I’m a huge fan of the UNESCO organization and the work they do for securing some of the world’s cultural and natural heritage as well as preserving human rights throughout the world. Whenever I travel, I always make it a goal to see as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way as possible. Before coming to Belarus, I’d already visited 59 UNESCO sites all over the world, but I was planning to see at least two more.
So on my second full day in Belarus, I decided to go to one of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the country and my 60th UNESCO sight; the beautiful Mir Castle Complex.

I had been beering it at the local bar the night before, so I decided to sleep in a bit. I caught the bus from the central bus station in Minsk at 11.50 AM and arrived at the castle at 1.35 PM.

I walked around the tiny Mir town for a while. This charming and colourful town, founded in 1345, was slightly run down, but had two beautiful churches and – of course – the famous castle, which is the only reason why tourists come there. There isn’t much to see in the town itself, but it does have a certain charm to it and I enjoyed my little walk around.

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The Mir Castle Complex is located just outside the tiny village.

The construction of the castle began in the early 16th century, when it was built in Belarusian Gothic style by the Duke Juryj Ivanavič Illinič. Originally, it had five towers surrounding the courtyard of the citadel. Later in the 16th century, it was refitted with two-winged, three-storey residence along two of the inner walls of the castle. These were decorated in Renaissance style with balconies and porches.
By the beginning of the 19th century, the castle had been abandoned for a century, and in the 1812 Battle of Mir, the castle was severely damaged. In the late 19th century, the castle was reuilt by the new owners.
In 1939, it became occupied by the Soviet Union, until German forces invaded and occupied it in 1941 and converted the castle into a ghetto for the local Jewish population, before they were all killed.
In December 2000, the turbulent history of the castle was recognized by the UNESCO organization and the castle was listed as world heritage.
 
I spent over an hour at the beautiful castle compex. I walked around the lake, and took millions of pictures of the castle reflecting in the water. It was such a beautiful sight with all the autumn leaves falling to the ground, covering it in an orange and yellow carpet.
I also walked into the courtyard, but decided not to pay to go in. But I found out that there’s a hotel inside the castle!! How cool it would be to stay there!?

29 km northwest of the Mir Castle stands another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Niasviž Castle, which I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit this time around. It can easily be combined as a day trip though, but I had other plans for the rest of that day.

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When I walked back through the village of Mir on my way to the bus station, I spotted a cat with such long and lush hair! As soon as I called it, SIX DOGS came running instead of the cat, haha! I still got to pet the cat, but I hadn’t imagined ending up in a dog convention too! They were all very cute and friendly though, although the cat jumped up a tree to avoid the barking creatures – she wasn’t having any of it! 😉

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Two hours after arriving in Mir, I caught a bus back to Minsk and then a train to Brest, where my next exciting UNESCO adventure started – but more about that in the next post!

Essential info

How to travel from Minsk to Mir Castle:

  • Busses to Mir from the central bus station in Minsk seem to run pretty frequently. The people at my hostel didn’t know where to search for the timetable though, but go to the bus station and they will be able to help you out! I paid 6 BYN (20 DKK) for a one-way ticket.
  • Getting back to Minsk is a bit tougher. There wasn’t anyone at the bus station in Mir when I got there, but I went to a hotel across the street and they were able to help with the times. Also, there is an information center on the way to the castle (just after the red church), and they were very helpful.
  • I got into the castle grounds for free, but I’m not sure if I was actually supposed to do that, but there was no one around. I does cost a fee to get inside the castle though.

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