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Kaplica, the royal bath, and the official's chambers. Three new interior halls were opened to visitors in the Old Castle

The interiors of the halls are as close as possible to what they were in the Old Castle in the 16th century.

 Over the past few years one of the oldest residences of the kings, the Old Castle in Grodno, has been transformed beyond recognition. Historians, archaeologists, restorers and builders have done a huge amount of work, as it is a complex, filigree and very responsible process to revive the castle of the XVI century.

The project in three stages


A large-scale project to restore the royal residence began in 2017. The first phase included the construction of the entrance and middle towers on the side of the Neman, restoration of the fortress wall with a gallery between the towers, construction of the adjoining wall of the measuring room, stonework, and the laying of the necessary utilities. At the entrance battlement they erected a new octagonal dome. On the same dome and on the middle tower the weathervane appeared.

 In September 2021 the interior rooms, where the museum exhibition is located, as well as a boutique selling souvenirs, were opened to the public. The museum exposition, which was created by employees of the Historical and Archaeological Museum, was opened in November of the same year. It reflects the history of development of the Zamkovaya Mount and the life of the ancient city of XI-XIV centuries. On the third floor of the chapel there is an exhibition about King Stefan Batory, his life story and the period of his reign. Next to the chapel, in the annex to the entrance fence, there is an exhibition about Grodno during the reign of the king.   



And now another important stage in the life of the grandiose object has been reached with the opening of three new exhibition halls, which recreated the chapel, the royal bath, and the official's chambers. Their interiors resemble those of the Old Castle in the 16th century.

 Among the first people to have visited the restored premises were YuryKarayev, Assistant to the President - Inspector for Grodno Region; Elena Pasyuta, Chairman of the Regional Council of Deputies; YuryValiaty, First Deputy Chairman of the Regional Executive Committee; Viktor Pranyuk, Deputy Chairman of the Regional Executive Committee; Sergey Sorokach, Deputy Minister of Culture of Belarus; Elena Klimovich, Head of the Chief Administration of Culture of the Regional Executive Committee; Lilia Novitskaya, Chief Editor of the GrodzenskayaPrauda newspaper; and other guests of honour.





Following the traces of history

Climbing stone stairs, we get to the apartments of Reinhold Heidenstein, the royal secretary. The first thing that catches your eye in the exhibit hall is the wooden floor and ceiling, decorated with floral patterns.

 Of particular interest is the stove. The director of the Grodno State Historical and Archaeological Museum YuryKiturko suggests we take a closer look at the tiles. After all, famous portraits were used as a subject for them at that time. For example, on the tiles you can see pictures of Protestantism founder Martin Luther, Belarusian enlighteners MikolaGusovski and Vasil Tyapinski.

 There is a minimal set of necessary furniture: a desk, chairs, a tall chest of drawers and a bed. In that era it was customary to cover it with expensive tapestry fabrics, precious Persian or Turkish kilims. In winter the inhabitants of the castle were usually covered with blankets sewn from the fur of a bear or deer. Here on the mannequin you can see the clothes, which in the 16th century might have been worn by the royal secretary.






In the royal bath, consisting of the anteroom, furnace room and the bath itself, the centerpiece is of course the furnace with a copper cauldron embedded in it.

 The principle peculiarity of the royal bath in the Old Castle is that the copper water heater and the copper boiler were heated from the furnace room side. In European baths, such boilers were filled with water through pipes specially built into the furnace.

 In the room of the baths are presented huge bathing bales, which are lined with thick linen cloth for comfort, as well as aromatic brooms, jugs and other bath utensils.



The walls are finished with decorative wooden panels, which used to help keep the heat in. The panels depict bouquets of acanthus leaves, symbolizing life and growth. The wooden coffered ceiling, which is a cellular structural system, will not go unnoticed. Each cell is a coffered plafond, which is decorated with a cornice, filigree and carved elements in the form of a flower.


There is no doubt that visitors will be particularly delighted by the design of the chapel. Its windows are decorated with bright stained-glass windows. Above them in semicircular niches there are twenty paintings that tell about the life of St. Stephen. On the upper slope of the right window of the chapel there is a fresco painting with vegetative ornament, which survived from the XVI century. As in the previous halls, a unique stove is a separate decoration of this one.







The majority of the works in the halls were carried out by the employees of JSC "Belrestavratsiya".

 About 10 million rubles were spent the interior.


According to deputy chairman of the regional executive committee Viktor Pranyuk, the Old Castle is a unique example of preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of Belarus. In order to return the historical jewel of the Prineman region to the appearance of the times of Stefan Bathory, the Ministry of Culture took a serious approach to the study of historical reference, available materials, and prepared a project proposal. UE "Institute "Grodnograzhdanproekt" uses modern technology in order to continue the design.

 - Today we preserve the historical heritage, restore castles from the ruins. It is a painstaking and not quick work. The opened interior halls are just a small part of what has been done and what is planned to be done, - said Viktor Pranyuk. He stressed that the financing of works in the castle is part of the state and regional investment programs. In 2022 about 10 million rubles were allocated for arrangement of the interior halls. - It certainly bears fruit. We can see what a huge interest to the castle among visitors. If for two months of 2021 the object was visited by more than 12,2 thousand people, then for the same period of 2022 - more than 141,6 thousand people.


 Thanks to the support of the state many historical and cultural heritage sites are revived, restored and opened for visitors in our country today, said Sergei Sorokach, Deputy Minister of Culture.

 - Nesvizh, Mir, Lida, Novogrudok and Golsha castles are all open and welcoming visitors. One of the unique objects is, of course, the Old Castle in Grodno. To date, more than 34 million rubles have been invested in restoration work on the first phase of the castle said Sergei Sorokach, noting that the opening of new exhibition halls will enhance the tourist potential of Grodno and the Republic of Belarus as a whole.


As for the alabaster hall, then, according to Yuri Kiturko, Director of Grodno State Historical and Archaeological Museum, it still remains in the work. The opening is scheduled for spring this year and will be the final stage of the first phase of the reconstruction of the castle.

 Then work will begin on the second phase - the restoration of the royal palace and outbuilding nearby. The third phase involves the erection of a corner tower, outbuildings and conservation of the Lower Church.
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