Palace and park complex in Nesvizh

Palace and park complex in Nesvizh

The Nesvizh palace and park complex is a monument of architecture of the 16th-17th centuries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The construction of the wooden palace in Nesvizh began in 1533, when Yan Radziwill, a representative of the influential magnate clan of the GDL, become an owner of the city (he got it as a dowry after marriage on Anna Kishka). He surrounded the city with an earthen rampart and built a castle on the steep hillside. The Nesvizh castle, built on a peninsula on the right bank of the Usha River and surrounded by artificial dams, was actually insular.From the side of the peninsula, the bottom was deepened, and the earth was poured into the place of the future castle. The water came here along the bypass channel. To the left, on the north side, is the isthmus of the peninsula - there in those distant times there were swamps that covered the approaches to the castle. Thus, the castle stood on a man-made island and became an impregnable fortress, which could not be attacked by artillery at that time. Yan's son Nikolai Radziwill "the Black" destroyed a wooden castle, and built a more fortified stone on the site of ancient settlement. The subsequent grandiose restructuring took place under Nikolai Khristofor Radziwill "the Orphan" in 1583. Nesvizh Castle was designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Bernardoni, who built not just a castle, but almost a palace, consisting of 12 rooms, kuntskamera, libraries.
The castle had the shape of a quadrangle with an area of 170x120 meters, it was surrounded by a ground rampart with bastions located at the corners, a water ditch (forming an inner ring), a fairly wide road and artificial reservoirs. For protection and defense of the structure rampart was fortified with stones, stone stables were equipped and secret passages were placed, bastions had arsenals and chambers, and over time, four defense towers were built at the corners of the bastions. The first foundry gun shop in Belarus - the Ludwisarnia - was working in the castle.
Nesvizh fortress steadily withstand for numerous sieges. For the first time the castle in Nesvizh was destroyed by the troops of Charles XII in 1706. In 1726 the Radziwills had rebuilt the damaged castle and further strengthened it, but works on its reconstruction and expansion were carried out throughout the XVIII century. Until the 1890s, the owner of the Nesvizh castle was Karol Stanislav Radziwill, better known by the nickname "Panie Kohanku". He turned this castle-fortress into a palace-castle ensemble. Baroque-style palace was amazing with its splendor. The main element of the grand entrance hall was a wide three-march staircase, decorated with frescoes on the theme of military triumphs (there were many glorious hetmans among the Radziwills). From the lobby in different directions were the halls and galleries. Some halls had their own names: Royal, Hetman, Golden, Marble, Armory, Hunting, - and each has a unique artistic design. The walls and arches were decorated with stucco garlands, gilded cornices, carved oak panels, frames with picturesque silk, leather and linen inserts, fabulously expensive Dutch tiles. The floor was a mosaic of a set oak parquet. In the rooms there were fireplaces, multi-colored tiles or white faience furnaces. A collection of portraits created by famous and unknown artists in the Nesvizh gallery numbered about a thousand paintings.In the hall with faience busts of ancient philosophers, there was a magnificent library for 20 thousand volumes, rare manuscripts and early printed editions, domestic and foreign chronicles, almost the entire state archives of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: historical acts, letters in the Old Belorussian language, letters, including Peter I , Louis XV, Louis XVI, Charles XII, Bogdan Khmelnitsky. There were geographical maps in the library hall, terrestrial and astronomical globes, navigation aids. In the Armory Hall - a whole arsenal of knightly armor, marshal's batons, examples of Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and European weapons.Luxurious furniture from precious wood, wax figures of historical figures, stuffed exotic animals and fish. Here was a collections of coins, works of decorative and applied art, including porcelain, glassware and crystal, gold-plated slutsk belts, tapestries - products not only of numerous manufactories owned by the Radziwills, but also of the best factories in Europe and the East.
The last representative of the Nesvizh line of the genus Dominik Radziwill in the war of 1812 acted on the side of Napoleon, after the defeat of which he ran to France.By the decree of Alexander I, the Nesvizh castle was transferred to new owners - also Radziwill, only on a different line of family. And in the last quarter of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, thanks to the efforts of Princess Maria de Castellan, the wife of the penultimate Nesvizh ordinate Antony Radziwill, the palace was supplemented by a system of landscape parks. It were laid on both banks of the Castle and Wild Ponds (Old, Japanese and Castle parks on the right bank, New and English on the left).
The last eminent owners left the castle in 1939, when Western Belarus joined the USSR. In its history starts a period of desolation. Items of the interior, dishes, old costumes, which the owners did not take with them abroad, were transferred to theaters as props. Much was just stolen. During the Great Patriotic War in the Nazi-occupied castle there was a military hospital for pilots, and since 1945 - a special purpose sanatorium Nesvizh. In the late 1990s, the palace for some time stood in desolation. In 2000, Nesvizh Castle received a chance for a new life - its restoration began.
The Nesvizh castle has its own ghost - Black Panna Barbara Radziwill, a victim of ardent love and palace intrigues. According to legend, she appears to warn of impending danger. So she was seen at night before the fire in 2002.
Today in Nesvizh Castle there are more than 30 exhibition halls.

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