Castles and fortifications in Belarus

Nesvizh Castle

Nesvizh or Niasvizh Castle is a residential castle of the Radziwiłł family. The estate was owned by the Radziwiłł magnate family from 1533, when it was awarded to Mikołaj Radziwiłł and his brother Jan Radziwiłł after the extinction of the Kiszka family. Since the Radziwills were one of the most important and wealthy clans of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, it was there that the Lithuanian Archive was moved in 1551. ...
Founded: 1582 | Location: Nesvizh, Belarus

Mir Castle

The Mir (Mirsky) Castle Complex was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Duke Yuri Ilyinich began construction of the castle near the village of Mir after the turn of the 16th century in the Gothic architectural style. Five towers surrounded the courtyard of the citadel, the walls of which formed a square of 75 meters on each side. In 1568, when the Ilyinich dynasty died out, the Mir Castle passed into the hand ...
Founded: c. 1520 | Location: Mir, Belarus

Brest Fortress

Brest Fortress, formerly known as Brest-Litovsk Fortress, is a 19th-century Russian fortress. It is one of the most important Soviet World War II war monuments commemorating the Soviet resistance against the German invasion on June 22, 1941 (Operation Barbarossa). Following the war, in 1965 the title Hero-Fortress was given to the Fortress to commemorate the defence of the frontier stronghold during the first weeks of the ...
Founded: 1830s | Location: Brest, Belarus

Old Hrodna Castle

The Old Hrodna Castle (also known as the Hrodna Upper Castle and Bathory"s Castle) dates from the 11th century as the seat of a dynasty of Black Ruthenian rulers, descended from a younger son of Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev. The 13th-century keep of the castle belonged to a type of Belarusian defensive tower represented by the Tower of Kamyanyets. Vytautas the Great added five Brick Gothic towers in 1391-98, transformin ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Hrodna, Belarus

New Hrodna Castle

The New Castle in Hrodna, Belarus is the royal palace of Augustus III of Poland and Stanisław August Poniatowski where the infamous Grodno Sejm took place in 1793. The royal residence was built on the high bank of the Neman River at a little distance from the Old Hrodna Castle which had suffered great dilapidation in the aftermath of the Swedish occupation in the early 18th century. The two castles are joined by a 3 ...
Founded: 1793 | Location: Hrodna, Belarus

Halshany Castle

Halshany or Holszany Castle is the ruined residence of the Sapieha magnate family and was the seat of the one of the largest land estates in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Paweł Stefan Sapieha commissioned its construction and it was erected circa 1610 to replace the older castle, built by of the Holszanski princely family, of whom Sapiehas were descendants and heirs. Also known as the Black Castle (although it is bu ...
Founded: 1610 | Location: Halshany, Belarus

Lida Castle

Lida Castle was one of several citadels erected by Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania in the early 14th century to defend his lands against the expansion of the Teutonic Knights. Other links in this chain of defense included Hrodna, Navahrudak, Kreva, Medininkai, and Trakai. The modern town of Lida, Belarus grew up around this castle. The site selected for the castle is naturally defended by the Kamenka and Lida rivers to ...
Founded: 1323 | Location: Lida, Belarus

Kamianiec Tower

The Tower of Kamianiec, often called by the misnomer the White Tower, is the main landmark of the town of Kamianiec in Belarus. Erected in 1271–1289 by the architect Oleksa as a frontier stronghold on the northern border of the principality of Volhynia, it is the only such tower remaining to this day in the area. The first record in the chronicles about the foundation of the tower dates from 1276. The advantageous l ...
Founded: 1271-1289 | Location: Kamianiec, Belarus

Lubcha Castle

Lubcha Castle was a residential castle of the Radziwill family on the left bank of the Neman River at Lubcha near Navahradak. The castle was founded in 1581 as a fortified residence of Jan Kiszka, a powerful Calvinist magnate. It had timber walls, a single stone tower, and was surrounded by moats on three sides, the fourth side protected by the river. Lubcha later passed to Janusz Radziwiłł, Great Hetman of Lithuania, w ...
Founded: 1581 | Location: Lubcha, Belarus

Pischalauski Castle

Pischalauski Castle is also sometimes called the Belarusian Bastille. The castle was built in 1825. It formerly served as a prison. The architect was named Pishchala. The castle was the site of the imprisonment of Belarusian writer Yakub Kolas from 1908 to 1911. A portion of one the castle"s four towers collapsed in April 2008.
Founded: 1825 | Location: Minsk, Belarus

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cesis Castle

German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.

In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).

In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.

Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.