Halshany or Holszany Castle is the ruined residence of the Sapieha magnate family and was the seat of the one of the largest land estates in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Paweł Stefan Sapieha commissioned its construction and it was erected circa 1610 to replace the older castle, built by of the Holszanski princely family, of whom Sapiehas were descendants and heirs.
Also known as the Black Castle (although it is built of red brick), the residence formerly rivaled Mir Castle as the most elegant private château of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The name Black Castle in fact originally applies to a fictional building from a book by Uladzimir Karatkievich, which was loosely based on Halshany Castle.
The castle and the surrounding estates were devastated, robbed and looted, twice: by the invading Swedes troops during the Deluge and during the Great Northern War in 1704. Due to financial stress experienced by the Sapiehas in the wake of the Domestic War and ongoing Great Northern War, the castle had never been fully restored.
Later during the 18th century the castle with its estate diminished by creditors passed to the Żaba family, to be sold to the Korsak family with the estate further diminished by the creditors. The last Polish landlords. the Korsaks, sold, in the last quarter of the 19th century, the castle to a Russian landlord, Gorbanyov, who had the castles' towers pulled down in 1880, but in 1880s, according to the Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland, there were still 2 floors occupied with some of the wall paintings visible.
Currently, the castle continues to crumble away. An annual tournament is held near its walls each summer.References:
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.