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Lidа castle

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Type: Locks, fortresses, strengthenings Style: Gothic style Date of Foundation: 1323 - 1325 yy Status: The international value Republic of Belarus, Grodno region, Lida, Pobedy str.

Gediminas Castle is a monument of defensive art of the XIV-XV centuries. It was built in Lida that is the largest industrial city of Grodno region that was established on the bank of the river Lideya, on the border of Lithuania and the Slavic lands in the XIV century. The fortress was built here when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was just forming and it became the first stone castle on the territory of the country.

In the XIV century the Crusaders intensified their raids into Eastern Europe. Trying to protect the lands from intruders, the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania began building fortified castles along the borders of their possessions. In 1323 Duke Gediminas gave the order to build a stone fortress in Lida that would have stopped the Crusaders from going deep into the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It took several years to build Lidsky Castle - a defensive outpost of Prinemanskiy region, that became a part of the line of the fortifications Novogrudok-Kreva-Medniki-Troki.

The architects tried to take into consideration the peculiarities of the terrain constructing the castle. And they managed to build a defensive fortress in Lida that was also meant for permanent residence of the lord. Later the Orthodox Church as well as residential and other outbuildings were constructed in the castle.

In 1325 Gediminas Castle was erected on an artificial sand hill with the height about 5-6 m that was surrounded by the swampy rivers Lidea and Kamenka. The defensive fortress, following the medieval tradition, was built in the shape of a rectangle, but instead of wood it was made of rubble stone and brick. It had two corner towers. The thickness of the walls, with the length up to 80 m, at the base was about 2 m, and on top was about 1.5 m. On the north side of the castle was a ditch about 20 m wide, protecting the fortress from uninvited guests, and on the east side an artificial lake soon appeared. On the south wall of the castle there were made loopholes designed for archery and bow shooting, and later for handguns.

Gediminas Castle was constantly guarded by a small garrison. That is why not only residents of the city, but also of the neighboring villages hid inside the castle.

When Gediminas died, Lida became the capital of Duke Olgerd”s inheritance, and then it belonged to his son Jagiello. The dukes started internecine wars for the throne, and the Crusaders took advantage of the moment. In 1384 the castle was seized after a long siege and storming. During the XIV-XVIII centuries the fortress saved the local population from attacks of enemies. But in 1891 there was a fire in Lida. It destroyed the entire city center. Local authorities began to dismantle the fortress and sell its parts to get money for Lida restoration. They took sand from the slopes of Castle Hill. At that time the south-west tower was completely destroyed and the part of the western wall was demolished. In the 1920s the first attempts to restore the Gediminas Castle were made. In 1953 Lidsky castle was added to the list of monuments protected by the state.

Today the castle is opened to tourists all year round. In summer there are traditional theatrical performances, and knights tournaments. Since 2005 an International Festival of Medieval Culture «Gediminas Castle» has been regularly carried out in the castle.

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Address Republic of Belarus, Grodno region, Lida, Pobedy str. GPS Google: 53.887175′ N, 25.302782′ E