With a long and vivid history dating back to the distant 9th century it should come to no surprise that Belarus has plenty to offer when it comes to cultural sites and architectural landmarks that bear crucial historical significance. Each year cathedrals, fortresses and castles on Belarusian territory draw tourists from near and far with their beautiful architecture, haunting legends and lavish interior. Below you’ll find a list of some of these awesome castles, all of which have left an indisputable mark in the longstanding Belarusian history.
Mir castle complex
The Mir castle complex was granted a World Heritage Site status by UNESCO back in 2000. Dating back to the 15th century the façade was initially a picturesque example of the Belarusian gothic style. Throughout the years the complex had to be reconstructed on numerous occasions and nowadays it offers a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements.
This historical monument is open for visitors seven days a week and there are tons of legends surrounding this place. One of the many mysteries of the Mir castle complex is the origin of its name. It translates to “peace”, even though no records of signed peace treaties have been found yet.
If you’re craving a piece of Belarusian history, visiting Brest Fortress’ museum and monuments is one of the most instructive opportunities you’ll ever get. This famous landmark has become a symbol of intrinsic importance for Soviet resistance after the World War II. The façade is a lovely architectural sight to see on its own, but the historical significance it bears is what truly makes the fortress so popular among tourists.
Albeit ruined, what remains of this palace still deserves to be seen. Constructed in a typical Baroque style in the late 1700s it initially served as a residential palace for local nobles. In the early 1800s, shortly after the infamous November Uprising, the site served as a weaving factory and a textile mill.
Throughout the years the castle grounds saw a great deal of damage caused by wars, as well as by accidents and negligence. Nowadays it’s one of the most famous ruins on Belarusian territory and is undergoing yet another attempt at restoration, with its ornate main gate already being restored.
Located in the town of Kosava this castle was constructed during the early 1800s in Gothic style. Damaged and reconstructed on numerous occasions throughout the years, the once lavish castle is now surrounded by a number of urban legends. According to one of them, the palace grounds used to be guarded by a real life lion and it was allowed to wander the corridors at nighttime. Another legend claims that there’s a secret underground tunnel, which leads all the way to the nearby Ruzhany castle. It’s allegedly so vast that a horse drawn carriage with a team of three horses can easily pass through it.
Last, but not least, comes another UNESCO Heritage Site – the Nesvizh castle in the Minsk Province of Belarus. Built in the 1500s it has served numerous purposes throughout the centuries – from residential estate to a state archive and even to a sanatorium.
It’s no Versailles, but the Nesvizh castle still offers some great examples of architectural heritage. Apart from the exquisite Baroque stucco elements adorning the façade, the site is graced by splendid frescoes, a princely sepulcher, an English landscape garden and an authentic courtyard. Moreover, the Corpus Christi Church, which is often considered as the most momentous structure on Nesvizh grounds, is also a contributing factor to the complex’s World Heritage Site status. It’s believed to be the very first building ever constructed in Baroque style on Eastern European territory.