Thursday, 21 June 2018

Belarus: Nesvizh

Nesvizh is a very old town in Belarus with a history that dates back to 1223. It is located about 38km from Mir and 113km from Minsk. Despite the raging tide of modernisation this peaceful little town sustains much of its heritage charm. A walk back in time to experience its culture and to learn its history was enriching indeed.

The most famous site in this town is Nesvizh Palace. Also known as Nesvizh Castle because of its fortified walls, towers and moat, Nesvizh Palace together with Corpus Christi Church that were owned by the same powerful family, have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The palace is fortified by 4 octagonal walls and surrounded by ponds of the river of Usha. Access into the palace is via a bridge.

This Nesvizh estate was once owned by the Radziwill Family, a rich noble family who resided in the palace from 1583 to1939. Frequent extension and refurbishing of the palace over a period of 400 years saw the assimilation of various architectural styles into the original structure. A combination of  Renaissance and Classicism, Baroque and Rococo, Art Nouveau and Neoclassicism Style made the palace what it is today; a beautiful palace which has now become the pride of Nesvizh. 

The palace has around 170 rooms with a series of underground passages that connects it to the town monasteries. These passages are closed to visitors and only about 30 rooms/halls are opened to the public. The exhibits in these rooms are a recreation of the lavish furnishing and decor during the times of the first owners. 

The exhibits features dining rooms, bedrooms, ballrooms and halls that speak of an opulent lifestyle. The reign of the estate by the Radziwill Family came to an end when they were expelled by the Soviet Army.

Next to the street leading to the castle is Corpus Christi Church which served as a burial place for members of the Radiwill Family. This is one of the oldest Baroque churches outside Italy (built from 1587 -1603). This church is said to house coffins of 72 members of the Radziwiłł family.
The interior of the church is really beautiful.

The frescoes on the ceilings are a display of amazing artworks.

Standing beside the church is a bell tower.

Another old building in Nesvizh is the town hall with the shopping arcade at the side.

There are many stall selling souvenirs near the town hall. Things in Belarus are generally not very expensive. The cost of living here is relatively cheaper compared to some other European countries.

From Nesvizh I returned to Minsk to catch a flight to Vilnius. The scenery on the way was breathtaking. 

Journeying through the beautiful canola fields and lovely cottages made me a little dreamy. I am going to remember Belarus for these.

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