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The Castle of Lida
|Address:||Lida, Grodno Region|
|Description:||The castle is an all-season tourist attraction: in the summertime the castle hosts knight tournaments, while in the winter the inner yard of the castle, which is 80 metres wide and 80 metres long, is converted into an ice skating rink.|
|Arcitectual style:||Roman , Gothic|
|Age of building / reconstruction:||XIV , XX|
The Castle of Lida — one of the gems of Belarus’ Grodno Region — draws thousands of tourists. The ancient citadel dominates the skyline of the present-day town of Lida.
The castle is an all-season tourist attraction: in the summertime the castle hosts knight tournaments, while in the winter the inner yard of the castle, which is 80 metres wide and 80 metres long, is converted into an ice skating rink.
Built on sand, the Castle of Lida was no sand castle: it survived through the centuries to become the town’s call card. The walls of the castle and the south-west tower dated back to the 1323-1328. The north-west tower, that used to be the king’s bedroom and the guest hall, emerged at the boundary of the 13th and 14th century.
Belarusian scientist estimated that it had taken around 23 thousand cubic metres of stone, some 1.5 million bricks, vast quantities of lime and sand to build the castle. It is stated in the chronicles that they spent 5-7 years building the citadel.
The castle withstood assaults by the knights of the Teutonic Order. The first such assault occurred in 1384. They returned in the winter of 1392 the bog around the castle walls got frozen over so one could safely walk on the ice. The knights would burn down the nearby wooden houses, looted the town and laid siege to the castle.
Tokhtamysh, a descendant of Genghis Khan’s eldest grandson, Orda Khan, used to live in a jurt near the Lida castle. He was the last khan of the White Horde, who unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. In the land of Belarus the exiled khan had been hiding from Tamerlane, against whom he had dared to revolt.
In its time the Castle of Lida was rebuilt and refurbished several times to become one of the most powerful citadels in the Great Duchy of Lithuania.
King Jagiello would stay twice at the castle to sign official documents relating to the process of baptizing Lithuania. In 1422 the castle witnessed a lavish wedding feat in honour of the elderly Jagiello’s wedding with the 16-year-old Sofia of Golshany — the man’s fourth wife.
Since then the castle had seen numerous assaults and sieges. In 1506 squadrons of the Crimean Tartars would step up to the walls of the castle but never endevoured to attack the citadel. In turn, the Russians and the Swedes contributed to turning the castle into a pile of ruins.
The final destruction of the castle occurred in the summer of 1794: the castle ruins saw a battle between the Russian troops and Tadeusz Kościuszko’s rebels.
The wars of the 20th century left the castle ruins intact. On January 22 1940 the Castle of Lida was awarded the status of an archeological monument. In 1953 the place was taken under state protection.
Tours and excursions:
Other objects from the section «Castles and fortresses»