Nesvizh

 

Nesvizh is one of the most touristic places in Belarus. This is a small town in which, despite numerous wars and cataclysms, not a few architectural monuments of the 16th-18th centuries have survived, as well as a number of buildings representing the architecture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of this period and reflecting the life of the center of the possessions of the largest magnates, the Radziwills family.

Nesvizh, despite the assurances of the sign at the entrance to the city, was first mentioned in 1446 (and not in 1223). Nesvizh - a small settlement at that time - passed from hand to hand until in 1513 it was in the possession of the Radziwills. In 1547, Nikolai Radziwill "Black" received the title of Prince Olyka and Nesvizh from the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and the city became the center of his possessions in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. An active Protestant, "Black" made the city one of the centers of Protestantism in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The first printing house of Symon Budny on the territory of modern Belarus began work here, where books were published in the Old Belarusian and Polish languages. At the end of the 16th century, the "Black" was succeeded by Nikolai Christopher Radziwill "The Orphan", who traveled a lot in Europe and planned to build a city in Nesvizh based on the Western European model. In 1583, a stone castle was laid a few hundred meters from the city; it was designed and built using the latest advances in fortification. At the same time, the construction of a system of ponds and ditches on the Usha River began. In 1586 the city received the Magdeburg Law - a set of rights and privileges typical for European cities, which introduced independent self-government and a strict internal organization. Together with the Magdeburg Law, the city received its own coat of arms. Several monasteries were founded in the city, the Jesuits were active. The castle withstood the siege of Russian troops twice during the war of 1654-1667, but in 1706 surrendered to the Swedish army under the personal leadership of Charles XII without a fight; after this, the fortifications of the castle were destroyed, but after a few years they were rebuilt. Nesvizh itself was repeatedly burned by Russian and Swedish troops, after which it was rebuilt again. The castle lost its defensive significance, but remained the center of the possessions of the richest line of the Radziwill family. In the 18th century, the city became one of the cultural centers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which was facilitated by the enormous wealth of the family. The castle housed a huge library and contained an archive with copies of all documents of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (a personal privilege received by Nikolai "the Black"). Francisca Ursula Radziwill organized a theater here and wrote plays for it herself; there was a ballet troupe; in Nesvizh, the manufacture of luxury goods was organized. In 1793 the city became part of the Russian Empire. The new owner of the castle, Dominik Radziwill, sided with Napoleon in the war of 1812, for which the Radziwills lost the right to own the castle. In addition, most of the collections of the genus were confiscated. Only at the end of the 19th century, the representatives of the Radziwill family returned to Nesvizh, began to restore the castle and laid parks. In the 19th century, the Polish and Belarusian poet Vladislav Syrokomlya, the classic of Belarusian literature Yakub Kolas and other cultural figures studied for some time in Nesvizh. During the First World War, the castle was converted into a military hospital; the headquarters of the 2nd Army of the Western Front was located in the city. Since 1921, the city has been part of the Polish Republic, where it was the center of the powiat. All this time, the Radziwills remained the owners of the castle, but the noticeably reduced income of the princes forced them to start selling their collections, and part of their property was transported to Warsaw, away from the border with the USSR.

Kaiser Wilhelm II and Marshal Jozef Pilsudski visited Nesvizh at various times. In 1886, Wilhelm - then still the heir to the throne - visited Nesvizh to hunt at the invitation of his adjutant Anthony Wilhelm Radziwill. Pilsudski came to Nesvizh in 1926 to honor the memory of Stanislav Radziwill, his personal adjutant, who died during the Soviet-Polish war. On September 17, 1939, the border town was occupied by the Red Army without a fight, from 1941 to 1944 it was occupied by German troops. There was also a large Jewish community in Nesvizh; already at the end of the 16th century, Nikolai Radziwill Orphan issued a special decree on the rights and privileges of the city's Jewish population. There were several synagogues and Jewish schools in Nesvizh, and up to half of the city's population at the end of the 19th century were Jews. However, in 1941 Nesvizh was captured by German troops, several hundred Jews were shot together with prisoners of war, and the rest were driven into the ghetto. In the summer of 1942, an uprising took place in the ghetto; most of the Jews were killed, and only a few were saved. After the war, the city became a regional center, and a sanatorium was located in the castle (at first it belonged to the NKVD, and until the 90s - to the management of Mezhkolkhozzdravnitsa). Several historic buildings have been demolished. At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, restoration of the dilapidated castle began, which was completed in 2012.

 

Orientation
Nesvizh has pronounced borders, defined by passing highways and the Bypass road. For travelers, an interesting southeastern, central, half of the city where the main tourist sites are located. A good landmark is the long paths around which the Palace and Park complex is located, and a little to the north: monasteries, the central square, the town hall, etc. From the bridge, which cuts the paths in half, two main streets of the city leave in the northwest direction: Sovetskaya and Lenina. Two or three blocks from the central square, ordinary residential development begins on these streets, with some exceptions to remote objects, for example, the Museum of History and Local Lore.

1 City Tourist Information Office (located at the entrance to the park complex).

 

Destinations

Nesvizh Castle

 

Getting here

By train
There is no railway in Nesvizh. The nearest station is Gorodeya on the Minsk-Baranovichi-Brest line. Electric trains (electric trains of regional economy-class lines) usually stop in Gorodeya, other trains do not stop. Half of the trains leave from the railway station (metro station Ploshchad Lenina), half - from the station. Institute of Culture (metro station of the same name). Buses run regularly from Gorodeya to Nesvizh (departure - from the other side of the railway station); their schedule is usually tied to the schedule of morning, afternoon and first evening trains. Travel time - 1.5-2 hours by train to Gorodeya, 25 minutes by bus to Nesvizh.

By bus
Buses from Minsk to Nesvizh usually go to Kletsk and Pinsk. Travel time is 2.5 hours, but buses are quite small, and in the opposite direction you will also have to catch tickets for them. However, there is always a second option to go through Gorodeya. Buses run to Baranovichi 4 times a day (1.5 hours).

By car
M1 E30 Orsha-Minsk-Brest, exits about 67 km (to Stolbtsy) and 86 km (to Gorodeya) from the Moscow Ring Road. Usually, not only the road to the city is indicated, but also the road to the Palace and Park Ensemble (a special brown sign indicating the direction and distance). A winding road P54 leads from Stolbtsy to Nesvizh, and a straight and half-empty P2 road leads to Gorodeya. A wide straight road P11 leads from Gorodeya to Nesvizh.
The city has two filling stations located on the outskirts of Nesvizh: Belnefteprodukt at the entrance to the city from the Gorodeya side and Tatneft in the southern part of the city at the intersection of Okruzhnaya and the P12 highway.
In principle, there are no problems with a park in the city center, you may have to twist to find a convenient place. In Nesvizh, the main objects are located quite compactly, it is recommended to park the car and continue walking. In the most attractive place, directly at the entrance to the park, there is a paid parking, nevertheless, it is possible to get up for free and legally in the city a couple of hundred meters towards the central square.