Picture by Jolanta Wilkonska
|Jorge Sanchez (Spain):|
I entered Belarus from Smolensk, in Russia, by train.
It was my second journey to that country.
This second time I had a Russian visa and being in Smolensk, so close to Belarus, I decided to spend a few days in this country having in mind that the Russian visa is also valid for Belarus.
I traveled by train from Smolensk to Minsk. There was not any Emigration control at the border between Russia and Belarus.
I visited Minsk again (my first journey to Belarus took place in 1996 and stayed there during 3 days, with friends, in transit to Kiev)and after three hours of visit I boarded a bus to Mir (there was no train service between these two cities).
The purpose to travel to Mir was to admire the famous castle considered a Patrimony of the Humankind by UNESCO.
Yes, it was OK, I enjoyed the visit, but I had seen other castles much more interesting that the one in Mir that are not included in UNESCO.
By the way, the market in Mir was very exotic. The bus stop is just at the market square.
It the restaurant Mirim, just in front of the castle, I ate the most delicious fried eggs of my life! Believe me, there were incredibly tasty, mixed with spices, better prepared than in Casa Lucio restaurant, Madrid, where the Spanish king Juan Carlos uses to go and always ask for fried eggs (I should have asked them the recipe and sell it to Casa Lucio restaurant!).
Being the end of my three months journey in Russia, I did not want to go back to that country, but to explore the east part of Ukraine (Kharkov and other places around, such as Zaporizhzhya, where there is an island in the middle of the River Dnepr, called Khorytsya, that was fortified by the old Cossacks). For that purpose I traveled to Gomel and the next day took a train to Kharkov.
|Date posted: July 2013|
|Ian Cade (England):|
Quite how this ended up on the World Heritage list I’m not sure. Whilst it is a fairly pleasant place, it seems to be pretty unremarkable. When we visited there were fairly large crowds of Russian tourists waiting to clamber up one of the Towers, we joined the queue and were left wondering why. There was almost nothing to see inside the castle and you couldn’t even get a good view out. The rear side of the castle has gone through some pretty heavy restoration, in preparation of being turned into a hotel.
The most impressive thing about the castle was the exterior, especially when viewed from the other side of the ornamental pond.
To pick up on Christer’s comments below, I would say I was in full agreement with this. Whilst the sites we visited in Belarus were quite some way from being ‘World Class’ the country itself was a bit of a surprise. We visited it partly to see ‘the grim last remnant of the Soviet Union’, but actually found a fairly prosperous, very modern and extremely friendly country. The roads leading to Mir from Minsk and Nesvizh were absolutely superb, and by far the tidiest highway I have ever been along.
Mir was not a particular highlight of our trip, however getting to see something of the country outside Minsk made this a worthwhile day trip when combined with nearby Nesvizh.
|Date posted: May 2010|
|Jolanta Wilko?ska, fille de la Princesse Kira Swiatopolk-Mirska (Poland)|
|Jolanta Wilko?ska, fille de la Princesse Kira Swiatopolk-Mirska (Poland)::|
In 1895 Mir Castle became the property of my family, the Princes Swiatopolk-Mirski, and remained in our family’s ownership until the outbreak of WW II in 1939. I first became aware of the existence of the castle thanks to the photographs which hung on the wall of our house among the family photographs, but more especially so because my mother stayed with Prince Mikhail N. Swiatopolk-Mirski, who was the owner of the estate - and my great-uncle. My maternal grandfather also lived there.
1st September 2002 was a Sunday, the weather at Mir was superb - a beautiful sunny day - which became even more memorable for me since it was the first time that I met and embraced my cousin from London, Maria Princess Swiatopolk-Mirska. We share the same grandfather - Prince Ivan Nicolaevitch Swiatopolk-Mirski. On this day I also had the very moving experience of entering the castle through its beautiful doors and kissing its portals with tears in my eyes. After all, Mir was the family home. And so for the first time, together with my cousin, I proceeded to enter the family chapel, where we both knelt and prayed among our ancestors who are buried there.
I visited Mir Castle in 2002 and in 2005 on the invitation of the Belarus Embassy in Warsaw, in conjunction with the National Art Museum of Belarus.
An exhibition of my photographs can be seen at Mir Castle. The photos are only journalistic snaps of a moment frozen in time, as they were taken in a hurry since the programme of the visit to Mir was confined by a very tight schedule due to Princess Maria and I being involved in press and radio interviews. We both took part in a documentary film about the descendants of the Swiatopolk-Mirski family, which was broadcast on state television under the title: “Man’s Fate”. We also participated in the various celebrations which took place in the vicinity of Mir Castle.
Outside the castle so many interesting events that simply pleaded to be photographed were taking place! Against the backdrop of beautiful and colourful scenery the history of Mir Castle was presented through a recital of poetry interspersed with songs and dances. In addition to the numerous stalls of the country fair there were knightly jousting tournaments. This festive, colourful and lively event merited a much more detailed photographic record. However, whatever I did manage to record with my camera I subsequently donated to the exhibition - which you are cordially invited to view.
|Date posted: April 2008|
|Christer Sundberg (Sweden):|
Belorussia might be considered to be the last communist state in Europe but despite its dictator Lukashenka and all it is actually a very friendly, nice and partially also a very modern country. During a cold week in November, when staying in Minsk, I hired myself a guide and a driver to take me for an excursion to the two World Heritage Sites of Belorussia – The “Mir Castle Complex” and the “The Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh”.
Today, you can admire the castle and its impressing red brick-walls from the outside as well as from the courtyard. Refurbishment is ongoing and according to my guide there is both a museum, a restaurant and a small hotel with conference facilities in the pipeline here. Also the nearby village of Mir is an interesting visit even though it is quite obvious that the town square houses have been thoroughly painted for tourist purposes. It is however interesting to conclude that the town of Mir (=Peace) had people of not less than four religious persuasions before WWII and within walking distance you find a Russian-Ordodox, Jewish Synagogue and a Polish-Catholic Church. The Muslim mosque was demolished during the war. Perhaps a good example for some regimes in the Middle East to learn from…
|Martin Hughes (U.K.):|
|I visited Mir castle twice, first time in july 2001 and again in july 2006. on both occasions my wife and I were working for a U.K. charity improving the town hospital (just round the corner and up the hill, or at the rear of, the castle) In 2001 we had a guide, Valeriy, husband of Janna Brandt, hospital director. He took us around and explained the history of the castle et.c. In 2006 we just walked by the lake without taking advantage of the tour. Very impressive building and so good that it is being looked after and restored. The people of Mir are lovely, we made some good friends.|
|Date posted: September 2006|
|nelly laroche (france):|
|My visit to Mir castle was very special for me and my family|
in 1998. The site is impressive. Not only the castle and lake but also the chapel behind which is worth seeing.
The people working there do a really great job.
|Nikolai Tananaiko (Belarus):|
|I visited it on a rainy day in March this year, but that was still a very special day. |
It reminded me of small French castles in the Poitou Charente region that I have seen, though its bigger in size and has a different style. At the present you can visit only one tower of the castle, the rest is being restored.
The small town of Mir is very pretty too.
The trip from Minsk (the capital) by bus takes about 2 hours.
Have you been to The Mir Castle Complex? Share your experiences!