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Grodno Region

Most of the ancient Belarusian castles are located in the Grodno Region: in Krevo, Golshany, Lida, Liubcha, Mir and Novogrudok.

The KrevskyCastle was constructed between 1338 and 1345 by the order of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Olgerd. In 1385, the Kreva Union Act — a treaty on the alliance of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland — was signed in the castle. This historic document influenced the fate of all European nations. The Krevsky Castle is the participant and witness of World War I. A protruding iron carcass and concrete slabs can still be seen in one of the destroyed towers of the castle. During the warfare the castle was in the hands of the Germans. To get to the enemy, the Russian artillery was forced to shoot the castle. The Russian military offensive operation in this front sector was headed by the commander of the Western Front, the lieutenant general Denikin, the future famous head of the White Guard.

The GolshanyCastle inspired the famous Belarusian writer Vladimir Korotkevich to create his famous novel “The Black Castle Olshansky”. Some time ago this castle, built for the junior office clerk of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Pavel Stefan Sapieha in the Renaissance and Mannerism tradition, was considered one of the finest in the Polish-LithuanianCommonwealth. In the 17th century the castle was passed to other owners, and subsequently it frequently changed owners. During the Northern War in the beginning of the 18th century it was severely damaged, but remained inhabited until 1939. During the Soviet era new buildings were built in the village from the bricks of the castle. The ruins of the castle have the status of a state monument. Another attraction of Golshany is the Church of Saint John the Baptist — a magnificent example of Baroque architecture.

One of the oldest Belarusian towns is Lida, where you can see the Castel, founded in 1323 by the order of the Grand Duke Gediminas at the confluence of the rivers Lideyka and Kamenka. This castle was part of the line of defense Novogrudok — Krevo — Medniki (Medininkai) — Troki (Trakai), built to protect the lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the raids of the crusaders and was a witness to many important historical events. For over a month wedding balls in honor of the wedding of King Jagiello and young Sofia Golshanskaya rumbled in the LidaCastle. The castle survived many sieges and assaults, including the attacks of the Crimean Tatars, crusaders, and during the Northern War — of the Swedes who blew up its towers. In 1794 there was a battle between the rebels of Tadeusz Kosciuszko and the tsarist troops on the territory of the castle. In the 1920’s Polish restorers performed conservation works at the castle. In the 1980’s BSSR restorers restored the walls and the north-eastern tower of the castle. Restoration works continue in the castle. The international festival of medieval culture “The Gediminas Castle” is held in the Castle.

The castle in Liubcha was built in the 1580’s on the high bank of Neman. It was rectangular and surrounded on 3 sides by a graff about 30 meters wide and 7-10 meters deep. On the fourth side the castle was protected by the river. According to documents and graphic materials of the 17th century, the Liubcha Castle had four towers. During the times of Krzysztof Radzivill, the largest Calvinists printing house functioned in the castle.

The composer Nikolai Nabokov — the cousin of the famous writer — was born and spent his childhood in Liubcha. The Liubcha Castle is being restored by efforts of enthusiastic volunteers.

Catholic church in Novogrudok - architectural monument XV-XVIII centuries, BelTA

Novogrudok is one of the most ancient Belarusian towns. The first written mention of it in chronicles was made in 1044 and is associated with the crusade of the Grand Duke Yaroslav the Wise to Lithuania. In the 13th century Novogrudok became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After the capital was moved to Vilna (in 1323), Novogrudok remained an essential defensive outpost of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The ancient center of Novogrudok is the castle. At the beginning of the 11th century wooden fortifications appeared in this place. The first stone tower appeared at the end of the 14th century – the Scale which remained in ruins until today. By the beginning of the 16th century the NovogrudokCastle had seven stone towers and was the most powerful in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It repeatedly withstood the siege of crusaders, the Mongol-Tatars and Galicia-Volyn dukes. During the Northern War (1700-1721) the castle buildings were destroyed. The silhouette of the undamaged Scale tower is one of the recognizable symbols of Belarus.

Since 2000 festivals of medieval culture and tilting matches have been held near the castle in Novogrudok.

The Mir Castle is a real diamond in the castle crown of Belarus. In 2000, the castle complex “Mir” was included in the UNESCO List of world cultural heritage sites.

The Mir Castle

The castle has been reconstructed, and museum exhibitions and the only castle hotel in the country are located here.

Grodno is the only Belarusian city which preserved two royal castles – the Old and the New Castles and whole ensembles of different architectural styles — from Baroque to constructivism. The Old Castle was built at the end of the 14th – beginning of the 15th century by the order of Duke Vytautas. The thickness of the castle walls reaches 3 meters, the length is about 300 meters. In the second half of the 16th century the Old Castle became the residence of King Stefan Bathory. During the Northern War (1700-1721) the castle was severely damaged and it was decided to build a new castle. In 1925 a historical and archaeological museum opened in the premises of the Old Castle. On the bank of Neman, near the Old Castle is the Church of Boris and Gleb (Kolozhskaya Church) of the 12th century – it is one of the oldest shrines in Belarus. The historic center of the city is the Sovetskaya Square, which partly preserved the West European design of the 15-17th centuries. The Cathedral of Saint Francisk Ksaveria, one of the most magnificent monuments of Baroque in Belarus, is located here.