Old Castle in Grodno
Palaces, manors, castles
One of the oldest sights of Grodno - the Old castle.
Grodno is a regional center of the country, having the largest number of historical and cultural monuments. It is an important tourist attraction in Belarus, which can be called an open-air museum city.
One of the most important urban remarkable places is the Old Castle, located at 22 Zamkovaya Street. It is situated in a picturesque location on the banks of the Neman River flowing here. The history of this object is rich enough.
The history of the Old castle in Grodno.
The first building, which was to perform the defensive function, appeared in the 11th century. Then it was a series of fortified walls and towers, additionally protected with a moat and the ravine.
In 1391, the castle was transformed into one of the most important residences belonging to the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vitovt. Under his direction, a new building to perform defensive functions was erected in 1398. It was built of stone and replaced the previous wooden fortress. The new building of the castle had five towers and was made in the Gothic style.
At the same time, the construction of the Lower Church in the castle area began. According to archaeological research, it could be built using the same technology as located nearby Kalozha Church. Its foundations and remains of the walls have preserved till the present days, and are now available for inspection by all engaged people.
Around 1580, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Stefan Batory, who liked to visit Grodno and actually made it his capital, decided to rebuild the castle in Renaissance style. For the performing that work, an architect from Italy Scotto – a native of the city of Parma was invited.
In 1655, the castle was completely destroyed. It happened during the war in 1654-1657, which took place between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Russian Realm. Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac, who was Grodno Mayor and Lithuanian Chancellor, took part in the renovation of the castle after those events.
From 1678, one of the three State Sejms took place in the castle. One more destruction of the castle occurred during the Great Northern War. In 1735, another tragic event for the castle happened – there was a fire. As a result, the former grandeur was lost. In the middle of the 17th century, a new building was constructed next to the Old Castle. It happened during the reign of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania August III. New Castle along with Old Castle was the summer royal residence at the time of its introduction.
There is a bridge near the castle that connects it with the city. Today, it is made of stone and has an arch form. As such it became in the 17th century, replacing the former bridge made of wood.
After entering the city the Russian Empire, the castle was converted into a barracks. At the same time, a hotel and a library as well as casinos were opened there.
The Old castle in Grodno in present days.
Nowadays the exposition owned by Grodno Historical and Archaeological Museum is placed in the main castle building. The initiative of its creation was made by an archaeologist Yuzef Yadkovsky in 1920.
In 2015, the work on the reconstruction of buildings began. According to the plans, the castle is to be returned to the form incidental to one during the reign of Stefan Batory.
Excursions with the visit to Grodno.
Visiting of the Old castle and the New palace is included into the program of almost any excursion in Grodno. It and it is no wonder: both architectural constructions are known and ancient monuments of this city. And during sightseeing tours across Grodno «Meet the Royal city of Grodno» and «the City of royal palaces and temples», and having joined our combined bus tour across Belarus you can admire this outstanding sight of Grodno.