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Нясвіж (Belarusian)
Несвиж (Russian)
Flag of Nesvizh
Coat of arms of Nesvizh
Coat of arms
Nesvizh is located in Belarus
Location of Nesvizh, shown within the Minsk Region
Coordinates: 53°13′N 26°40′E / 53.217°N 26.667°E / 53.217; 26.667
Minsk Region
  Nyasvizh District
First mentioned1223
Town rights1586
 • Total14,300
Time zoneUTC+3 (FET)
Area code(s)+375 1770

Nesvizh, Niasviž (Belarusian: Нясві́ж [nʲaˈsʲvʲiʐ]; Russian: Не́свиж; Polish: Nieśwież; Lithuanian: Nesvyžius; Yiddish: ניעסוויז‎; Latin: Nesvisium) is a city in Belarus. It is the administrative center of the Nyasvizh District (rajon) of Minsk Region and location of the Niasviž Castle World Heritage Site. Its 2009 population is 14,300.[1]


Nesvizh was first documented in 1223,[2] later becoming a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, after the Union of Krewo (1385) part of the Polish–Lithuanian Union. In the 15th century, while still a minor town, it passed to the Kiszka family and soon later to the Radziwiłł family, and remained the family's home until 1813.

17th-century view of the town

In 1561 or 1562 a printing house of Polish Brethren was founded by Maciej Kawęczyński.[3] The first Belarusian language book printed in the Latin alphabet, a catechism by Symon Budny, was published in Nesvizh in 1562.[4] The Nieśwież Bible (Biblia nieświeska), one of the oldest Polish translations of the Bible, also by Budny, was created here until 1571, before being published in 1572.

Nesvizh Castle was founded in 1583, and between 1584 and 1598 two monasteries and a collegium, all belonging to different religious orders, were built.[5] On the initiative of Mikołaj "the Orphan" Radziwiłł Nieśwież was granted Magdeburg town rights by King Stephen Báthory in 1586.[6] Two epidemics that occurred in the city in the 17th century led to an establishment of a pharmacy in 1627.

During the Great Northern War of 1700–21, the city was significantly damaged by the Swedish troops. It was rebuilt in the 1720s by Michał "Rybeńko" Radziwiłł. In the aftermath of the war, in 1740s and 1750s he founded a silk belt factory (which was later moved to Sluck), a cadet corps military school, several textile manufacturers and restored the Corpus Christi Church and a printing factory. Michał's wife, Franciszka Urszula Radziwiłłowa, founded the Nesvizh Radziwiłł Theater, which included a choir and a ballet school.

19th-century view of the town

In 1764 and 1768 the city was occupied by Russian troops, and in 1772 the library, which included approximately 10,000 volumes, along with paintings and other objects of art, was transferred to St. Petersburg. Books from the library were granted to the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Nesvizh Castle in interwar Poland

After the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 Nieśwież was annexed by Russia, where it was known as Nesvizh. In 1906, the Polish Society "Oświata" ("Education") in Nesvizh was established,[6] whose activity was hampered by the Russian administration, before it was banned at the turn of 1909 and 1910. In 1912, the Russian authorities also liquidated the Roman Catholic Charity Society in Nesvizh.

After the fall of tsarist Russia, fights broke out for control over the town and region. During the Soviet occupation (Polish–Soviet War), the unsuccessful Nieśwież uprising by Polish residents took place on March 14–19, 1919.[6] However, Nieśwież was still recovered by Poles on April 19, 1919[6] and integrated with the reestablished Polish state, where it was a county (powiat) centre in the Nowogródek Voivodeship until the invasion of Poland in September 1939. During World War II, from 1939 to 1941 it was under Soviet occupation, from 1941 to 1944 under German occupation, and from 1944 to 1945 under Soviet occupation again, before it was taken from Poland in accordance to the Potsdam Agreement to be annexed by the Soviet Union.


Nesvizh was part of:

The Jews of Nesvizh

The Jewish population in 1900 stood at 4,687,[7] and approx. 4,500 on the eve of the German invasion of Operation Barbarossa. With the occupation beginning on June 27, 1941, they established a Judenrat. On October 30, 4,000 of the town's Jews were murdered and the rest confined to a ghetto. On July 20, 1942, the ghetto was surrounded by Belorussian police and the German commander announced that the ghetto's population would be liquidated with the exception of 30 essential skilled workers. The ghetto's underground organization, based on a Soviet-era Zionist group, called for self-defense, having one machine gun but mostly knives and similar arms. Most of the Jews were killed; a few succeeded in escaping to nearby forests to join partisan units, including the Zhukov Jewish partisan unit.[8]

Main sights

Twin towns

Notable residents


  1. ^ "Region information on the official website of the Nesvizh Regional Executive Committee (in Russian)". Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  2. ^ "Region information on the official website of the Nesvizh Regional Executive Committee (in English)". Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  3. ^ Józef Łukaszewicz, Dzieje kościołów wyznania helweckiego w Litwie, t. 2, Poznań 1822, p. 180-181
  4. ^ "Minsk celebrates 440th anniversary of first Belarusian book printed in Cyrillic alphabet". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus. Retrieved 2009-06-16.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Г. П. Пашкоў, ed. (2006). "Нясвіж". Энцыклапедыя "Вялікае княства Літоўскае" (том 2). Мінск: Беларуская Энцыклапедыя. pp. 368–369.
  6. ^ a b c d Maciej Rysiewicz. "Powstanie w Nieświeżu – z cyklu „Droga do niepodległości"". Kurier Ostrowski (in Polish). Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  7. ^ Jewish Gen Town Locator
  8. ^ Shalom Cholawski, Nesvizh in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, vol. 3, pp.1043-1044
  9. ^ "Radviliskis". Radviliskis. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.

External links

Coordinates: 53°13′N 26°40′E / 53.217°N 26.667°E / 53.217; 26.667