Mir Castle is one of the most famous attractions in Belarus, which is home to a few UNESCO World Heritage sites that attract visitors. The castle is a fifteenth-century Gothic-style building with a rich history, and as one of the country's most popular destinations outside the capital city of Minsk, the Castle of Mir brings travelers back to another point in history. While much of the architecture and design, especially in Minsk, brings visitors back to the Soviet-era of cold, grey buildings, Mir Castle exposes visitors to the history that existed before this time.
Located in the town of Mir Belarus, construction began on the castle in the 1400s by Duke Ilinich. The building of the Gothic-style castle was finished in the early sixteenth century, and it was renovated in the mid-1500s century to include the Renaissance style. There are other castles in Belarus that are located nearby and can be seen as part of a tour of the area. For instance, Nesvizh Castle is another UNESCO World Heritage site located just under eighteen miles from Mir Castle. These castles in Belarus put the country on the World Heritage map for their beauty and intricacy.
The Napoleonic period was a dark time for Mir Belarus, and the castle was damaged and abandoned for more than a century. At the end of the nineteenth century, restoration of the limestone façade, balconies, and porches was undertaken. The castle stayed in the hands of the Sviatopolk-Mirski family, passed down in generations, until 1939. When the Nazis arrived in Mir Belarus, they occupied the building and turned the building into a ghetto to house the local Jewish population. The castle was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000 for being an excellent example of a central European castle and to preserve this cultural monument for future generations.
Many travelers choose to visit the castles in Belarus not only for their beauty, but also because they are in close proximity to the capital of Minsk. Tours can be arranged from the city that will include transportation and English-language information. Mir Castle is praised for not only its architecture, but for the lovely grounds as well. To see the castle at its best, spring and summer are recommended. Although Belarus is home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites, they don’t receive nearly as many visitors as similar attractions in other countries. Especially because of the need to obtain a visa before entering the country, some travelers don’t bother to overcome this hurdle. This means the attractions will never be crowded, and you can visit any time of year.
Some people consider Mir Castle to be the main landmark of Belarus. A tour of the castle will reveal its many features, including elements of the design that were built for defense; the castle was considered very safe if it happened to come under attack quickly. The towers, old torture room, and grounds can be visited on a tour of the castle. The small town of Mir is worth a look as well, and some visitors choose to enjoy a meal there before moving on to see another of the areas castles or to head back to Minsk. Independent travelers may rent a car to explore the region, while tours are available and affordable.