Navahrudak 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
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
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.