Late Baroque manor house of the Piller family – Ruské Pekľany
The manor house in Ruské Pekľany has been owned by the aristocratic Piller family since the second half of the 18th century. The Pillers, originally from Austria, are a modern aristocratic family. In the middle of the 18th century, they bought land around Mirkovce and settled in Šariš. In 1757, Queen Maria Theresa gave a noble title and coat of arms to Jozef Piller for his faithful service in the army. His son Martin-Jozef, director of the Solivar mining office, was given the nobiliary particle “de Mérk” by the monarch in 1764 as well as estates in Mirkovce, Ruské Pekľany, Žehňa and Dúbrava. Later, the family expanded their estates through advantageous marriages and business deals. As a result, the family became one of the richest landowners in Šariš. Family members also held important positions in the county government and the judiciary.
The manor house in Ruské Pekľany, where all the family documents were concentrated, became the main residence of the family. The origin of the manor house can be dated to 1799 or 1800, but the exact date of construction is unknow. Originally a Rococo manor house from the middle of the 18th century, it was partially rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century in the style of late classical buildings. The two-storey building has a rectangular floor plan. The façade features fluted pilasters with corner rustication. The rooms have barrel vaults and some have flat ceilings. Some ceilings are decorated with ornaments. The Pillers established a large farm estate in Ruské Pekľany. The estate had its heydays in the second half of the 19th century, when the municipality was managed by Gedeon Piller and his son Koloman. They built there a mill, a sawmill and a pond. The family also managed extensive forests. The estate employed not only the inhabitants of Ruské Pekľany, but also people from the neighbouring municipalities – Radatice, Janov and Ľubovec.
In 1924, a large part of Piller’s property was confiscated and subdivided, making them medium-sized landowners. After 1945, their property was confiscated in full. The Pillers were forced to leave the manor house which was left unattended. Damaged, soiled, wet and mouldy bits and pieces of the property (including vast, although incomplete collection of books) were collected by Gejza Piller who later handed them over to the archives. The rest of the library from the family residences were probably confiscated along household items after the war. In the following years, the manor house housed the state-run forest research institute the Regional Forest Administration. After the war, the manor house slowly fell into disrepair despite promises made by the Prešov authorities to renovate the building (these, however, never came to fruition). Part of the property, mainly forests, was returned to the descendants in restitutions.
Today, the manor house is owned by Andrej Bán, a descendant of the Piller family. Thanks to the diaries of the Piller family, we can learn about its architectural development.
In front of the garden there is a torso of a neo-baroque fountain from 1880-90 featuring allegorical figures holding grapes. Rare trees, such as the Canadian or black walnut, which are marked on maps from 1869 as an important landmark, still grow in the park near the manor house. Near the manor house there is a family cemetery, where members of the Piller family found their final resting place under the massive oaks.