Mir Cas­tle

The first phase of the ren­o­va­tion of Mir Cas­tle is now com­plete. Mir Cas­tle is a spec­i­men of the 16th-cen­tury ar­chi­tec­ture; it has been in­scribed on the UNESCO World Her­itage List

Economy of Belarus - - TOURISM IN BELARUS - Svet­lana BALYSHEVA, Econ­omy of Be­larus Mag­a­zine

Mir Cas­tle has been un­der restora­tion for nearly 25 years. Much has changed over time. The Repub­lic of Be­larus has be­come an in­de­pen­dent ac­tor on the world’s po­lit­i­cal scene; the Cas­tle has been rec­og­nized a world her­itage prop­erty. This unique piece of ar­chi­tec­ture has be­come not only a source of pride and a his­tor­i­cal land­mark of Be­larus, a coun­try with a thou­sand-year-long his­tory, but also a mag­netic tourist spot. On the very first days af­ter the re-open­ing of the re­stored parts of the Cas­tle (which hap­pened on 16 De­cem­ber 2010), herds of tourists flocked to Grodno Oblast to see the re­newed Cas­tle, and chances are this flow will only con­tinue to rise over time.

Steeped in His­tory

His­to­ri­ans are still un­cer­tain about why Yuri Ilyinich, a prom­i­nent fig­ure in what was known as the Great Duchy of Lithua­nia, de­cided to build his fam­ily es­tate in the form of a cas­tle. Life was quite hum­drum back in the 16th cen­tury as ad­ver­saries were scarce, the cru­saders were crossed off the list of threats af­ter their in­fa­mous de­feat at Grun­wald in 1410, the Tatars were no bother, and there were no wars with Moscow. In short, the time was re­ally peace­ful back then.

Yuri Ilyinich did not live in this place, as he worked in Vil­nia for the royal court and trav­eled a lot. Maybe it was dur­ing one of such over­seas trips that the idea of hav­ing a fam­ily nest in the form of an im­preg­nable fortress struck him. The idea was not ba­nal, to put it mildly, be­cause up till then cas­tles in what is now Be­larus had been erected ex­clu­sively as duke’s res­i­dences and de­fen­sive citadels. Such were the cas­tles in Novo­gru­dok, Lida, Krewo.

What­ever the rea­son, at the end of the day it was Yuri Ilyinich’s ini­tia­tive that led to the ap­pear­ance of the first pri­vate cas­tle in what is now Be­larus. The ar­chi­tect of the Cas­tle is un­known, but the lo­cal ma­sons did a re­ally great job with that Gothic-style brick­work.

Mir Cas­tle is a com­bi­na­tion of an coun­try res­i­dence and a for­mi­da­ble ci­tadel. It seems airy and light if ob­served from afar, as if it were cut out from vel­vet pa­per; and it is only when you ap­proach it you get to re­al­ize the true power and might be­hind those walls and tow­ers erected strictly by the book of medieval mil­i­tary science.

Yuri Ilyinich did not live to see the com­ple­tion of con­struc­tion of the Cas­tle; nei­ther did any of his four sons who died young. The un­fin­ished fam­ily nest passed on to Yuri Ilyinich’s only grand­son, also named Yuri Ilyinich, whose mother’s last name was not yet well­known in the Be­laru­sian lands at the time, Radzi­will. It was the mother’s fam­ily that brought up the last one of the Ilyinichs, and it was to the Radzi­wills that he be­queathed the Cas­tle (he never mar­ried and had no chil­dren).

That was how Krzysztof Miko­laj Radzi­will Sirotka be­came the of­fi­cial owner of the Cas­tle. It was un­der him that Nesvizh blos-

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