Harburg Castle is one of the jewels of the German Romantic Road. Wonderfully preserved, the castle sits high on a hill and overlooks the town for which it's named. It is unclear when the first structure was erected, but the castle was first mentioned in a document in 1150. Harburg was built by the former Hohenstaufen emperors of Germany in the 11th or 12th century.
In 1295, the castle was transferred to the Count of Oettingen and it has belonged to the Oettingen, and later the Oettingen-Wallerstein, families ever since.
The castle complex, including the castle house, chapel, sentry walk, prison tower, dungeon, and various buildings used to support the inhabitants, is surrounded by a wall supporting six towers. The castle ballroom is pictured at left. In the center of the complex is a large courtyard with a well.
The present-day fortifications mainly date from the 18th century and can be visited in summer from Tuesday to Sunday. There is also a small hotel-restaurant in the castle.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.