The Mir Castle (Castelul Mir)

The Mir Castle is located in the Belarusian city, Mir, and it is a unique monument which harmoniously comprises architectural elements of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Due to its distinctive architecture, as well as to the historical past (having witnessed various military confrontations), the Mir Castle is listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Program.

The architectural design conveyed to the castle is the result of the different stages of construction to which the citadel was subjected. The edifice began being built in the final years of the 15th century and followed the Gothic structural design. But in the second half of the 16th century the castle came under the hands of Mikołaj Radziwiłł, who added the finishing touches to the castle.

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The initial architectural style was not extended to include the final work, Radziwiłł turning to the Renaissance style instead. This project consisted of building a 3-storey palace in the north-eastern part of the castle, right near the walls. The façade of the citadel was adorned by means of balconies, porches, and porticoes done in marble, granite and sandstone.

But the citadel was later on left to chance for almost a century, time in which it underwent a decaying process. Substantial damage was further inflicted during the Napoleonic era, but there came a time when restoration was possible – in the latter part of the 19th century.

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But the newly refurbished castle endured damaging experiences during World War II when the Nazis occupied the region and used the castle for accommodation purposes. In such a tumultuous period, when the nation was driven by war, you can only imagine that the residents of the castle did not care much about preserving the castle. Consequently, the interior was badly affected.

In terms of structure, it is worth mentioning that the edifice was surrounded by walls which comprised defense towers in each corner and a trench filled with water as a means to protect the castle. In order to beautify the site, an Italian garden was organized to the north and an artificial lake, opposed it to the south.

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At present, tourists can gaze on one of the most beautiful castles found on the European continent. Due to the impressive restoration work conducted, the castle was reopened for visitations in the last month of 2010. But even so, the works has not ceased. There are several projects underway which aim at restoring the Italian garden, as well as the English park. It is estimated that the finishing touches will take place as late as 2013. It is admirable that the officials have realized the importance of the edifice and have initiated this elaborate plan to refurbish the castle because by doing so, they preserve alive a portion of the past.

Tourists should know that it is not difficult to reach this site. Mir Castle is located within 90 km of Minsk which basically means that you can find accommodation in the capital city of Belarus and you can take a one-day trip to Mir in order to visit the citadel.