pidhirzi we find the high-water mark in question, it is the castle “Koniecpolski” (my Polish being not good, but I think it can be given as “Poland’s end”), a palazzo in fortezza, that, according to Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann*, can be rated as culmination of the 1640s’ arcitecture  in Poland – the finest product of the socalled “Palastjahrzehnt”, decennium of the palaces. The total design is inspired by French architectural principles of the time, we find also a French symmetrical garden. Details of the decoration and interior planning are not French, the facade being influenced by Vicenzo Scamozzi (Ger., Eng.), also the design of the windows shows Roman influences, the loggie on both sides of the entrance situation point to Tuscany – in short we see a fine example of late Renaissance, of manieristic arcitecture (Ger., Eng.) as it was developed in the West, East of the Dnjestr ! (Ger., Eng.)
That is truely an example for radiation of cultural energy.
Looking North from the water mark one has a wide panorama of the Volhynian planes (wolhynische Ebene) . Turning South we are in Galizia (Ger., Eng.) and come to the foreland of the Carpaths, the Northern Bukowina (Ger., Eng.) with the main city Czernowitz. (Ger., Eng.) Czernowitz once was called “klein Wien / little Vienna” for its active, lively cultural scene, a lot of writers and artists are connected with this city. At its university a certain Schumpeter (Ger., Eng.) had his first professorship (1909-1911) – immerhin! – whose Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (Ger. only (!)) was written here (the first edition was published 1911 when he was (a disputed!) professor in Graz).
One day I will have the possibility to travel through Europe. A line North to South formed by the rivers Njemen, Bug and Dnjestr forms the Eastern border of my mindmap (Ger., Eng.) of Europe.
*DaCosta Kaufmann, Thomas: Höfe, Klöster und Städte. Kunst und Kultur in Mitteleuropa 1450-1800, Köln 1998, 274ff. Original: Court, Cloister & City. The Art and Culture of Central Europe 1450-1800, London 1995. Highly recommended reading.


10 thoughts on “From Pidhirzi to Czernowitz

  1. xl says:

    Fascinating amount of history there. There is less history here. For example, the Texas Revolution was less than 200 years ago. Laughable by European timelines!

    Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
    They leave the west behind

    Lennon & McCartney

  2. Loved this ebb and flow of the times.
    I can see how you love and OWN this continent you write about.

    Often I wonder about places,and you know we have too much of history around here…that place across the slums was a Buddhist monastery in 3 C BC, what must it be like?

    Most of our palaces are a hotchpotch of many cultures. The Europeans and the Central Asians were frequent visitors with their army and they left their mark.

    I will come back to follow the links.

  3. San Francisco is still an amazing city. Great place to visit but I honestly don’t think I’d want to live there. It’s somewhat too busy and I’m a bit of a hick. I’ve always wanted to live in a rural setting again.

  4. XL – I have to admit that I do not know nothing about the Texian history. Thank you for the link, I will read.
    And don’t get too impressed with the post, in the end I only say they built a castle in the middle of nowhere and south of it is an interesting city.
    Today this region, especially the Moldawia area, is lawless and carrying a gun is not all bad.

    Austere – I think that is a general fact: Some parts around the Mediterrenean Sea belonged to different tribes / nations / cultures, everyone left something and it was amalgamed – not only mixed, but pressed together to form something new. And there are pockets of time, when you step into another epoche; I believe in the Gleichzeitigkeit des Ungleichzeitigen (Bloch, sorry there is seemingly no English translation; will have a look into the SEP). I think India and China show how the ability to absorb and transform seemingly foreign / strange cultural influences – or confrontations – works over history.

    Yes, a big city is a nice object for a visit, but there’s always the danger of an overkill, too many impressions too fast. Westerners going to Tokyo report about such phenomena.

  5. No picture? I cliked on “World Heritage” but did not see a link on the Wikipedia page for this place and none of the others looked like links to a picture.

    By words, it sounds quite lovely. I do not like flat lands. I must have mountains, rivers, peaks and valleys to feel at home.

    When I went to Florida for the first time, where my husband is from, the terrain drove me crazy. It is flat for miles and miles. I felt so out of place. He took me to the states largest sink hole, where you can take a boardwalk down to the bottom and I felt much more at home there.

    I did not realize until then how much the terrain affects the psyche until then. I always felt at home in Japan, because the land is much like it is here in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to the ring of fire volcanos.


  6. NIMH!

    Lady! What a joy to see you here! You are well? Is he alright?
    Yes, flat lands can make one crazy, something like the Great Plains of the North here in Germany is simply not my kind of area. I prefer hills with light woods, forrest from trees with leaves. Others can not work or write in such a countryside, a German writer I like needed the flat land so bad that he settled in a very small wooden house in the middle of the Lueneburg Heath!
    For pictures of the town go here.

  7. Not only the North, but the middle too: Tosacana of course, but Umbrien, die Marken, Appenin, alles noch nördlich Rom … South of Rome Africa begins – in the same sense as East of Vienna you step into the Balcans 🙂 die Arroganz des Mitteleuroäers … Venezia im Herbst ist zum Sterben schön, while the plain of the Po makes me cringe.

  8. Leni – excuse me please, I left you out. I was so surprised that Proxima made a “piep” after nine months, that I failed to answer you – and thank you for the kind wishes. In the moment its just arm-chair travelling.

Comments are closed.