Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Belarus - Ruins of Navahrudak Castle

Ruins of Navahrudak Castle and jousting game in Novogrudok, Belarus.

Sent by Alenka, a postcrosser from Minks in Belarus.

This is from Wikipedia : Navahrudak, Novgorodok, Nowogrudok or Novogrudok (Belarusian: Навагрудак, [navaˈɣrudak]; Russian: Новогрудок; Polish: Nowogródek, Yiddish: נאַוואַרעדאָק, Navaredok, Naugardukus) is a city in the Hrodna voblast, Belarus.

First mentioned in the Sophian First Chronicle and Fourth Novgorod Chronicle in 1044 in relation to a war of Yaroslav I the Wise against Lithuanian tribes. It was also mentioned in the Hypatian Codex under 1252 as Novogorodok (i.e. "new little town") the town was a major settlement in the remote western lands of the Krivichs that came under the control of the Kievan Rus at the end of the 10th century. Later hypothesis is disputed, as there are earliest archaeological findings from 11th century only.

In the 13th century, the fragile unity of the Rus disintegrated due to nomadic incursions from Asia, which reached a climax with the Mongol Horde's sacking of Kiev (1240), leaving a geopolitical vacuum in the region later to be known under the conventional name Black Ruthenia. The Early East Slavs splintered along preexisting tribal lines into a number of independent and competing principalities.

Mindaugas of Lithuania made use of the plight to annex Navahrudak, which also became part of Kingdom of Lithuania, later Grand Duchy of Lithuania. During the 16th century, Maciej Stryjkowski was the first who, in his chronicle, proposed theory, that Navahrudak became the capital of the 13th century state. This statement is supported by several other scholars, while others dispute this notion, mainly because contemporary chronicles of the 13th century do not give any reference about Navahrudak as capital, even stating that city was transferred to the king of Halych-Volhynia. Vaišvilkas, the son and successor of Mindaugas, took monastic vows in Lavrashev Monastery near Novgorodok and founded an Orthodox convent there.

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