The Mir Castle, one of the most famous castles in Belarus, is located 10 kilometers off the Minsk-Brest highway. Its facade with three towers is a bright example of the medieval baroque, and owing to this fact it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
At the start of the 16 century Mir Castle was built by Yuri Ilinich, who was a representative of one of the noblest families of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The castle has the look of a classic fortress, though it had no defensive function, as these lands were far away from the disputed territories for which they fought in those times. So, you might think that the building of the Mir Castle had simply to emphasize the status of its owner, as about the same time and only 30 kilometers to the south the Radziwil were building their Nesvizh castle.
In 1568 the house of the Ilinich was extinct and the unfinished castle passed into possession of the Radziwil, the richest and most powerful noble family of that time. It was then that the Mir Castle was finished and obtained its today look with the features of the Renaissance.
In 1706 the Mir Castle was destroyed by the troops of Charles XII of Sweden but was restored later. The Mir Castle was again destroyed by the armies of Napoleon in 1812. In 1828 the castle became the property of the Wittgenstein family, and in 1891 – the prince Sviatopolk-Mirskii.
During World War II the Mir Castle was again destroyed and was in ruins for a long time, but by 2011 the castle was completely restored, and now you can see the interiors it had under its last owner Nikolai Sviatopolk-Mirskii.
For a long time there was a beautiful garden near the Mir Castle, but its last owner had it cut down and replaced by a pond. There are many stories related to the pond. According to one of the stories, the mother of a dead wood-cutter came to Nikolai and said that for each tree a man would be drown in the pond. And indeed, soon the 12-year old daughter of Nikolai was drowned in the pond and then himself.
On the bank of the lake near the Mir Castle there is the burial vault of the Sviatopolk-Mirskii where they are buried. Over the entrance there is the icon of the Christ Pantocrator made of mosaic by the Byzantine technology. You can see the similar icons in the Cathedral of the Saviour on Blood in St. Petersburg.
The Mir Castle itself houses many expositions you should visit. There were completely restored the rooms of the 19 century: Portrait room, Stolovaya izba, private chambers of the prince Nikolai Sviatopolk-Mirskii. On the ground floor you can visit a museum with interesting expositions devoted to the Mir Castle in different periods.