Thursday, May 10, 2007

Extra! Extra! Cultural Scientists To Collect Historical Data About Nesvizh Castle, Belarus; Duelling European Castle-Palace Restoration Projects

Specialists to Collect Historical Data about Nesvizh Castle

'In 2007 the State Committee for Science and Technologies will start financing the project of the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for collecting rare historical data related to the Nesvizh Castle. As a result, the information regarding the benefits of the Nesvizh Castle, about the oldest part of the Radzivills’ archives, other information will be introduced in scientific circulation, supervisor of the project, head research officer of the Institute Andrei Metelskiy recently told to reporters.

The final goal of compiling the database will become the preparation for publishing a book dedicated to the history of the Nesvizh Castle. This innovation project envisages searching underground passages and communications described in numerous documents related to the construction of the Nesvizh Castle.

According to Andrei Metelskiy, specialists started the archeological dig in the early 1990s. By the time, four underground passages have been discovered, cleaned and included in tourist itineraries. The first passage goes from the Castle’s yard to a bastion and a fighting ground, the second one goes from the castle’s yard to the water and to the castle’s moat. Two maintenance passages more have been discovered as well. Their usage has not been determined yet as a human does not pass through them. This year the search will be continued and, possibly, a new story about lives of the Nesvizh Castle’s owners will appear, Andrei Metelskiy noted.

The Nesvizh Castle, the official residence of the Radzivills, was included into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.

The city of Nesvizh is located about 112 km (70 miles) westward from Minsk. The city was first mentioned in historical chronicles in 1446. In 1513 the city of Nesvizh became the official residence of the Radzivills – the biggest and the most powerful tycoon family in Belarus. The residence included the Castle, and a cathedral with a marketplace.

Reconstructed in the 18th century, the Radzivills Castle is the only surviving original tycoon residence in this part of the European continent [sic -- see Pidhirtsi Castle near Lviv and the new monograph on that Castle-Palace by Wawel Palace, Krakow, Director Jan K. Ostrowski]. The gem of the Nesvizh Castle is a crypt-based vault of the Radzivill dukes. Today it features 72 open caskets with remains of the renowned members of the family. The earliest grave dates back to 1616. The Nesvizh Castle has beautiful and harmonic combine of medieval architectural features, styles of late Renaissance, the Baroque and original stylish research of local masters.'

Source: Embassy of Belarus to the United States.

Duelling Eastern European Castle-Palace Restoration projects. Above, Nesvizh Castle, Belarus; below, Pidhirtsi Castle near Lviv, Ukraine. The Belarus Castle currently has UNESCO and State funding; while the Ukrainian Castle has the completed, scholarly monograph by Wawel Castle [Krakow, Poland] Director, Jan K. Ostrowski . The Pidhirtsi Castle-Palace was used as a Nazi headquarters and stripped of its vast collections of paintings and decorative artwork; and subsequently used as a political prison and as a sanatorium under the Soviets.

Photo credits: (c) [Minsk, Belarus]; and Wikipedia Commons [under challenge]. With many thanks to both copyright owners for use.


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