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Belarus by Hladkikh Olga
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Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh
The Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh is located in the Province of Minsk, in central Belarus. Radziwil family built this complex in the 16th century and maintained it till 1939. This powerful dynasty gave birth to some of the most influential personalities in European history and culture, who later on contributed to the areas of sciences, arts, crafts, and architecture. The complex consists of the residential castle and the mausoleum Church of Corpus Christi. The castle consists of ten interconnected buildings, surrounding a six-sided courtyard. The palaces and church have marked the development of architecture throughout Central Europe and Russia (UNESCO, 2009).
Nesvizh belonged to the Radziwills starting from 1513. Before the castle was built, there used to be a house, inhabited by Duke Mikolaj Radziwill, the chancellor of Lithuania and the military governor of Vilnius. As he was protestant, he made Nesvizh an important center of the Reformation. The construction of the castle began in 1582. The residence of the castle has been preserved till now practically unchanged (UNESCO, 2009).
In 1706, the Castle was occupied by the Swedes, who partially destroyed it. However, after they left in 1732 Michal Radziwill renovated the Castle in the time period of 1732-1758. He used architects from Germany, Italy, Poland, and Belarus (UNESCO, 2009).
In the 19th century the ownership of the castle passed to Antoni Radziwill and his wife Maria de Castellane from France. They added a terrace with Neo-Gothic turrets. They also created the romantic landscape park around the castle. After 1939, Nesvizh was taken over by the Soviet army, and then it was used by the Germans as a military hospital. After WWII the castle was used as a sanatorium, but in 2001 it was assigned to restoration to be used as a museum and a cultural center (UNESCO, 2009).
Nesvizh complex became a World Heritage Site according to 3 criteria:
- It lead to the establishment of a new architectural school in Central Europe;
- It contributed to the development of building typology in the history of architecture of the Central Europe (the Corpus Christi Church)
- The Radziwill family was significant in transmission of the ideas from Southern and Western Europe to Central and Eastern Europe (UNESCO, 2009).
· Involving local community in implementation of the World Heritage Site plans;
· Strengthening and increasing the number of government staff dealing with protection of the Heritage Site;
· Introducing national legislative norms to fasten the responsibility of local authorities for preservation and proper use of the heritage (Niasvizh, 2012).
Niasvizh (2012). International Capacity Building Workshop “World Heritage Properties: Conservation and Use for Sustainable Development. [online]. Available at: whc.unesco.org/document/123334 [Accessed: 11 Nov 2013].
UNESCO (2009). Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh. [online] Available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1196 [Accessed: 11 Nov 2013].
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