How do you like the name for a town: ‘Peace‘ (Mir in Belarusian)?
It is the city, where the famous Mir Castle Complex is located, one of the spectacular sights of Belarus.
This monument of Gothic architecture is inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage Sights list.
Here, we will tell you about the Mir castle, its history and legends, as well other places to visit in the town of Mir. Continue reading!
It is still unknown, why the name of the town is Mir (“peace”). One of the versions is that it was derived from the word “emir”, which meant the commander of the Tatars, who had a residence here for some time. Another version is connected to the word ‘mir’ (‘peace’) itself. It may be connected to the fact that some unknown peace treaty was signed here.
Mir Castle Complex
The Mir Castle complex consists of a fortress-residence, a picturesque park in English style, an Italian garden, a pond, a chapel-tomb and a roadside chapel. The formation of the architecture of the Mir Castle was influenced by three styles: Gothic, Renaissance and Rococo. When you see the Mir Castle from a close distance, you will immediately notice this palette of those styles. The castle has a very long and eventful history. Learn more about it further!
History of the Mir Castle
The first mention of the castle was recorded in 1395. According to the data, it is believed that most of the castle was already built by that time. Until 1568, the owners of the Mir Castle were Ilinichi, then the Radziwills (until 1828), the Wittgensteins (until 1891). The last owners of the Mir Castle were Svyatopolk-Mirsky (until 1939), after which the castle became state property.
The place for the construction of the Mir Castle was not chosen by chance. The castle is located near the village of Mir, where, according to researchers, a feudal estate was once located. The building is surrounded by a flat terrain, which helps to observe the enemy from afar, and also a small Miranka river flows nearby, which helped to protect the castle against invaders. But, despite the good location to defend the Mir Castle, the purpose of its construction is still unknown. There are suggestions that it was built to show the prestige of the owner.
Also, according to the experts, the first 4 towers of the Mir Castle were built within just 4 years from the beginning of the construction. The basement of the fifth one later became a prison. There are several legends related to the cellars of the Mir Castle, but more about this later.
Despite the rapid beginning, the first owners never completed the construction of the castle. In 1568, the last member of the Ilinichi family died. The next owners were the famous Radziwills, who also owned another famous Belarusian castle, namely Nesvizh, which is only 30 km away from Mir.
In 1655, the castle was attacked by Cossacks under the leadership of Hetman Ivan Zolotarenko. After that, the castle also suffered from the war with Russia and the Northern War, and for almost 80 years fell into decay. Only then, the owners tried to reconstruct the castle, and they did it.
In 1785, the castle was visited by the King Stanislaw August, who was struck by the beauty and richness of the Mir castle.
In the 20th century, a very eventful history begins, during which the Mir Castle was used for many different needs and passed from one owner to another more often than in the whole previous history. The castle was badly damaged during the First World War, after which it was rebuilt. Before the Second World War, it was nationalized, and there was a production cooperative (voluntary association of people for joint work in the USSR – definition from Wikipedia). After the castle was conquered by the Germans, they arranged a Jewish ghetto and a camp for prisoners of war here. After the war, there were several families living in the castle.
Only in 1988, the Mir Castle was awarded the status of a historical and cultural monument of national importance, and later began to actively develop the infrastructure around it, and also arranged museum expositions inside the castle.
Today, after so many hundreds of years of the castle’s existence, you have the opportunity to touch the entire history of the Mir Castle by visiting the complex just 100 km away from Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Read further to learn about the legends of the Mir Castle, ways to get there, entrance prices, and also watch a video about the castle!
Video about Mir Castle Complex in Belarus
Mir castle with a drone
Legends of the Mir Castle
There are many legends surrounding the Mir Castle, which for a long time existed among the local citizens. Now, we will tell you about those that have reached until our time.
Legend of the bull’s head
The first legend of the Mir Castle is about the stone head of a bull, built in the walls of the castle. It is known that before his horns was decorated with a golden cross, the fate of which is not known in our days. But, according to local stories, the bull’s head protected the castle from the enemy attacks.
In addition, there is a myth connected with the bull’s head. According to it, if the head is removed from the wall, the castle will collapse.
Legend of the Mir Castle Underground Tunnel
Another well-known legend of the castle is the legend of the underground tunnel that connected Mir Castle with Nesvizh, which also belonged to the Radziwills. According to rumors, a carriage with three horses could pass through the underground passage.
The theory seems very likely to be true, therefore, studies were conducted to find the traces of the tunnel. But, so far, they have not been successful.
Legend of the Mir Castle about the Radziwills treasures
Another legend of the castle is connected with the same owners. The Radziwills family was very rich, and naturally, they stored their wealth in their own buildings. It is believed that when the King Stanislav August visited the Mir Castle, he was surprised not only by the interior, but also by the huge treasures in the treasury that the Radziwills showed to the king.
Apart from the mountains of gold and diamonds, there were 12 apostles poured out of pure gold in the treasury. As a souvenir, the Radziwills presented the king with a gold cross with diamonds. Later, the servants of the castle blew up the entrance to the treasury, and the further fate of the jewels is unknown.
Legend of the ghost of the Mir Castle
A castle is not a castle without a ghost. So, the Mir Castle Complex also has a legend about a ghost that walks along the corridors at night. People say that it was a girl in an expensive white dress. There is an opinion that this is the disturbed spirit of Sophia Svyatopolk-Mirskaya, who was buried in a family burial vault at the end of the 20th century.
Find out what you can do in the Mir Castle today!
Things to do in the Mir Castle Complex
For lovers of cultural recreation, it is possible to organize a high-level event in Mir Castle (2 conference rooms), there is also a mini-hotel for 15 rooms (prices start from $100 for the Comfort-level room), there is also a restaurant in the castle dungeons, and a castle bar and a gift shop in the tower.
Joust against the backdrop of the Mir castle (Photo from the site http://belarusfacts.by)
In summer, you can see here numerous knight tournaments with the reconstruction of military events, concerts of world stars, theater performances. In addition, the castle hosts musical evenings, festivals and days of handicraft and culture.
You can also stroll around the garden and the avenues near the castle and visit the Holy Trinity Church.
How much costs the entrance to the Mir Castle
Entrance to the Mir Castle costs 12 rubles on a working day, 14 on weekends (6 and 7 euros accordingly). For students and schoolchildren, it costs 6 and 7 rubles, respectively. You can also visit the observation deck of the Mir Castle, walk along its corridors and visit the museums inside of it.
Other places to visit in Mir
Go back to the town of Mir, because this place is not only the Castle alone.
Mir has other sights that are worth visiting.
Not far from the tourist Mecca is the Church of St. Nicholas built in 16th century in Renaissance style. It was the first stone church in Mir.
The Church Of St. Nicholas (Photo from the site http://deletant.livejournal.com/15359.html)
A little further on the Church of the Holy Trinity. It was built about 50 years earlier then the St. Nicolas Church, but in the 19th century was burned down and later on reconstructed in a new style.
Church of the Holy Trinity (Photo from the site http://www.fotex.biz/)
On one of the Mir central squares you will find the private Museum of the history of the town called “Mir Posad”.
Mir Posad (Photo from the site http://www.tio.by/)
How to get to Mir from Minsk
You can get to Mir from the capital along the following route:
Follow the M1 motorway in the direction of Brest, after Columns will be a pointer to the town Mir (from the road to the town it is about 15 minutes).
The total distance from Minsk to Mir is about 100 km.
It was our short guide about the town of Mir and the famous Mir Castle Complex with its legends and eventful history. Although, it is a small town of only about 2000 people, it has some other sights that you may be interested in. Read also about places to visit in Minsk and top tourist attractions in Belarus Have a great trip to Mir, Belarus!