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The outstanding work of Belarusian architecture is the Castle at Mir, Grodno Region. The castle is situated in open ground and in a low-lying area. Iit was surrounded by moats and earth walls, with bastions on three sides; on the forth (Southern) side it was covered by an artificial lake. The construction was carried out in several stages. The fortress walls and the towers were built first. Later, in the early 17th century, a three-storeyed palace built by Grand Duke Nickolai Radzivill Sirotka was added. The castle walls originally were 13 m high and 3 m thick in their foundation. Of especial interest are the castle towers. They jut out beyond the wall-line and have a rich diverse decor in the form of niches and ornamental tile belts. Only the entrance and SW towers have kept the original Gothic elements. The other towers and the palace itself assumed their present form and decor in Renaissance style. In the 17th & 18th centuries, Mir Castle was an imposing palace-and-castle complex, which successfully combined the elements of a military fortification with the splendour and luxury of a palace. Despite numerous desasters (the worst being the war of 1812) Mir Castle has survived until the present, and is now being successfully restored.

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Additional Photos by alena Yakusheva (volare2004) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 20 W: 0 N: 47] (549)
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