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Nesvizh Castle :: Nesvizh, Belarus

March 13, 2010 by  
Category: Landmarks

Considered by many to be the most beautiful palace in Belarus, Nesvizh Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The castle features wonderfully diverse architecture as well as amazingly beautiful gardens. In 1994 it was designated the national historical and cultural reserve and then in 2005, the area was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage list as “Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh” which consists of the 10 interconnected buildings that make up the castle as well as the mausoleum Church of Corpus Christi. The palace buildings and church were important architectural developments in their time and became models for many buildings built in Central Europe and Russia. Nesvizh Castle was owned by the Radziwill family for the majority of the 16th century through 1939 when they were expelled by the Red Army. Since the foundation was laid in 1584, the estate has been rebuilt numerous times which has resulted in the castle featuring a variety of different architectural styles including Neo-Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

Hotels in Minsk, Belarus

The castle was home to the Lithuanian Archive until 1770 when it was seized by Russian forces and sent to St. Petersburg where is still remains. Much of the artwork was distributed among the Russian nobility of the time. Although it fell into disrepair, the Radziwill family renovated the castle interiors in the early 1880s and even added a beautiful English style landscape park to the grounds. The Church of Corpus Christi, constructed in the sixteenth century, is one of the most important structures of the complex and is connected to the castle. It is the final resting place for the remains of 72 members of the Radziwill family. The curch is the first domed basilica with baroque façade in the world as well as the first baroque piece of architecture in Eastern Europe. Aside from the mausoleum the church interior features baroque frescoes from the 1760s and is highlighted by the Holy Cross altar which was hand crafted by Venetian sculptures in 1583.

After World War II the gardens went uncared for as the main use of Nesvizh Castle was as a Sanatorium. Restoration is currently underway and the extensive renovations are expected to be completed and opened to the public in 2010. The castle gardens are one of its most popular attractions featuring ornamental lakes and amazing landscaping. While visiting Nesvizh Castle you should take the opportunity to visit other local sights including the Nesvizh Benedictine Monastery, the 16th century Farny Polish Roman Catholic Church and of course Nesvizh town square. Nesvizh is only a three hour bus ride from Minsk making it a great day-trip destination when visiting.

 

 

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