📌 The name Novogrudok comes from the words “New Town”. True, the times when it was “new”, have long sunk into oblivion. During its almost thousand-year history, Novogrudok was the first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, survived many wars, raised an outstanding poet and now happily shares its stories with guests of the city. We will talk about what you need to see in Novogrudok and what you can do there.
📌 The symbol of Novogrudok is its castle, more precisely, the two ruins of towers that have survived from it, which, unfortunately, are not very impressive. And, perhaps, someone who has seen the Novogrudok ruins on postcards many times will find that the city has nothing to surprise. But this is a very big mistake.
📌 The center of Novogrudok is located on the Castle Hill, and this is one of the highest points of Belarus (324 meters above sea level). Many poets admired the Novogrudchin hilly region and called the region “Belarusian Switzerland”. The castle for inaccessibility was erected on one of the highest hills, from where an amazing panorama opens for many kilometers around.
📌 Add to the breathtaking view the remains of an ancient castle and the feeling of a centuries-old history, and you will understand why you definitely need to visit this place. The first mention of Novogrudok in 1044 is due to the fact that a fortress was laid here. Two centuries later, an event took place in this place that any schoolchild now knows about – the coronation of Mindovg in 1253 and the creation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with its capital in Novogrudok. So the city became a landmark in the history of ON.
📌 Already in the next century, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was moved to Vilna, but Novogrudok remained one of the main political and cultural centers of the principality. Unfortunately, numerous wars increasingly destroyed the city and the fortress. Since the XVI century, the castle was occupied several times by Moscow troops, Cossacks. In 1706, during the Northern War, the Swedes passing through the city blew up the remains of the fortress, and since then it has not been restored.
📌 Today, from the huge structure with 7 towers, there are only the walls of two of them: the Shchitovka and Kostelnaya towers. In 1921, the ruins were taken under state protection, excavations were carried out here several times. Archaeologists have not found the crown of Mindovg, but they have found the “cup of Saint Hedwig” – a glass vessel for drinking, which was used during the coronation. In the world there were only 14 such cups, according to legend, the water in them turned into wine.
📌 At the foot of the hill, where Novogrudok castle was located, stands the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord, which also boasts a very ancient history. The temple on this place was built by Prince Vitovt in 1395, it was one of the first churches in Belarus. The old building of the shrine is not preserved, it was rebuilt. Now in the church is always very cold, they say, the reason is in the icy springs that are beating under the temple.
📌 It was in this church in 1799 that the poet and publicist Adam Mickiewicz was baptized, which later became a symbolic person for Novogrudok. The city now has Mitskevich Street, two monuments in his honor, the writer’s house-museum, an industrial enterprise and even an annual Greco-Roman wrestling tournament are named after him.
📌 Adam Mickiewicz was born in Zaustye farm near Novogrudok and lived for a long time in the city itself, in the estate of his parents. At 25, the poet was forced to leave Belarus, but it was at Novogrudchin that his romantic style was formed. He glorified Belarus and his native landscapes in the poems “Dzyady”, “Pan Tadeusz”, “Konrad Wallenrod” and many other works.
📌 The house-museum of Mitskevich is built on the foundation of his parents’ estate. After an excursion dedicated to the creativity and life of the poet, you can relax in a beautiful park opposite the museum. In 1924–1931 near the ruins of the Novogrudok Castle in honor of Adam Mitskevich was piled the Barrow of Immortality. Every fan of the poet’s creativity could bring or send a handful of land for a man-made monument.
📌 The names of many other cultural figures, for example, the poet Jan Chechot, the artist Yazep Drozdovich, the photographer Jan Bulgar, are connected with Novogrudchin.
📌 The ruins of the castle and the Mitskevich Museum are undoubtedly the main symbols and sights of Novogrudok. But there are still many interesting things. For example, temples. This is the church of St. Nicholas, built in the XVIII century, the Church of Saints Boris and Gleb, under the altar of which was discovered a church of the XII century, the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, built for the Dominican monastery, and even a wooden mosque.
📌 Many architectural monuments in Novogrudok completely disappeared. Some of them in the city, it was decided to restore at least in miniature.