Belarus is a hidden gem in Eastern Europe, full of undiscovered sights that recently opened its borders and has become a popular destination within a short period. Palaces and castles in Belarus testify to the country’s rich past and are symbols of history and architecture. Past rulers built several fairytale castles across the country, but many have crumbled or were destroyed in battles.
The Rurik Dynasty was the first dynasty in Belarus, formed when Vladimir I the Great took the throne in 978. In the 13th century, the territory became part of Lithuania and Poland. In 1772, western Belarus joined the Russian empire. Belarus joined the USSR in 1922 and was occupied by Germany occupied for three years from 1941. Since independence in 1991, Alexander Lukashenko has ruled as a dictator.
Some of Belarus’ castles were saved and while many have already been rebuilt, a few are still waiting their turn, but all of them deserve your attention. Here is the list of the 20 fairytale castles in Belarus to visit.
- Belarus Castles
- 20 Fairytale Castles In Belarus
- 1- Nesvizh Castle
- 2- Krevo Castle
- 3- Lida Castle
- 4- Mir Castle
- 5- Kossovo Castle
- 6- Halshany Castle
- 7- Lubcha Castle
- 8- Brest Fortress
- 9- Novogrudok Castle
- 10- Kamianiec Tower
- 11- Old Grodno Castle
- 12- New Grodno Castle
- 13- Pischalauski Castle
- 14- Ruzhany Palace
- 15- Babruysk Fortress
- 16- Gomel Palace
- 17- Mozyr Castle
- 18- Pruzhany Manor House
- 19- Skoki Manor House
- 20- Bykhov Castle
- 20 Fairytale Castles In Belarus
20 Fairytale Castles In Belarus
1- Nesvizh Castle
About 110km from Minsk, Nesvizh or Niasvizh Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Belarus.
Niasvizh Castle was built in the 16th century and was the residence of the family members of the Duchy of Lithuania until the 20th century.
As it was reconstructed several times, it features different styles of architecture (neo-Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo).
Its impressive blend of architecture framed by splendidly landscaped parkland and beautiful lakes makes the castle a picturesque sight.
The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site that draws thousands of tourists and holds concerts, balls, and theatrical performances.
To experience the castle, we recommend visiting as part of a tour or stay at Nesvizh Palace hotel, which is on the grounds.
Nesvizh Castle is at 19, Leninskaya Street, Nesvizh, Minsk.
2- Krevo Castle
Constructed in the early 14th century, Krevo is among the oldest castles in the country.
Krevo Castle is the first all-stone fortification in Belarus, with 2.5m thick and 13m high stone walls.
Built in Roman style with the giant boulders, the castle had two towers that protected the rest of the building.
Several key historical events have occurred here, including the murder of Grand Duke Keistut and the formation of the Krevo Union. The latter was the unification of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.
By the 19th century, the castle was abandoned and greatly destroyed during WWI.
Today, only the ruins of Krevo Castle remain.
The walls can still be seen along the outer edge and some fragments of the towers are still undamaged.
3- Lida Castle
Lida Castle or Lidskiy Zamok was among the many citadels built in the early 14th century by Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania to guard his lands against the Teutonic Knights expansion.
One of the oldest of all Belarus palaces and castles, it is an archaeological monument in Grodno, famous for its trapezium shape and crimson walls built using ornate brickwork.
After being damaged decades ago, the fort was rebuilt and now houses a natural history museum in one of its towers.
Lida Castle is today an all-season tourist spot that attracts scores of visitors annually.
The castle hosts knight’s tournaments in summer while the inner yard is transformed into an ice-skating rink in winter.
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4- Mir Castle
Constructed in the late 15th century by Duke Ilinich, Mir Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an important place to visit in the Grodno region, featuring multiple architectural styles (Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance).
The castle has limestone portals, porches and balconies.
It was a fortress originally, to defend against armed attacks, and its walls have loopholes for heavy cannon firing.
During the Soviet era, the castle became a factory, and it was a war prison camp in WWII.
Today, it is a branch of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, and its towers, cellar, and gallery are open to the public.
The highlight here is that it sits on the lake, which is nice to walk around.
Mir Castle is at Krasnoarmeyskaya Ulitsa 2, Mir 231444, Belarus.
5- Kossovo Castle
Sitting regally on the green hill, Kossovo Castle or Puslowski Palace was constructed by the governor Kazimir Puslovsky in the 19th century.
The castle consists of a central two-storied structure and two wings.
It is usually called a mini-castle because of its rectangular merlons atop the towers but the building is actually huge, with over 100 rooms and magnificent chambers.
The building sits within a vast park with almost 150 species of exotic plants. Today, it functions as the socio-cultural and tourist hub with a museum, a restaurant, and a mini-hotel.
6- Halshany Castle
Holszany or Halshany Castle was the residence of the Sapieha family and was once among the largest estates in the portfolio of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Pawel Stefan Sapieha ordered its construction in the 17th century to replace the older building.
The castle had huge towers at its corners and vaulted basements under the building.
During the Northern War, the castle was damaged by the Swedes and presently, only the ruins of the castle remain.
7- Lubcha Castle
On the left bank of Neman River at Lubcha, 150km away from Minsk, there is the Lubcha Castle – a hidden gem.
This castle is worth visiting for those interested in the history of Belarus and who love gorgeous landscapes.
The building was constructed in the second half of the 16th century and has been repeatedly destroyed and changed hands.
The palace was remodelled into a school building in 1947 and a local history museum later.
Nowadays, only two towers of the castle remain but visitors usually come to enjoy fishing, swimming, and the sunsets on the banks of the river.
8- Brest Fortress
Located at the Belarusian border with Poland, Brest Fortress was constructed during the 19th century.
It’s a masterpiece of military engineering and splendid artwork, and a number of forts have been built near the original fortress, which consists of two levels and has an impressive 2km-long barracks.
Monasteries, churches, and cathedrals also exist within the grounds of the building.
The fortress was damaged during WWII, and unfortunately, some of its parts were never restored.
Today, Brest Fortress has become an important Soviet WWII war monument.
9- Novogrudok Castle
Another famous castle in Belarus, Navahudrak or Novogrudok Castle, was among the strongholds of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The castle earned its keep during the 11th and 12th centuries as enemies repeatedly attacked the walls.
The first tower was constructed during the 13th century.
The castle was not captured until the Polish-Soviet War, which occurred between 1918 and 1921, during the aftermath of WWI.
Today, all that’s left are ruins surrounded by stones and deep ditches.
10- Kamianiec Tower
Erected above the gentle rise overlooking the Liasnaja River, this 13th-century tower is the major landmark of Kamianiec today.
Once similar towers were constructed in Grodno, Brest, and Turau, but all were destroyed during various wars.
The Kamianiec Tower is the only one that has survived in the country to date.
It served as the fortified main tower or the keep with service and residential rooms on five levels.
The tower is made of red bricks and features early Gothic architecture.
Today, it is regarded as the national historic site and houses a branch of the Brest regional museum.
11- Old Grodno Castle
Also called Hrodna Upper Castle and Bathory’s Castle, Old Grodno Castle is an 11th-century structure built as a complex of fortifications and cultural buildings.
Except for the New Grodno Castle located right next to it, Old Grodno is the only royal castle that has survived in the country.
For many years, the castle remained the residence of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and the kings of Poland.
Nowadays, Old Grodno Castle hosts the major exposition of the Grodno Museum of History and Archaeology.
12- New Grodno Castle
Right 381 ft above sea level, New Grodno Castle is the royal residence of Stanislaw August Poniatowski and Augustus III of Poland, where the popular Grodno Sejm occurred in 1793.
The palace was erected on the high bank of the Neman River and is joined to the Old Grodno Castle by the 300-year-old arch bridge.
Its construction was completed in the 18th century under the direction of Giuseppe de Sacco.
Throughout most of the 19th century, the palace was used as a hospital and barracks.
Today, it stands as an age-old structure that outlived numerous wars, empires, and kings.
13- Pischalauski Castle
Also called the Belarusian Bastille, Pischalauski Castle is another fairytale castle in Belarus.
The castle is one of the newer ones, built in the 19th century and designed by a well-known architect Pichala.
The property was once a prison and is one of the major monuments in the country for its architectural beauty.
14- Ruzhany Palace
Ruzhany Palace is another intriguing palace complex in Ruzhany, built in the late 16th century.
Nicknamed the ‘Versailles of Belarus’, this palace was the seat of the senior line of the Sapieha family (Sapiehas of Ruzhany) before becoming the textile factory.
The building was burned down during WWI, and despite the later attempt to reconstruct it, the property didn’t return to its former glory.
The property is currently undergoing huge reconstruction, with the ornate palace gate and entry point already restored.
15- Babruysk Fortress
It is a historic fortress in the city of Babruysk constructed during the 19th century.
Babruysk Fortress is among the best surviving examples of fortification architecture in its time.
The early structure included five bastions, different soil ridges, and water channels.
Throughout its history, the fortress was used for different purposes.
Today, the site is open for excursions and archaeological studies.
The Bobruisk Arena near the fortress is an indoor sporting area and the country’s third-largest ice arena.
16- Gomel Palace
It is one of the most splendid instances of architecture in the country.
At present, a museum complex in central Gomel joins this 18th-century palace of the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches, a burial vault, a chapel, a winter garden, and a lovely old park.
The building served a number of purposes throughout its history as it housed a theatre, library, and museum.
Today, Gomel Palace is one of the most frequently visited places in the country.
It is now a significant historical, cultural, and educational hub, hosting exhibitions and interesting academic projects.
17- Mozyr Castle
Mozyr Castle is a 15th-century building, often visited to get an idea of the culture and history of Belarus.
It is located on a hill and is an instance of east European fortification art of its time.
This castle in Mozyr is not merely a museum with interesting exhibits showing the medieval period and history.
The place is also known for holding exciting events and music festivals.
18- Pruzhany Manor House
This Italian-style complex in Pruzhani is a manor house constructed in the middle of the 19th century.
Before starting the 20th century, the property became famous as the Pruzhanski Palatsyk Museum.
It is now a well-known socio-cultural and research centre.
Over 8,000 tourists visit this museum annually to admire the rich collection of the history and art of the region.
Literary evenings and scientific conferences also take place here.
The grounds also have a stone house with two wings and a reconstructed greenhouse.
19- Skoki Manor House
Constructed in the late 18th century, this estate of the Nemtsevich family near Brest is an excellent example of the architecture of change from Baroque to classicism.
The palace has survived the war and operated as a school for a long time.
Furthermore, the property has been several interesting historical events. At present, the estate is perfectly renovated, both inside and outside.
20- Bykhov Castle
Another great place on the list is Bykhov Castle, which is a monument of architecture constructed at the starting of the 15th century.
The complex had several stone structures and served as the main defensive system of the city.
Although the castle was a significant stronghold on the lands for so many years, war destroyed the property a number of times.
At present, the castle is partially preserved and is under restoration.