Kreva castle
Settlement \ Area
Kreva, Hrodna region
Build time
XIV c.
The distance from Minsk
up to 150 km

Kreva Castle is considered to be one of the most ancient castles, that was built in the 14th century. The Kreva castle is thought out to be the first strengthened residency of the Great Dutchy of Lithuania that was completely built with stone. The square-shape fortress was constructed on the bank of the rivers Shliakhtianka and Kriavlianka admits swamps. The walls of the castle were almost 3 meters thick and around 13 meters height. There were two towers on the castle that protected another part of the fortress. A huge tower in the north side of the chateau grew for about 25 meters above the ground. There were three terraneous floors and a cellar, that was used like a burg.

The king's wards with rich decorations were disposed on the tower's second floor. One more belfry of a smaller size was in the alternate side of the castle and was around 16 meters height. In the inners of the castle there was an impoundment and different managing and living wooden constructions. Outward the castle was surrounded by a water ditch. The Castle in Kreva is also famous for historical events that took place within its walls. The rival for the king throne Kejstut was imprisoned and murdered here in 1382 by disposal of his nephew, the Grand Duke Jahajla. At the same time son of Kejstut Vitaut succeeded to escape masked as a servant from haunting him slayers. Three years later the famous Union of Kreva was signed here.

This document was the first step to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Union determined was crucial to the history of these countries and the all of Eastern Europe as a whole. During the16th century the Tatars and the Russians tried to capture the castle but it stood unoccupied for a long time. Later Kreva became the scene of fighting during many conflicts. It was damaged and restored several times. By the 19th century, the Kreva castle lost his military importance. Nobody lived there, it was abandoned and began to ruin. During World War I it stood on the front line between Russian and German troops. Castle was heavily bombed by Russian troops. Today you can see only the ruins of the castle. The parts of perimeter walls and the towers can still be seen. The castle has its own legends about secret underground tunnels that led to the capita Vilnia and about a beautiful princess who was bricked up alive in its walls.

Photo: Nastya Quende; Dmitry Gazin