Photographer's Note

The masterpiece of Belarusian architecture is the Palace-and-Castle Complex at Nesvizh, Minsk Region. The castle demonstrates a mixture of various styles & displays the distinctive features and achievements of the architectural and artistic trends of various historical epochs. The stone castle was erected on the site of a wooden one in 1583 at the orders of Grand Duke Nickolai Radzivill Sirotka. The construction was initially carried out under the supervision of the Italian architect Giovanni Maria Bernardoni. The castle was situated on a hill some distance from the town. It was only possible to enter it by a wooden drawbridge. The rampart 20 m high, moats and other fortifications made the castle an impregnable fortress. Behind the castle fortifications, three separate stone buildings created an inner court.The Grand Dukes Radzivills lived in the central building opposite the entrance gates. This was a 3-storeyed building, which had octahedral turrets at the corners. Later, the separate buildings were rebuilt and joined together to form a closed front court. In 1706, the castle was blown up by the Swedes. After 1726, the damaged castle was restored and rebuilt in Baroque style by the architect Kazimir Zhdanovich. Throughout the 18th century the castle was frequently rebuilt and extended.

The Nesvizh Castle, the residence of the Radzivill family, was an important centre of medieval art, culture and literature.It housed a valuable library of 20, 000 volumes, including rare manuscripts, first & early editions, a portrait and picture gallery totalling over a thousand works, a rich collection of ancient European, Arab, Japanese and Chinese weapons, as well as the famous Slutsk belts, Korelichi & Nesvizh wallpaper, a big collection of coins & medals, a collection of furniture, etc.

From 1945, the castle was used as a sanatorium. Attempts are now underway to restore it to its former splendour.

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Additional Photos by Siarhei Biazberdy (biazberdy) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 2 N: 13] (184)
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