The Castle site in the village of Ikazn
Palaces, manors, castles
A small village Ikazn is located in one of the most picturesque places on Earth - in the area of famous Braslav Lakes. The untouched nature of this place amuses with its unbelievable beauty: the clearest air, mirror-like surface of numerous lakes, fullness of thick greenery and rich fauna. Annually these places are visited by thousands of tourists. The village is a part of Braslav district, Vitebsk region and attracts travellers not only with its beautiful nature, but also with interesting sights. It is located at a big lake of the same name and there is a unique island mediaval castle site on its territory.
Both the village and the castle were founded by Jan Sapega. The great Lithuanian prince Alexander drew the charter. Thus, the township Ikazn was founded, and an impressive building was erected in 1504 on the isle Castle, called like that after the building. The building was located in the south-east of the isle and was protected with heavy walls from the south and east sides. The entrance to the castle was from the west wall. Two towers were built – a round wooden one in the south and five-cornered stone one in the north-east. The remaining part of the isle was occupied with a minor castle, additionally protecting the main buliding. A stone palace was used as a fortification, which was designed in line masonry as well as the walls. There was a small artificial pond for fish, joined with the lake by means of a stone-laid stream. The whole construction looked very attractive.
The castle was connected with the firm land by means of a wooden bridge. Thus, the bridge could be easily taken apart and boats sunk temporary to the bottom in case of an enemy’s assault. During its long years of existence the unique building was possessed by many owners, but the castle had never been placed under the state, it was the private possession over that time.
In 1515 the stronghold had never been seized by the Russian troops, but the small town on the bank was burnt down, as its construction was made of wood. During the Thirteen Years’ war of 1654-1667 first the castle was occupied by the Russians, then by the Swedes. As a consequence of the battle the castle was greately damaged: all wooden constructions were wiped out, and the stone palace with the walls were demolished. According to the legend one of the commander-in-chief of the defence concealed a valuable treasure in the lake.
In 1700 protracted Northern war had begun, in course of which the family of Sapega supported the Swedish party. During the war the castle was demolished by the Russian troops.
In 1971 and 1989 some excavations were held on the territory of the previously located castle under the head of Mikhail Tkachev, as a result of which objects of the XVI-XVII centuries were found. And the remains of the boats, on which the bridge had been held by, were found in the lake. Metal and clay articles, the dishes and other utensils are kept at the museum in Braslav. The acquaintance with these antique things allows you to emerge into the atmosphere of those far medieval times.
The beauty of Braslav lakes and their historical places ought to be seen with your own eyes. A niche, where the pond once had been located, preserved on the isle Castle. In windy weather a stretched from the bank to the isle water line can be noticed – a line, where the bridge passed. Only ruins have left of the castle site in Ikazn, but it doesn’t prevent you from feeling this fascinating atmosphere, in which bright colours of the local nature and age-old colouring of the ancient constructions blend with each other.