Lida Castle has been constructed at the beginning of the 14th century by the order of the Grand Duke Gediminas who intended to protect his lands regardless of the price paid. His worry for a possible invasion was natural taking into account that the Teutonic Knights were looking to develop and enhance their properties.
In fact, Lida Castle is but a part in the defense mechanism developed by the duke. The system consisted of various fortifications erected in the towns of Hrodna, Medininkai, Navahrudak, Kreva and Trakai.
The castle is strategically positioned as it is naturally defended on two sides, the eastern and the western parts, by the Lida and Kamenka rivers. The stone walls of the fortifications were erected between 1323 and 1325, this timeframe also being characterized by the construction of two towers and a church.
Despite his strong desire to defend his lands, the Grand Duke did not succeed to fulfill his goal as the castle fell under the ruling of the Teutonic Knights two times: in 1384 and then in 1392.
The history of the castle is quite tumultuous in the sense that the fortification was ravaged by the destructive forces of warfare on many occasions. Thus, it was pillaged by the Crimean Tatars in the first years of the 16th century and then later on, in the second half of the 17th century, by the Russian soldiers (during the Russo-Polish War).
Probably the most important event which was extremely detrimental to the castle consisted of the time when it was taken over by the Swedish soldiers, who had decided to destroy the two guarding towers.
Near the end of the 19th century, the Lida Castle caught fire and the result was that several dwellings were destroyed. In order to help with the rebuilding process of these lodgings, it had been agreed upon “dismantling” the western wall rock by rock. This was meant to provide easy access to the houses destroyed by fire and thus accelerate their restoration.
After the 1900s, the scope of the fortification shifted 360°. The location was used by wandering circuses and zoos, having been transformed into an entertainment center, the fact that it represented an important historical site seemed to have gone out of everyone’s mind.
The restoration work for the castle was initiated as late as 1982 and while several sections were rebuilt, having regained their former appearance, the real renovation took place in 2010, when the castle was significantly improved.
Since it recovered its former glory, the castle has been steadily and surely transformed into a real cultural institution. There is a medieval tournament organized on an annual basis and at present, tourists can visit the museum which has been arranged inside the remaining tower of the castle.
It is important to accurately depict the value of this castle. As the previous paragraphs clearly underline, Lida Castle is extremely rich in historical events, everything that had happened throughout time at this site contributed to defining the Belarusian evolution, and more precisely the development of the town of Lida.
Why has this specific castle become such a renowned tourist attraction? Because the municipality knew precisely how to promote the fortification so as to allure tourists and convince them to pay Lida a visit. For instance, in the wintertime, the courtyard of the castle is modified so as to favor ice skating.
It can be concluded that the castle incorporates both the past and the present. While the edifice in itself stands for the historical times, the events organized with regularity within the castle are representative for the present, thus attracting visitors with their entertaining activities.
At present, Lida Castle is protected by the state, having been declared an archeological monument back in 1940, and having been listed among the monuments which form the state heritage in 1953.