In the small town of Nesvizh, the Nesvizh Castle, a unique monument of medieval architecture, is located to the southwest of Minsk medieval architecture. Built in the 16th century by the richest Lithuanian Prince Jan Radziwill, the palace served as a family estate of this powerful king until 1939. The architect of the building was a famous Italian architect Giovanni Bernardoni, known as the author of the Cathedral of Peter and Paul in Rome. He had also built the nearby Farny Church (Church of God’s Body), which is the first baroque temple in Eastern Europe.
The castle has a rich history of military events. The Radziwills held a large garrison here and the castle was equipped with powerful artillery bastions, ditches and bridges. The first cannon shop in Belarus worked here. Throughout the 17th century, the castle fortifications had been considered impregnable, but during the Northern War it was taken by the troops of Charles XII, and in 1792 it surrendered to the Russian troops. After that all the fortifications were demolished, and soon the castle acquired the form that we know today –– a baroque palace, decorated with mesh pattern and complex details. The decoration of the palace, however, fell into disrepair in 1939. At this time the power of the Soviets was established on the territory of Western Belarus and the castle was used as a sanatorium. After the collapse of the USSR a large-scale restoration began, which ended only in 2012.
Today Nesvizh Castle is a palace complex, which is the part of the historical and cultural Museum-Reserve 'Nesvizh' along with other architectural objects, such as Farny Church, City Hall and several park ensembles created back in the 19th century. Due to constant reconstructions, the palace complex combines several architectural styles, from baroque to modern, at the same time.
How to get there: to get from Minsk to Nesvizh you can take a bus from the Central bus station, or by car on the M1 highway. The premises of the castle are open to the public with guided tours offered.