Navahrudak Castle (Навагрудскі замак)

Navahrudak Castle is a poorly preserved medieval citadel located near Navahrudak, Grodno Region in Belarus. It dates back to the 14th century.



Location: Navahrudak, Grodno Region  Map

Constructed: 14th century


History of Navahrudak Castle

Navahrudak Castle mapNavahrudak Castle was constructed by Grand Duchy of Lithuania as a defense of the Eastern borders against intrusion of armies of Russian duchies. First military fortifications stood here in the 14th century. Originally it consisted of a stone keep and few wooden curtain walls. The central tower was known as a Schitovka or a Shield tower implying its strategic role in defending the whole fortress. in 1274 Navahrudak Castle was besieged by Russian and Tatar forces who failed to take the fortress.


In 1314 Navahrudak Castle was attacked by knights of the Teutonic Order under leadership of Heinrich von Plotzke. Attack was defeated, but the central keep was badly damaged. It was rebuilt and reached a total height of 25 meters. Wall thickness reached a total thickness of 3 meters. Draw bridge could be raised locking defenders of the tower from attacking forces. It was the last resort for the defenders of Navahrudak Castle. South part of Shitovka had a stone staircase. Much of the space was taken for housing of troops.


According to some historic sources it was a location of coronation of king of Lithuania Mindaugas. Some historians even suggested that he might also be buried here. The search for his grave still continues despite failure to find any significant evidence.


During the reign of Vytautas the Great four more towers were added to safeguard the fortress. However changing military tactics couldn't save Navahrudak Castle as a military stronghold. It fell in disrepair and was largely used as a military barrack rather than a military fortification. Navahrudak Castle was further damaged by invading Russian troops during Russo- Polish War of 1654- 1667.


Navahrudak Castle finally lost any strategic importance in a war between Swedes and Russians in a Great Northern War. No one attempted to reconstruct fallen walls of Navahrudak Castle. Remaining ruins were used by the local peasants as a stone quarry for the their local needs. Today Navahrudak Castle is a site for jousting and medieval re-enactment.