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 east and west. Construction of boulder walls was carried out in 1323-1325. Later they were faced with red brick. The castle had two angle towers and a church, which was moved outside the walls in 1533. The upper storeys of both towers were lived in.

Despite its strong fortifications, Lida was taken by the Teutonic Knights on several occasions in 1384 and 1392. Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas gave it to his ally, Khan Tokhtamysh, who settled 'in a yurt near the castle'. In 1406, the family of Yury of Smolensk was locked up in Lida as hostages; his attempt to take the castle and liberate them was not successful. In 1433, Lida was a point of contention between Švitrigaila and his cousin Sigismund Kęstutaitis.

The following decades were somewhat less stormy. Lida was ravaged by the Crimean Tatars in 1506 and it was stormed by the Russians during the Russo-Polish War in 1659. The Swedes, taking it twice during the Great Northern War, had both towers blown up. In 1794, the castle grounds were the site of a battle between Kościuszko's followers and the Russians.

After the city fire of 1891, the south-western tower and parts of the western wall of the castle were torn down to provide stone for repairing fire-damaged houses. A team of archaeologists from St. Petersburg intervened to halt vandalism. There was only a slight restoration of the walls in the 1920s.

During much of the 20th century, an itinerant zoo or circus occupied the castle compound. Every December a Christmas tree was placed within the walls. It was not until 1982 that a restoration campaign was launched. The red brick was used to denote the newly reconstructed sections (up to 12 meters in height). Significant restoration was held in 2010.

Each year, the Lida Castle hosts a medieval-style tournament. A museum is being created within its towers.

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Address

ul. Zamkovaja, Lida, Belarus
See all sites in Lida

Details

Founded: 1323
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belarus

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Андрей Пукель (3 years ago)
Nice
double m (3 years ago)
Quite impressive size.
Raman Selski (3 years ago)
Good tourist place
etozhetoplayer (3 years ago)
Visiting the castle is totally worthy. It is in very good condition, well renovated, and a lot of rooms are accessible. Won't spoil the visit, but there's a lot to see and do, like playing with middle age toys and seating in the different rooms.
Ольга Хабибуллина (3 years ago)
Incredible place! Castle is in great condition, and offers lots of attractions and nice animation programmes.
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Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

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Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

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20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

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Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.