NESVIZH, 20 July (BelTA) – Visiting the palace and park complex in the town of Nesvizh should be affordable for Belarusians, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko as he visited the site on 20 July.
Belarusian Culture Minister Pavel Latushko told Alexander Lukashenko, the palace and park complex already provides several paid services. In the last three years the number of visitors has increased. While in 2010 the castle welcomed 173,000 people, in 2010 210,000 people, in H1 2012 the castle welcomed about 136,000 people. By the end of the year the Nesvizh Castle is expected to welcome about 300,000 visitors. In 2011 the income from paid services amounted to Br1.5 billion. According to Pavel Latushko, the castle will become fully self-supporting within two or three years. The Minister also remarked that a ticket to visit the palace and park complex will cost Br50,000 while some population categories will be offered a 50% discount.
Alexander Lukashenko said: “Don’t try too hard to earn a lot of money. Do everything step by step. Otherwise, we will scare away our own people forever. The Belarusians should see this. The Belarusians will not pay a lot to come here. Everything should be done accurately and wisely. The director should make decisions as if it were his own castle, one step to the left or to the right may bring losses. Don’t think the government will provide aid or will shoulder on the burden”.
Alexander Lukashenko got familiar with the restored Nesvizh castle. All the restoration work had been completed. The castle has been restored along with a stone building, the arsenal, the southern and eastern galleries, a lean-to, the entrance bridge, underground passages in defense installations, and the moat. The territory outside external defenses has been beautified. The prince chamber has been fully restored along with the chapel, the golden hall, the white ballet hall, the hunting hall, the lesser dining hall, the hetman hall and other premises. Alexander Lukashenko took a tour of these halls and was generally satisfied with what he had seen.
Specialists have completed restoring the indoor premises and their components. As many as 57% of them are original items dating back to the 16th – early 19th centuries. The others are copies and modern replicas. According to the Culture Minister, international experts have spoken positively about the restored interior. The castle park has yet to be restored along with the Japanese park, Marysya’s park and the English park. The Belarusian head of state remarked the parks should be kept in their natural state. “They should be the way they were back in those days,” he said.
Alexander Lukashenko also talked to representatives of the Radziwill family, who had come to see the restored castle. They remarked they liked what had been done in the castle in general. A representative of the family said: “The Radziwills did not want to leave the place but they had to in 1939. But our heart is always here”. In response Alexander Lukashenko said: “Come here. Now you have a place to come to”.
The President of Belarus presented a Slutsk-type belt to the museum. It is the type of belts made at manufactures of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1760-1790. It is embroidered with a silk thread and a gilded silver one. Alexander Lukashenko also left a note in the distinguished visitors’ book: “The rich cultural and historical legacy of Belarus inspires pride in every resident. One of the unique specimens of architecture is the palace and park complex in Nesvizh that has been inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List. Many times it has been restored after wars, fires, and periods of slumber. Thanks to restorers, builders and museum specialists we can now see the Nesvizh Castle in all its beauty. May the brilliant masterpiece of Belarusian architecture remain the embodiment of the cultural wealth of Belarus, a symbol of inexhaustible creative forces and abilities of our nation”.
In turn, Alexander Lukashenko was presented a tapestry with a view of the Nesvizh Castle to remember the palace and park complex by.