Mir Castle is an outstanding work of medieval architecture, which is one of the most powerful and the most beautiful fortifications in Europe. Its architectural complex, not only has a formidable fortress, but also includes earth ramparts, a park with a pond, a chapel-tomb and much more. It is believed that the castle was founded in the 16th century by Prince Ilyinich in order to protect the possessions from raids of the Crimean Tatars. He laid five powerful towers 25 meters high connected by thick walls, equipped with loopholes, a transition system. However, the Ilinichy clan died away, while the construction had not been finished. Soon after that the castle passed to Prince Radziwill Sirotka, who completed the fortifications and bastions, and also built a three-story palace.
Many times the castle was ruined and rebuilt again, acquiring new architectural features. These features include the ‘Italian garden’, a portrait gallery, a moat and a stone bridge. At the end of the XIX century, with the transfer of Mir lands to the hands of Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky, another small palace and chapel appeared on the territory of the castle. During the Second World War, the castle was a Jewish ghetto, and after the War was finished, the residents of surrounding houses devastated by war found their refuge here. Since 1987 the castle has become a branch of the National Art Museum of Belarus, but in 2011 received an independent status.
More than one legend is associated with Mir Castle. According to one of them, Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky gave the order to dig a lake in place of a blossoming apple orchard. There is a popular belief that sitting down a flowering tree brings a terrible sin on a person, and that’s why lots of people died while making the lake. According to another legend, there is a tunnel between Mir and Nesvizh castles which is walled up now, and missing from the Nesvizh golden figures of the twelve apostles are stored here. There are also several legends about the ghosts of Mir Castle. For example, there is a story about White Maiden and two warriors, whose duel can be heard on New Year's Eve.
How to get there: you can get to the castle from Minsk by taking a bus from the Central and Vostochny bus stations.