Ramon Palace, also known as Princess Oldenburg’s Palace, is a red-brick neo-Gothic palace in Ramon, Russia. It was built in 1883–87 for Princess Eugenia Maximilianovna of Leuchtenberg and her husband Duke Alexander Petrovich of Oldenburg. It is registered as an object of Russian cultural heritage.
Officially known as Prince Oldenburg Castle in Ramon, this brick palace was a gift from Tsar Alexander II to his niece, Princess Eugenia of Oldenburg. It was quite the present, given as a thank you to the princess for her help in the Balkan war, donating money as well as managing hospitals and care for the wounded soldiers. The ornate Neo-Gothic palace was just one piece of that present — along with the estate came forests for hunting and a sugar factory.
The History of Abandoned Princess Oldenburg’s Palace
In 1883 the architect Christopher Neisler created a design for the palace for the newlywed couple and the construction work began. The meter-thick walls took three years to build, and by 1887 the interior decorations were finished.
The Emperor’s gift was luxurious: an estate, a sugar factory, 8 thousand hectares of plowed black soil, and forests. And such a gift turned out to match the character of Evgenia Oldenburgskaya — a passionate hunter and businesswoman of the 19th century. Since 1879, she spent 10 months out of 12 in Ramon Palace, only occasionally leaving for the capital.
The meter-thick walls took three years to build, and by 1887 the interior decorations were finished. The palace is built in the Old English style. Gates and a tower with a built-in clock (by the Swiss company Winter) stood across from the manor house.
The princess busied herself managing the life of the village. She was the first in Russia to build a steam-powered candy factory (the Steam Factory of Candy and Chocolate), while later become the Voronezh Confectionery. The factory’s products were famous around the world and won many awards at international fairs.
After the October Revolution, the owner of the house had to move to France and then to Toronto, Canada. A manager named Koch bankrupted the estate. After the revolution, it was turned successively into a barrack, a school, a hospital, a plant office, etc.
A legend says that during WWII, the German army refused to bomb the palace when they learned that its owners were of German origin. Leaflets were issued: «We will not bomb the palace».
Princess Oldenburg’s Palace after the Second World War
The palace was closed for restoration in the late 1970s but instead fell into disrepair. Some stabilization took place in 1999–2005, including reinforcement of the main stairway and installation of a snow melting system on the roof, and there were plans to lease it on condition the architecture was preserved.
But instead in 2009, a consortium of German architects proposed plans for renovating it, and in 2010 under the sponsorship of Duchess Bibiane of Oldenburg, Mrs. Dorner, a €40 million project financed by German investors was launched to preserve the palace and associated buildings as a museum and build a hotel
Ghosts in the abandoned Princess Oldenburg’s Palace
“White Girl” is a ghost that once appeared to Princess Eugenie herself after the sudden death of a young maid. A girl in a smart suit was sent to meet the distinguished guests, waiting for them, chilled in the autumn wind and fell ill. She died with the words: “Why are you me …” – never forgiving her mistress. Since then, her ghost began to trouble the conscience that was too strict with the servants of Eugenia of Oldenburg.
“The Lady in the Black Veil” is a legend about the relationship between Evgeniya Oldenburgskaya and the estate manager. The ghost of the mistress of the palace – a Lady in a Veil – appeared in the house and kissed the manager on the lips – and he was seriously ill. His son Seryozha, saving his father, tore off the veil from the ghost, and the witch disappeared from the house. At that moment, a real princess drove up to the gates of the castle.
After listening to the boy’s story, she said only: “You, Serge, have a great future.” With the money of Evgenia Oldenburgskaya, Sergei Mosin was educated and became a famous designer of small arms (you may have heard of the famous Mosin rifle). And the manager later betrayed the princess: researchers believe that setting fire to candy warehouses in the fateful 1906 was impossible without his help.
The legend about the sorcerer is evidence that the princess suffered from bouts of an incurable disease. A local medicine man helped to get rid of her. As a reward, he counted on the love of a noble patient but instead received death at the stake. Dying, he cursed the castle and its inhabitants. The Oldenburgskys left the palace in 1908.
Stunning Photos of Abandoned Princess Oldenburg’s Palace
Abandoned Sugar Factory near the Palace
This sugar factory was a huge deal, surviving the Revolution and giving the surrounding economy a huge boost. It only stopped production in 2000. Space is really broken down but the legacy lives on — when the factory crumbled, the equipment was transported to Voronezh where candies and sweets were made under the Voronezh Confectionery Factory, using the same beautifully designed wrappers. The Voronezh Confectionery Factory is still around today and is one of the largest in the country.
From the palace there’s a winding path that’ll take you by this bridge (pictured below) and if you continue along that path, you’ll see the exterior of the factory. You will not want to go inside — the crumbling ruins are still shifting which poses some risk. You can get a glimpse of the exterior and the inside by poking your head in, but remaining firmly outside before going back to the palace.
Directions to the Princess Oldenburg’s Palace in Ramon
Abandoned Palace Coordinates: 51.908098, 39.340491
Your best jumping-off point is from Voronezh where the Ramon estate is only a 45-hour long drive. Just make sure you arrange a car to wait for you while you explore because it’s a bit out of the way and difficult to find another car when you’re ready to come home.