Construction date: 16-18th centuries
Location: located 120 kilometers south-west of Minsk
Geographic coordinates: 53.22289085230568,26.691949367523193
The city of Nesvizh, located 120 kilometers south-west of Minsk, is one of the oldest cities in the country. Nesvizh was first documented in the chronicles of the 13th century, but its golden age came in the middle of the 16th century, when Nesvizh became the residence of the Radzivill noble family. During the 16-17th centuries the city was rebuilt to a great extent with much attention paid to the latest developments in the art of fortification and architecture, while the Radzivill’s castle was turned into a strong fortified place surrounded by the system of moats, ramparts and canal structures. The first Belarusian printing house, in which the first Bible in the Belarusian language was printed, was built here. Several monasteries and Polish Roman Catholic churches were opened and even a small private army was quartered here. Today Nesvizh is a small regional center representing a picturesque mixture of medieval architecture, ordinary wooden houses and gloomy examples of socialist city planning.
The Nesvizh palace-and-park complex (built in the 16-18th centuries) is an outstanding monument of architecture, which was built by the Italian architect Giovanni Maria Bernardoni with a clear intension of taking the shine out of the contemporary kings’ palaces. Surrounded by the extensive system of canals and ramparts, the castle was almost impregnable and for a long time served as a model to be followed while building castles of the kind. In the second half of the 19th century a wide park zone with an area of more than 200 hectares appeared around the picturesque buildings of the central housing, barracks and household outbuildings, which formed the central architectural ensemble. These gardens are still famous for their elaborated floristic compositions. Besides the castle complex, there are some places of interest worth visiting, such as the Nesvizh Benedictine Monastery and Polish Roman Catholic Church (built in 1590-1596), the Town Hall (built in the 16th century; it is one of the oldest in the country) with the neighboring market, fascinating Farny Polish Roman Catholic Church (Jesuits’ Polish Roman Catholic Church built in 1584-1593; it is the first Jesuit church built on the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), the Nesvizh Castle Guard Tower (built in the 16th century), the Slutsk Gate (built in the 16-18th centuries), “The house on a market” (built in 1721) and the Alba Park, located in the southern part of the city where the houses of the Radzivills’ summer residence were situated but, unfortunately, did not survive to our days.
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Cathedral of St Sophia
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The Nesvizh palace-and-park complex (built in the 16-18th centuries)
The Mir Castle – a masterpiece of Belarusian architecture.