Despite the seeming remoteness from the major wars in European history, Belarus was at the center of events for multiple times throughout its existence. It naturally affected the architecture of the country. Dozens of castles were built on the territory of the country, but unfortunately only few of them survived to our days. The oldest stone castles in Belarus can be seen in Lida, Krevo, Novogrudok and Grodno. Long time Belarusian castles and palaces were in decay. Only recently local authorities started trying to bring them back to their former greatness. Lubcha castle was reconstructed fully with the help of volunteers.
Nesvizh Castle in Minsk region, Belarus (on the picture above), built back in the 16th century for Radzivills, has a hard history of wars and destruction. Still, it had been repeatedly reconstructed and now is also in the process of restoration. Despite that, big knight festivals are actively held on its territory. Permanent reconstruction over the centuries led to the fact that nowadays the Palace combines a variety of architectural styles: Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Classicism and Neo-Gothic. It is worth a visit because it is only two hours away from Minsk.
The history of Kreva Castle is at least as rich as of the Nesvizh Castle. Here the legendary Union of Krewo that united the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland was held. There are many legends about this castle. Some of them are about beautiful maiden, prisoned in the walls of the Castle, some are about a secret tunnel leading to the capital of Lithuania. Also, there is a variety of activities on its territory, mainly connected to folklore and traditions. The castle itself is built of red brick and stone by Prince Gedimin. Unfortunately, only a few sections of the walls and part of the Prince’s Tower survived from the former Castle to our time.
In the town of Mir, Grodno region, there is a wonderful Mir Castle. It was built in the middle of 16th century and was notable for the fact that he been constantly changing its owners. Ancient walls and alleys surrounding the castle are now often used as a scenery for filming movies, due to the fact that in the construction of the Castle you can see the rare combination of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance.
Another intriguing area of Belarus is a palace complex in the town of Ruzhany (Belarusians often call it Versailles), which once belonged to the dynasty of Sapieha. To our time only the main and eastern parts, as well as gate and side wings survived. “Ruzhanskaya Brama” Festival is annually held on the territory of the palace complex. It gathers thousands of visitors not only from Belarus, but also from all over Europe.
Other Castles in Belarus
There are many other castles in the country. Worth separate mention are old and new castles in Grodno, black Golshany Castle, as well as the legendary Brest Fortress.
Castles in Belarus impress with their monumentality and instantly surround tourists with mysterious medieval atmosphere. Ancient walls breathe with history and legends about princes and knights. It is a great place to spend time with your family of friends.