September 30, 2012

0347 BELARUS (Minsk) - Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh (UNESCO WHS)


I mentioned here about Radziwill family, so prominent for centuries for Central and Eastern Europe, that no less than six countries (Belarus, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, and Ukraine) nominated the archives of this family to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2008, they being inscribed on the Register in 2009. The Radziwiłł family owned a total of 23 palaces, in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Germany, three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Radziwiłł Palace (Vilnius Historic Centre), Mir Castle Complex, and Nesvizh Castle (Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh). In image is the last one, Nesvizh Castle.

The estate came into possession of the Radziwiłł family in 1533 (after the extinction of the Kiszka szlachta family), and in 1551 was moved here the Lithuanian Archive. Thirty years later Mikołaj Krzysztof "Sierotka" Radziwiłł, the Marshal of Lithuania, voivode of Trakai and Vilnius and castellan of Šiauliai, began the building of an imposing square three-storey chateau, in a renaissance-baroque style, with four octagonal towers in corners. During the Great Northern War (1700-1721), the Swedes destroyed the fortifications of the castle, but several decades later the chateau was substantially renovated and enlarged.

In 1770 the Radziwill family was expelled by the Russians, the Lithuanian Archive was transferred to Saint Petersburg, and the works of art gathered in chateau were distributed among Russian nobles. After that it was abandoned for more than a century, between 1881 and 1886 the interiors were renovated by Prince Anton Radizwill and his French wife, Marie de Castellane. They also designed a landscape park in English style, one of the biggest in Europe. In 1939, the Radziwiłł family was expelled again by the Russians, and the chateau became a sanatorium. Only in 1994 it was designated a national historical and cultural reserve.

Located in the eastern part of the town of Nesvizh and connected with the castle by a dam over a ditch, is the most important structure of the complex, the Corpus Christi Church. Designed by the Italian architect Gian Maria Bernardoni, it is considered the first Jesuit temple patterned after Il Gesù in Rome, the first domed basilica with Baroque facade in the world and the first baroque piece of architecture in Eastern Europe. The church also contain the coffins of 72 members of the Radziwill family, each interred in a simple coffin made of birch and marked with Trąby Coat of Arms.

The stamps are part of the Wild Animals series, about which I wrote here.

References
Nesvizh Castle - Wikipedia
House of Radziwiłł - Wikipedia


sender: Alexander (postcrossing)
sent from Minsk (Belarus), on 04.08.2012

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