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Mysterious castles in Krevo and Golshany: in real life and virtual reality

Mysterious castles in Krevo and Golshany: in real life and virtual reality
28 Aug 2017

Ancient, mysterious, romantic and, unfortunately, half-ruined... In Belarus, a country of castles and palaces, there are many places where the history stands still: the ruins of the castles seem to have frozen as if waiting for a new golden age. Among them are the architectural gems in the northern part of Grodno Oblast – Krevo and Golshany castles. They are located close to each other, and the legend has it that they were once connected by a secret underground tunnel.

Krevo Castle, one of the oldest stone castles in Belarus, witnessed truly epochal events. In 1382, Grand Duke Keistut was strangled in its vaults on the orders of Jahajla, and the future Grand Duke Vitaut barely survived by escaping in a woman’s dress. In 1385, the castle witnessed the signing of the legendary Krevo Union which heralded the start of the unification of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland and the birth of the Jagiellonian dynasty in 1526. Over the centuries, the castle was many times attacked by rebel dukes, Moscow armies, Crimean Tatars, but the most tragic period was the First World War. The castle did not survive its last battle which took place 100 years ago, on 21 July 1917.

Soaked in legends, described in many literary works, Golshany Castle was built later, in the first half of the 17th century for Deputy Chancellor Pavel Stefan Sapieha. Today this once majestic, beautiful red-brick residence is nothing else but half-ruined walls and intricate patterns of arches steeped in mysterious legends about White Panna and Black Monk... However, it is still impressive and attractive for lovers of romance and antiquity.

The castles in Krevo and Golshany have been included into the national historical heritage program. Some rehabilitation work has been undertaken. But this has not been enough to turn them into tourist and cultural centers. The castles burst with life only in the days of medieval festivals (Krevo Castle and Golshany Castle) when the knights fight at castle walls, ladies walk in gorgeous attire, and musicians play ancient music, like many centuries ago.

Belarus’ National History Museum has recently presented the project designed to revive the former glory of the castles, to attract tourists and investors. The museum has also designed the 3D virtual tours of Krevo and Golshany castles to show them in their heyday – the 16th-17th centuries. Detailed digital reconstruction was created on the basis of the historical data, consultations with archaeologists, scholars: Krevo Castle is presented primarily as a defensive fortress and Golshany Castle as a secular princely residence.

The ruins of Krevo Castle
Krevo Castle
Krevo Castle
Krevo Castle
Krevo Castle
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