Castle had important influences on the shtetl of
Mir. The early owners controlled vast acres of land, possessed
great power and made decisions that affected all the town's
castle was built as a fortress at the beginning of the
16th century by the order of prince Yuri Ilyinich. Thick
brick walls with slits, many towers, a rampart, a moat,
and a drawbridge, were all part of the original structure.
The building replaced a wooden
feudal farmstead, which existed there in the15th
Radzivill-Sirotka became the owner of Mir in
1568. From 1569 until 1813, the town of Mir and huge
estates surrounding it were owned by Radziwill
family, who controlled numerous other communities
in Poland/Lithuania/Belarus as well. During that
time, the Radziwills rebuilt the castle in Renaissance
style to create a three-storied palace along the
eastern and northern walls. The halls were decorated
with tile. They had an Italian garden developed to
the north of the castle and created an artificial
lake to the south.
were sieges in 1655, 1706, 1794, and 1812 causing severe
damage. Mir Castle was abandoned for nearly a century.
The castle was restored at the end of the 19th century.
Castle came into the possession of the Sviatopolk-Mirski
family in 1891. Among the last owners were Prince
Michael and then his nephew, Prince Basil Sviatopolk-Mirski.
They owned many of the large businesses in the
town, including (in
1929) the mill, the brickworks, the distillery,
the starch factory, the pitch factory, the sawmill
and the brandy factory. They employed many local people
in the town, on their estates and in the castle.
1942, the last Jews from the town of Mir
were imprisoned in Mir Castle. Several hundred
escaped just a few days before the murder of
the remaining Jews of Mir on August 13th 1942.
castle is currently under ownership of the
In 1994, UNESCO placed the Castle
of Mir in the top category of the world
culture monuments. On November 29, 2000 the UNESCO included
the Castle of Mir in the list of the world's
restored castle houses a museum including
rooms which contain a history of the Jews
For the latest information on the site, visit the UNESCO Mir Castle Complex web page