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The beautiful St. Onuphrius church in Busk. 26 May 2009
The valley of the river Bug (Buh). On the background there is St. Nicholas Church (1930 – the present time)

Translated by Dictum Factum (Kyiv)



49°58′0″N 24°37′0″E


An interesting name has the district center which lies 50 km eastward of Lviv. It seems even the citizens are divided into two parties: some believe that the name of Busk is from storks-buskiv (even the coat of arms in the town is appropriate). But others, people of vast reading know about the annalistic Buzhesk which was the part of Belzke principality and was called in the name of the river Western Bug which is flowing through the town.


Busk – the district center (over 8 thousands of population) with a full set of monuments without them the Galician town can not be considered sufficiently ancient and interesting. Here is the town hall (the newest in Ukraine, probably was built in 1999 on the place where earlier was a court of a district), Roman Catholic church, the family palace Badeni, the synagogue, two wonderful wooden churches, old stone houses and the river Bug.


But here are no tourists. It’s time to improve the situation. : O)

In Polish times the town sometimes was called "Galician Venice" – because of a great amount of water in Busk: here is Bug with its tributaries, here is Poltva and numerous pounds (though from land-reclamation works some local small rivers have dried up). Formerly in the town there were 68 bridges! I wonder how many of them still exist.


It is unknown was Busk originated in 1997 or in the IX century? Let’s leave it to the historians. And Magdeburg Right is here since 1411 year. Maybe the town is not popular for tourists only because of the railroad which wasn’t laid through Busk but through Krasne?


In 1539-1641 a paper mill worked in the town which was the one of the first in Galicia. Ivan Fedoriv printed his "Ostrog Bible" (1581) exactly on the paper from Busk.


In the town there were many handicraft shops - butchers, weavers, furriers, tailors, brewers. In the XVIII century the real industry appeared: in Busk charcoal, tar, pitch were burnt off, iron ore was extracted, which was in a big forge manufactured in the suburb which named Volyany. In 1769 a leather factory began to work which was opened by Lviv citizen Jan Ptseshl.

The Palace of the Badenis

Petrushevich Street, 12. One hundred meters to the town hall. The same distance to the monument with the nimbus over its head. It’s the centre of the town. And in the centre there is the old palace of a very rich family - the Badenis. Most of regional ethnographers and all the locals know this fact, but hardly the random town visitor knows something about the whopper in an old park.



The reason is that the palace is hidden behind a modern high fence that is somehow merged with the old stone and high gateway.


For a long time (since 1961) the residence of the Badenis was full of military men. It's hard to say to whom the building belongs now, there are still ongoing some property disputes, although the town was entitled to have this palace in property. There were even some dreams to arrange here a branch of the Lviv Art Gallery. Why not? It’s a good idea: it turned out very well with Olesko. Also there were talking about the arrangement in the palace a registry office/


Some years ago to get into the territory of the palace was possible only if crawling from the side of the park or the surrounding two-story apartment houses, or ring the bell for a long time and expect that at the entrance gate didn’t sleep and feel sorry for you. (Now the situation is changed - the palace lost its guards at last).

The first way is covered with nettles (a lot of nettles) and inhabitants of those two-story apartment houses who are dying with curiosity; the second way was hopeless in my case. I rang, rang and no one came and opened the gate. So unfortunately I have no pictures of the interiors.

And not even the fact that the interiors are in the palace.

The story of Badeni palace is appropriate to start with the mentioning of the family of Miers.


Since the second half of the XVIII century the extensive Busk estates (from Kamianka-Buska until Radehov!) were the property of Miers`.

Yusef Mier (1730-1808) in 1798 presented “the key” from Busk to his son by his first marriage with Anastasia from Bogushi, the writer and merchant Wojciech Mier (1757 (7) - 1831). Wojciech and his wife, an Austrian countess Carolina Weisenwolf, settled in Busk, made there a perfect residence - and soon after that unexpectedly sold this estate, in 1819 they bought Lezajsk.


After the death of Wojciech the estate in Busk bought his cousin, the Austrian diplomat Feliks Mier (1776-1857). One of the sons of Feliks, Henryk (1829-1879), always resided in Busk and left the palace in the inheritance to his wife, former Lviv actress Anne from Wierer. And exactly the former actress, leaving a small annuity from the estate, gave all the inheritance of her husband to his nephews Kasimir and Stanislaw Badeni, the sons of Cecilia Mier.


In this way Kasimir Badeni (1846-1909) got Busk, in the future the leader of the Conservative Galician Party, the vicegerent of Galicia, the premier of Austro-Hungary. Since 1886 he always resided in the town and with greatest pleasure kept the estate. Then, though, the political career pulled away him from Galician mistress. Kasimir returned to his native Busk in the afternoon of his life, after the ending of political work in recent years of XIX century. After his death, the town got his son Ludvig Józef (1873-1916). After his death his wife, Alicia Elizabeth Ancarcron (1889 -?) in 1920, got married for a second time to the archduke Karl Olbracht Habsburg of Lorraine (1888-1951), the colonel of the Polish army (he really was modest, not otherwise).

The next owner of the estate was the son of prince Lotarinhskyi from the first marriage - Kasimir Stanislaw Badeni (1912 -?) who after The First World War became a member of Dominican Order.

And then were the Soviet times...

With many owners of the estate we got to the bottom. Let’s proceed to the history of the palace in Busk.


According to legends, it was built by Wojciech Mier in 1810. Most likely in the XIX century the building was rebuilt a little, and probably expanded. The palace is classicistic, two-stored. The main facade is decorated in the center of the portico; the park facade is marked out by scagliola, a long balcony and stone vases on the balustrade. In total the external decoration of the building is rather frugal.

About the interiors of the XIX century nothing is known. However, there are descriptions of the palace in the interwar period. During the First World War from Busk estate were taken out few paintings and some pictures

It’s known that the stairs were made by a master Piotr Vitalis Varasimovych.

In 1932 the palace was repaired, but the owners visited the palace only in summer, living mainly in the estate in Zhivets.

A scenery park (XIX century) surrounds the palace, currently it is neglected very much. At present, the park is named after Taras Shevchenko.


Saint Stanislaw Church in Busk

Saint Stanislaw Church, one of the town dominant buildings, located in the centre, in an interesting neighborhood - close to the town militia station and it seems that the prosecutor's office.


It is known that in the first half of XV century in Busk were built two Catholic churches: Saint Stanislaw in the Old City and the Virgin Mary - accordingly in the New City. In 1486 the last church took the rank of parochial church. But it didn’t help, in the nearest future the churches were destroyed in the Tatar invasions.


In 1564 Busk Catholic parish was reinstated in its rights, by Polish King Zygmunt Avgust. Saint Stanislaw Church was rebuilt and in such form it existed almost till the end of XVIII century. Virgin Mary Church, the Dominican holy place and the Holy Spirit church from the Middle Towns were destroyed in the middle of XVII century during Hmelnychyna. Instead of the destroyed Holy Spirit church was built later a family chapel burial vault of Mier-Badeni.

Dominican Monastery was built by Jerzy (Jurij) Vyshnevetskyi in the beginning of XVII century was rebuilt, but when Galicia became the part of Austria, in 1786 the monastery fell under the secularization order. The monastery was used inappropriately.


A new parish brick sanctuary has been building from 1768 to 1779 (sometimes there is an information that the author of the church is Bernard Meretyn. Really, a bit like his other projects, but still this fact is not proved). In 1780 the church was consecrated. Twice a church (1814 and 1849) was severely suffered from the fires: till restoration masses even were moved to the Greek Catholic Church. Completely the church was rebuilt only in 1856.


It is known that the church had five altars in the main contained statuary depicting a trio, and "miraculous" icon of Madonna, donated by J. Wiśniowiecki to Dominican monastery in 1608.

In 1944-1946, many Busk Catholics as well as local pastors departed to Poland - taking with them many church’s property and "miraculous" icon. In a closed church was arranged a film library.

The building was returned to Catholics only in 1990. In 1991 the church was re-consecrated.


Wooden Treasures of Busk

The both wooden churches are located far away from the centre, I had to go there on foot : O) because the public transport in the town is undeveloped.

First there was St. Onuphrius church in a suburb of Volyany. How to get there on foot? It’s difficult to explain, but I try. The centre - park in the square Market - the church – then go on the same road, turn sharply left at a big crossing on the street of B. Khmelnitskyi – going futher until the end, under the road bridge and the neighboring shop. Next would be a chapel of Saint Onuphrius which is hollowed out in a tree.

The church is not visible from the road - because it is hidden. And how! In the middle of annalistic site of ancient settlement, which is perfectly round, located on the low hill.

From all sides a sanctuary is protected by walls and a wooden carcass belfry (XVIII century) stands guard over in the way to the church. A stranger does not pass. : O)

Such arrangement makes a likable church as something special, unusual - surely this is one of the most interesting sights of the town.

In Busk public opinion is very skeptic about the date which is indicated on the guarding table: 1758? No-no-no. A tridented small church of one roof with a sacristy which was built later in considered being older almost for one hundred years (I heard about data 1642, 1670 and 1680).

The church was rebuilt several times. Restoration works took place in 1970. The central part is much higher than the sidelong and has a large dome on octagonal roof. I do not know, honestly, if the church is working.


If you go from church, without turning anywhere - and go long, long time – the M. Shashkevych street leads out to tridented Paraskevska church of one roof (1708 St. Shashkevycha 56a). Where is disappeared the bell tower from the XVIII century I don’t know.

At first sight, the church looks a bit disproportional: it’s the truth; once upon a time it was a centric structure, similar to the rotunda.

Formerly Babinets was bigger (it was finished building in 1833). The church’s overseer remembers that old Babinets (the church is not working), a very nice woman, a former teacher of English. She tells not only the story of the church, but also mentioned how amazingly beautiful the interior seemed to them, the children of suburb who came here to peep at the chink. The residents of Busk love the native church.

Paraskevska church needs a restoration (the last restoration works were in 1983): the roof leaks, fall off shingles like November leaves, electricity is intercepted – and if the church suddenly begin to burn? But inside the church doesn’t look like a desolated monument: the iconostasis is in its place, and icons are in towels and carpets on the floor. Here is quiet, cozy and tight. On the ceiling are the paintings of V. Leontovich (1833, renewed in 1889-1890 M. Syrskyi). Not far from the old church remains the old Jewish cemetery.

And return from here to the center is much closer along the river and past Mikolaivska church.


Old postcards
The center of the town. With plenty of pharmacies
Remnants of the town's anniversary in 2007
An old St. Paraskevi church
St. Paraskevi church
At the hill where St. Onuphrius church stands there is such a nice wooden chapel
Former synagoge near the market
Saint Stanislaw Church in Busk
Badeni palace before WWI
The palace in Busk nowadays
The monument in the park
St. Nicholas Church (1930 – the present time)
Long time ago there was a fortress in Busk
The beautiful St. Onuphrius church in Busk.
The beautiful St. Onuphrius church in Busk. Belfry
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