We offer a brief description and photos of attractions in Nesvizh. And to learn more about them and see for yourself, you need to go to Belarus and spend your vacation there.
The mystery of the emergence of Nesvizh
Nesvizh is a city in the Minsk region of the Republic of Belarus, standing on the bank of the Usha River. It is the ancestral home of the rich, famous and extremely influential until the 19th century Lithuanian Radziwill family.
Historians are still arguing about the date of the foundation of Nesvizh. Even the origin of the name remains a mystery. For a long time it was believed that it was founded in 1223, when the battle of the Russians and Polovtsians with the Tatar-Mongol armies took place on the river Kalka. That’s where the prince, whose name was Yuri of Nesvizh, died. Specialists mistakenly believed that this warrior was from the city of Nesvizh. This opinion has now been disproved. A more plausible date is 1446. It was then that he was first mentioned in the chronicles. Archaeological excavations conducted here confirm this version.
During the existence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by Prince Alexander Nesvizh was transferred to the possession of the rich magnate Peter Kishka. Later the representative of his family, Anna, married Jan Radziwill, as a result of which the latter received the city as a dowry. Thus the noble family established its rule here for many centuries.
Top 15 Sights of Nesvizh
This city is extremely popular among tourists and travelers who prefer to vacation in Belarus. Nesvizh has an extremely high number of attractions and monuments of the High and Late Middle Ages.
In the city and surrounding area is well developed tourist infrastructure, there are hotels, restaurants, bars, places of entertainment, and most importantly – a rich program of excursions to the historical, cultural and architectural sights.
Nesvizh Castle is located near the city center on Zamkova Street. Today it is one of the best museums in Belarus, visited annually by hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world.
It is the most famous historical and cultural monument of the city and all of Belarus. It is included in the famous UNESCO list, is a World Heritage Site and is protected by the state.
The stone castle was built in the 16th century on the site of its wooden counterpart. The name of the architect has not survived, although his talent, labors and efforts are clearly visible in the architecture of the Nesvizh Castle.
In the 16th-17th centuries the castle was a step ahead of similar structures on the territory of modern Belarus and Poland in the quality of fortifications. It had a complex system of ditches with water, earth ramparts, etc.
Inside the castle today you can see the expensive decoration, the quality of which is not inferior to the chambers of European castles. The Radziwill family of princes who built and lived in this castle for several centuries was truly advanced for its time.
After a long restoration, the castle has now regained its historic appearance and its doors are always open to visitors. Here you can walk through the halls, examine the interiors of the 18th century, antique crockery, antiques and weapons.
Around the castle you can walk through several parks and admire their natural beauty. There are several beautiful ponds in the parks, against which you can take a lot of great photos.
Over the centuries of its existence Nesvizh Castle has acquired a lot of legends. For example, there are persistent rumors that its dungeons hold countless treasures of the Radziwill family, left after the last Radziwill fled with Napoleon’s troops.
There is a legend that Nesvizh Castle is connected to Mir Castle, which stands a few tens of kilometers away, by an underground passage. It was not without its own castle ghost, Barbara Radziwill, murdered by her mother-in-law.
As soon as in the 18th century Nesvizh Castle ceased to fulfill the function of protecting its inhabitants from external attack, around it immediately appeared several excellent parks, creating and decorating the landscape.
Antony’s Park, preserved to this day, is located in the immediate vicinity of the castle. There are also some buildings left that continue to be an integral part of this landscape park.
Here the plaques, which are dedicated to contemporaries, are harmoniously combined with monuments to prominent figures of past eras. There are all kinds of sculptures that have a symbolic meaning for the locals.
Among this variety, the most interesting are considered:
- Guardian Lev. It sits proudly on a marble pedestal, leaning with one paw on the coat of arms of Nesvizh. At the bottom there are records of the most important stages of the historical development of the city. You can find Lev in the park alley at the intersection of Slutskaya and Leninskaya Streets.
- Monument to Simon Budny, a Polish writer and humanist of the 16th century. At one time he established a printing house here, after which he published a number of religious books. The monument to Budnomu was installed in 1982, the author – Belarusian architect Svetlana Gorbunova. It is located on Leninskaya Street.
- Craftsman’s House. It is located on Chapaeva Street 4/2, across from the Town Hall. It was built in 1721 and has been rebuilt several times since then. It is the only surviving example of a residential building of those times with a characteristic Baroque facade.
- Park with wooden sculptures. To get there, just turn near Slutskaya Brahma towards the lake and walk to the green lawn. It’s quite a picturesque place, where you can take a quiet stroll and enjoy the work of wood craftsmen.
- Memorial sign to artillerymen. Installed on the eastern outskirts of Nesvizh, where a fierce battle with the Germans took place during World War II. Lieutenant Leshchenko managed to knock out 5 enemy tanks, for which he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
This is another natural attraction of Nesvizh, which appeared in the late 19th century in the marshy area near the castle. The best seedlings were brought here from Germany, planted in the drained area, paths, benches, etc. were made.
During World War II, the Nazis used this park to shoot up Red Army soldiers and local residents suspected of participating in the partisan movement.
After the war, a sanatorium was built in the park, some of its buildings have been preserved to this day. Only in the 80s of last century, the reconstruction of the Old Park began, it was decided to restore its original historical appearance.
Today, strolling through the park, you can admire its pond, in the middle of which on a small island set the sculpture of a mermaid. Busts of famous citizens of the city have been installed in the historic alley of the Old Park.
At the beginning of the 20th century it was fashionable among the nobility in Europe to have their own Japanese garden. A descendant of the Radziwills decided to organize such a garden in the north of the Old Park. However, the World War began, and work was suspended.
Today, the Japanese garden has left a pond with an island in the middle, from the shore of the pond to the island thrown bridge in the Japanese style. Near the pond there is a small pier with sculptures of lions and a Chinese pavilion.
In the early 20th century, many dwarf trees were planted here, but with lack of proper care, they all grew, stretched out and became regular trees and shrubs.
This secluded and romantic garden was organized at the behest of one of the Radziwill princesses, who heard from her friends the tragic story of a couple’s romantic love and death.
Everything here was done in the romantic style: many fountains symbolizing the tears of lovers, a pond with swans symbolizing eternal love, etc. Unfortunately, today the garden is in a neglected state.
Once there was a hippodrome on the site of the future English park, another attraction near Nesvizh. When it was removed, there was a need for a place where the whole community could ride horses.
This landscape park is characterized by the closest approximation to the natural landscape, which emphasizes its beauty and masks flaws. First appeared in England as a counterbalance to the French regular park.
The English park of Nesvizh Castle still retains remnants of its former beauty, but needs a good gardener. Despite the desire for naturalness, such a park also requires constant maintenance.
In the center of the city on its main square stands one of the medieval landmarks of Nesvizh – Town Hall. It is an administrative facility that once housed the city government.
The town hall was built at the end of the 16th century in full accordance with the European rules of those distant years. Interestingly, it burned, as did many other town halls during the Middle Ages, and lost several floors.
Otherwise, after the reconstruction of the town hall looks exactly as it did after the end of construction in the late 16th century, which is perfectly visible in the photo. Next to the town hall, on the site of the medieval market rows, is the city market.
Today there is a historical museum inside the town hall. Its halls recreate the environment and atmosphere of the town houses of the 16th century, making it easy to imagine the life of townspeople in Nesvizh four centuries ago.
In the 16th century, during the heyday of Nesvizh, a huge earth rampart was erected around Nesvizh, on which seven bastions were erected. These were times of constant feudal internecine strife, and without proper protection, towns and villages were constantly plundered and destroyed.
After many years, only two bastions remain today. One of them is called the Slutskaya Brahma, because. was intended to protect against attacks by feudal armies or simply robbers from Slutsk, and today is located in this direction.
This tower housed the guard, who immediately informed his superiors in case of danger. There used to be a Catholic church on the second floor of the tower, where services were regularly held according to this rite.
This is the second surviving bastion of the fortifications around Nesvizh, which is of significant historical value. The castle tower controlled all invited and uninvited guests arriving at the city and the castle.
Today, this tower houses the bell tower, which belongs to the current Catholic Church. There are quite a few Catholics in Nesvizh, so the bell tower is often used during Catholic celebrations and festivities.
This monastery, in addition to its spiritual function, had a defensive function for several centuries. Here were barracks, soldiers guarded the monastery, as. The bridge was used to pass through it to the city.
Later there was a school in the Benedictine convent, which in the 18th century was attended by the daughters of noble and wealthy townspeople. Teachers lived at the school. After the territory was annexed by the Russian Empire, the Catholic monastery became an Orthodox church.
Church of the Body of God
This Catholic church, also called the Far Church, was built in the center of the city in the 16th century with the help of an architect from Italy, who was invited for this purpose by the city authorities. Since then it has never been restored or rebuilt.
Residents of the city very much appreciate the Farny church for its intactness and reverence, because all sincere appeals to God with requests for goodness and love strengthen any Christian church.
The church has a rich and beautiful interior. Here you can see frescoes about the life of Christ, see the richly decorated walls of the temple, the mosaic floor and beautifully painted dome. Be sure to see the church in Nesvizh.
Under the Far Church is the tomb of the Princes Radziwill. On the left side of the temple has a small entrance, through which you can get into a fairly large room, where the coffins with the remains of members of the family are placed.
It is interesting that this tomb is second only to the Bourbon and Habsburg royal families in size and number of coffins. The Radziwiłłs liked to live the high life, not inferior to the powers that be.
In the 17th century they buried the dead by burying them in the ground, but one of the princes of Radziwill went to the Vatican and managed to get permission from the Pope himself for the family tomb.
Next, he specifically went to Egypt and brought back from there the method of embalming the ancient pharaohs, but it was soon lost. Therefore, the Radziwill family used other methods of preserving the bodies of the dead. There is a legend that the Radziwill family’s knowledge about embalming bodies was required by scientists after Stalin’s death. Specialists from Moscow came to the tomb, but nothing is known about the results of the study of the bodies of the deceased.
Today, any tourist can purchase an excursion to the Far Church and the Radziwiłłs’ tomb, which is held until noon. Individual excursions are not included in the program, only the group option.
Park with sculptures made of wood
There is a pond not far from Slutskaya Brama, near which there are many sculptures made of wood on the lawn. The best way to see this lawn in Nesvizh is with children, they will surely be interested.
You will see there wooden sculptures of bears and other animals, people, fairy and mythical creatures. It’s like the artwork of the inhabitants of our European North, magnified several times over. You can walk around for a long time and look at the sculptures in detail.
Church of the Ascension
The construction of this Orthodox church began in the early 21st century. The site was chosen near the city center, on a hill. Construction was long, often due to lack of funding.
Finally, 10 years later, they began assembling the roof of the church, then plastered it, installed the domes, and purchased some church utensils. Finally, in 2016, the church was completed and consecrated by Metropolitan Paul.
Despite the fact that we face a small town, Nesvizh has a huge number of attractions. You can also visit the local history museum with a large historical collection, get acquainted with the ancient architecture and sculpture, just strolling around town, study the map of Nesvizh times 16-17 centuries, etc.
How much time should I devote to visit Nesvizh?
In most cases, one day is enough for this – many tourists come here in the morning and in the evening quietly return to Minsk. 8-9 hours is quite enough for a sightseeing tour. Of course, fans of leisurely relaxation can stay in town for the whole weekend, especially in summer – there are plenty of hotels. At this time of year you can go boating on the local lake.
Remember that summers in Nesvizh are hot, but rainy. Precipitation is especially frequent in July. They tend to be short-lived, so you don’t have to worry about a whole week’s worth of rain.
Where is the city of Nesvizh and how to get there?
Nesvizh is located in the Minsk region of Belarus.
You can get here in the following ways:
- By direct bus from Minsk. The easiest option, but costly. There are five to seven flights a day, with morning flights usually more expensive. The schedule changes from time to time, so it is better to check it before you go to the actuality.
- By train Minsk-Gorodeja, then by bus to your destination. Less convenient option, but allows you to reduce the cost of the ticket four times. Electric trains run from the main railway station and the station “Institute of Culture.
- As part of the tour. You can order a tour program online from almost any city – they are organized everywhere. The option is suitable for those who need a ready-made sightseeing program.
What option to choose – you decide, it all depends on your own preferences. You can also rent a car if you want. To get to Nesvizh on your own is quite simple: take the highway to Brest, drive about 70 km and turn at the appropriate signpost. There will be about 57 km to your destination.
Video overview of the sights of Nesvizh
This Belarusian city is located in a picturesque place, and even a simple walk through the local streets can bring inexpressible pleasure. Of course, people come here not only for this – Nesvizh is ready to please guests and many unique attractions. The palace and park complex, which once belonged to the rich Radziwill family, the majestic Catholic church, the Nesvizh City Hall and other architectural monuments – all this attracts about half a million tourists every year. Only Minsk is visited more. And yet the city’s own population is only 15,000 people!