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 hands of Mikołaj Krzysztof 'the Orphan' Radziwiłł, who refitted it with a two-winged, three-story stately residence along the eastern and northern inner walls of the castle. Plastered facades were decorated with limestone portals, plates, balconies and porches in the Renaissance style.
In 1817, after the castle had been abandoned for nearly a century and had suffered severe damage in the Napoleonic wars, owner Dominik Hieronim Radziwiłł died of battle injuries and the castle passed to his daughter Stefania, who married Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. Later the castle became a possession of their daughter Maria, who married Prince Chlodwig Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst.
Their son, Maurice Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, sold the castle to Nikolai Sviatopolk-Mirski, of the Bialynia clan, in 1895. Nikolaj's son Michail began to rebuild the castle according to the plans of architect Teodor Bursze. The Sviatopolk-Mirski family owned the castle until 1939, when the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland.
When German forces invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 they occupied the castle and converted it to a ghetto for the local Jewish population, prior to their liquidation. Between 1944 and 1956, the castle was used as a housing facility, resulting in damage to the castle's interior.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.