Mirsky Castle Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Belarus.
In 1817, after the castle had been abandoned for nearly a century and had suffered severe damage in the Battle of Mir (1812), owner Dominik Hieronim Radziwiłł died of battle injuries and the castle passed to his daughter Stefania, who married Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.
Later the castle became a possession of their daughter Maria, who married Prince Chlodwig Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst.
This is a fertile region in the geographical centre of Europe, at the crossroads of the most important trade routes, and at the same time at the epicenter of crucial European and global military conflicts between neighboring powers with different religious and cultural traditions.
The short period of history starting in the late 15th century was marked by a combination of unprecedented changes in the religious, humanitarian and economic spheres.
The initial work consisted of building the walls and towers in Gothic style, but work came to an end for some unknown reason.
Building had been completed by the beginning of the 17th century with the addition of palatial accommodation, with some Renaissance features, after it had passed to the Radzivill family.
Following sieges in 1655 and 1706 reconstruction work involved the addition of some Baroque features.
After being abandoned for almost a century and suffering severe damage during the Napoleonic period, the castle was restored at the end of the 19th century, with the addition of a number of other elements and the landscaping of the surrounding area as a park.
A three-storey palace was built along the eastern and northern walls of the castle which had forty fretted rooms.
Earth walls were built around the castle with bastions at the corners, surrounded by a water moat.
In 1891, the castle is bought by Nikolai Svyatopolk-Mirsky who started bringing order to his new property. His son continued his father’s work, led by renowned architect Teodor Bursze.
Around 1568 Mir Castle became the property of Prince Radziwill, who finished off the construction of the castle in the Renaissance style.
A three-storey palace was built along the eastern and northern walls of the castle.
Plastered facades were decorated with limestone portals, cartouches, balconies and porches.
The castle, which is now over 600 years old, has had its times of splendour and royal visits, but also suffered severe damage through wars and incursions.
Among the last owners were Prince Michael and then his nephew, Prince Basil Sviatopolk-Mirski.
They owned many of the large businesses in the town, including (in 1929) the mill, the brickworks, the distillery, the starch factory, the pitch factory, the sawmill and the brandy factory.
They employed many local people in the town, on their estates and in the castle.
In 1942, the last Jews from the town of Mir were imprisoned in Mir Castle.
Several hundred escaped just a few days before the murder of the remaining Jews of Mir on August 13th 1942.
The castle is at present under the ownership of the Belarusian Government.
It is a wonderful place to visit.