Unknown Belarus: Belarusian wooden castles

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Unknown Belarus: Belarusian wooden castles

Belarus is not only a country of lakes, forests and endless wheat fields, but also a unique historical region that houses a lot of interesting sights on its territory. One of them is the beautiful Belarusian Castles.

Many of you, perhaps, have already gone on tours to Minsk and Belarus itself and heard, and perhaps saw such wonderful examples of the castle architecture of this country as Mir and Nesvizh castles. But no less interesting for travelers are, though few, but completely original and unique wooden castles of Belarus and the entire region of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL).

In the 14-16 centuries. castles with a regular layout appear in Belarus. As this region has always been rich in excellent quality wood, these stately buildings were built from the same material as ordinary peasant houses. Most of the inventory of the 16th century was used as a material for building castles. calls a pine (Cherkassky, Kanevsky, Kievsky, Zhitomirsky, Chernobylsky, Ostersky and other castles). You can see many of them, or at least the preserved parts, having gone on tours to Belarus and now.

An interesting fact is the existence of separate names not only for towers and basht, but also for gorodni. So, in the Vinnitsa castle, according to the inventory of 1552, all 30 towns had such names: Dvoretskaya, Demidovskaya, Pogrebyshevskaya, Tsvitkovskaya, Makhnovskaya, etc.

In some cases it is noted that hewn wood was used. The use of pine as a common material for the construction of castle fortifications is also confirmed by archaeological excavations. More expensive but more durable wood could be used. So, the inventory of the Vinnytsia castle in 1552 notes that it was built of oak 40 years before the date of this document and was still in good condition. Oak was used in the construction of a wooden castle in Vladimir, which existed in the 16th century. on the site of the destroyed fortifications of the 14th century. Remains of oak towns from the late 14th century. identified on the southern slope of the Grodno Old Castle mountain. The quadrangular tower of the Mstislavsky castle was erected from oak, and the church was located there. This tower stood on the castle detinets from the 1260s. until the beginning of the 14th century, then it was burned. An octagonal tower was built in its place, but this time from spruce logs, and again from the same material after the fire of 1359.

Maintaining the wooden fortifications in proper condition required constant care. To prevent fire, wooden fortifications on the outside were often coated with clay. So, 15 new three-layer gorodni (“at the tra stsyany”) were built after 1543 in the Mozyr Upper Castle, which was reflected in the inventory of 1552. In the same year, in the description of the well-fortified Kiev castle, it was noted that its walls were covered with a thick layer of clay. The thickness of the clay coating of the Zhytomyr castle was recognized in 1545 as clearly insufficient: "God give all the clay on the valley floor." According to the inventory of 1552, the Chernobyl and Ostersky castles were not plastered with clay, which was noted as a shortcoming. With regard to the poorly fortified Cherkasy castle, it was generally categorically stated that in order to correct its unenviable state, it would “require, perhaps, being covered with clay everywhere”.

There were cases of better strengthening of log structures. The testing of the improved fortifications was carried out: "shot from the case and not punched."