The legend of this odd castle begins in the 19th century, when a Russian nobleman traveling through France made aquaintance with a French lord. The two began to squabble over the superiority of each country, and after tiring of the lord extolling the ornate architecture of France, the Russian declared that he could erect a castle of equal magnificence in his own country. The Frenchman scoffed, and replied if he could build a castle as grandiose as the ones in France, he would come to Russia himself to see it.
Vladimir Khrapovitsky, challenged by this wager, returned home, promptly purchasing a piece of land outside of Vladimir, and contracting P. S. Boitzov, arguably the best architect in Russia at the time. Built roughly in the style of a medieval German castle with a hint of French chateau, the structure was an architectural anomaly in the Russian landscape. Eventually, stables, a pavilion, a pond, and many other amenities were added, and it’s said that the Frenchman did indeed keep up his end of the bargain and come to visit.
When the Russian Revolution came to pass, Khrapovitsky was forced to flee his lavish creation, and is said to have died in squalor. His exquisite estate was used as a college for a time and then a hospital while the Great Patriotic War was raging, but eventually it fell into disrepair, with no plans for restoration currently being pursued.
The castle is still standing and begging to be explored. Nature has invaded the grounds, and the floors are not entirely sturdy, so investigate with caution.
Know Before You Go
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. The Castle has recently been fenced off and now has a 24hr guard watch. You can only get on Castle grounds with tour guide. And the interior is completely sealed off. You can call the following # for a tour: 8.915.770.3347. Cost is 300RU as of August 2017.