The Castle of Mir (western part of Belarus) is an outstanding sample of defensive architecture of the XVI century.
The tour starts at a hotel a touristic group live at. It is possible to change the initial place in accordance with the desire of the tourists. Pick up at the airport/train station and transfer is also possible.
The town of Mir is at 100km distance to south-west from Minsk. Of course the main attraction of this small town is the Castle.
The Mir Castle complex is an outstanding example of 16th-century fortification art. The successful blend of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture makes Mir Castle one of the most impressive castles in Europe.
The construction of this castle was started in the 1520s by Duke Yuri Ilinich. In 1568 the castle came into the hands of Nikolai Radziwil, who completed it in Renaissance style. The Radziwills owned the castle for several centuries.
Of course it was ruined lots of times because of wars. That happen for example in the Northern War (XVIII-th century) and during the Napoleonic wars the castle was severely damaged.
In 1891, the castle is bought by Nikolai Svyatopolk-Mirsky who started bringing order to his new property. Later his son continued the work.
The last owner died in 1938 right before the beginning of WWII during which for half a year there was a ghetto in the castle, later and up to the 1960s there lived people that lost their homes because of the war.
In 1992 a subsidiary of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus was located in the castle. In 2000 UNESCO designated Mir Castle a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.
The modern Mir Castle is a complex with tourist destination with a well-developed infrastructure. It offers not only excursions (usual ones as well as theatricalized). The guests have an opportunity to stay at a luxurious hotel for 15 rooms, buy amazing souvenirs, and even get married in the Castle!
- Other sights of interest in Mir include:
- Exposition dedicated to the Jewish ghetto
- Jewish war memorial and burial site
- Mir town square and market
- Roman Catholic Church of Saint Nicholas (16-th century)
- Orthodox Trinity Church (16-th century)
- Chapel and crypt of Svyatopol-Mirsky family
- Picturesque park along the pond
The amateurs of tasty food will certainly appreciate taverns and restaurants in Mir. There is a fantastic restaurant right in the Castle which provides national cuisine - visitors feel like they are Radziwills' guests! The interior, music, food - everything their corresponds the atmosphere of the XVI-th century.
Nesvizh is a town in the Minsk region of Belarus, approximately 120 km south-west of Minsk.
Nesvizh is one of the oldest settlements and it has one of the most famous palaces in Belarus. It was first mentioned in written sources in 1223. In the 15th century, while still a minor town, it passed to the Radziwill princely family, and remained the family's home until 1813.
Nesvizh Castle was founded in 1583, and between 1584 and 1598 two monasteries and a college, all belonging to different religious orders, were built.
During the Great Northern War of 1700 - 1721, the town was damaged by the Swedish troops. It was rebuilt in the 1720s by Michal Radziwill. In the aftermath of the war, in 1740s and 1750s he founded a silk belt factory (which was later moved to Slutsk town), a cadet corps military school, several textile manufacturers and restored Roman Catholic Church of the Divine Body and a printing factory. Michal's wife, Franciszka Urszula Radziwill, founded the Nesvizh Radzivill Theater, which included a choir and a ballet school.
In 1770 Nesvizh Palace was seized by Russian forces and was damaged. But the owners restored it again. The Radziwil family also designed around the palace one of largest landscape gardens in Europe.
In WWII the Germans used the palace as a hospital for their plots and after WWII Nesvizh Palace was used as a health resort by the Soviet powers.
In 1994 the estate was designated the national historical and cultural reserve and in 2006 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Within a tour to Nesvizh town we’ll see:
- Nesvizh Palace, the family complex of the Radziwill noble family, is a museum now.
- Roman Catholic Church of the Divine Body (built 1587 – 1593). It is one of the earliest Jesuit churches in the world and one of the first baroque buildings in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, influencing the later architecture of Belarus, Poland and Lithuania. Besides there is a Radziwills’ Crypt in the basement of the church that is open for visits. There’s only one crypt of the family in Eastern Europe – in Nesvizh, Belarus.
- Slutsk Gate, a city gate constructed around 1700. Its name refers to the city of Slutsk as the road goes through the gate and leads to the direction of Slutsk – as many centuries ago.
- City Hall that is the oldest one in the whole republic and dates from the XVI-th century
- Former shopping arcades that surrounded City Hall and arranged a whole trading complex
- Observation Tower (XVI century) which was constructed for the guards
- Green parks with lots of sculptures and lovely ponds that were made in Radziwills times
At present Nesvizh is a well-developed town that offers a very nice hotel in the Palace, delicious traditional cuisine at cozy restaurants, fantastic souvenirs and some of them can be made by the tourists themselves under control of a master!