The Hillfort "Gashtold Mountain" in Dzerzhinsk
The hillfort "Gashtold Mountain" is located in Dzerzhinsk, Minsk region, 30 km from Minsk. This is one of historically and archaeologically important places in the Republic of Belarus. Koidanovo, as Dzerzhinsk was previously called, was one of the largest centers of Calvinism, so the hillfort has got its second name "Calvinschina".
An excursion to the history
The movement of Calvinism that emerged after Lutheranism was widely spread throughout the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the early XVI century. According to this movement, it is not necessary for oration to take place in a church. Calvinists deny every desire for beautiful and lovely, and argued for simplicity, asceticism and absolute obedience to God. So a wooden temple built by Nicholas Radziwill on the Gashtold Mountain approximately in 1564 looked as artless and unsightly as possible. It was intended for praying, purification and oration.
50 years later Krishtof Nicholas Radziwill Perun significantly strengthened the Calvinist cathedral, erecting a large stone fortress on this spot. This structure was designed in Gothic style and was intended not only for praying but also for defense. The building was surrounded by a deep moat to pass which it was possible only across a lifting bridge. The thickness of the walls made of stone ledges was about 1.5 m. The loopholes were located on all sides of the towers and allowed to fire all-round.
In 1876 the Calvinist fortress was rebuilt into a magnificent church. The walls and towers were fortified, and many elements were transformed to maximize defense and protection for the castle. Above the entry there was a musical choir with a balustrade with a staircase leading directly to a big bell. There was also a huge clock on the tower, and inside the main premise there was a magnificent oak pulpit for being elevated when appealing to the floor.
Subsequently, in the territory of the hillfort "Gashtold Mountain" in Dzerzhinsk a lot of battles took place, and then the fortress served as defense structure. This land remembers battles during the partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the uprising of Kanstantsin Kalinouski, the revolution, the imperialist battles of the First World War, battles during the Civil War. There is installed a monument for participation in the Second World War dedicated to the defenders of the Motherland. During all the battles the castle was the main outpost and a safe defended post for the population.
Unfortunately, the Calvinist cathedral on the Gashtold Mountain has not survived up to now. It was demolished during the construction of a district hospital in Dzerzhinsk. Now on this site there are only fragments of the foundation, of the fortress walls and towers on the small hill. Here there is a memorial plate dedicated to the once magnificent building. The architectural monument "the Hillfort" is a protected site of historical significance that is included in many tourist itineraries around our Republic.