Pischalauski Castle: pre-trial detention center in Minsk


Pischalauski Castle: pre-trial detention center in Minsk

Getting there: The castle is best reached by metro. Get off at the Ploshcha Lenina station. The castle is 10-13 minutes' walk from there.

Everyone who has ever strolled along Volodarskogo Street must have noticed a silhouette of a castle rising in the distance.

It is almost impossible to take a closer look at it since the castle is located on the territory of a present-day prison.

The CTV channel crew and a Sovetskaya Belorussiya reporter chanced to visit the pre-trial detention center and learn some secrets of renowned Pischalauski Castle.

Until a few years ago, prisoners were kept here. Being in disrepair, the building was closed down temporarily. The castle has never been restored during its long history.

Pischalauski Castle is one of the few historical buildings surviving in Minsk.

A small plaque on the office building of the pre-trial detention center reads that the castle belonged to a Pishchala.

The building was designed by Kazimir Khrshchonovich in 1825, while landlord Rudolf Pishchala, after whom the castle is named, is only distantly related to it: he worked as a contractor.

Yet Pishchala was a famous person at that time. He was awarded the Order of Saint Anna (2nd class) and the Order of Saint Vladimir (3rd class). He also owned the Gorodische estate, which was situated within the present-day district of Borovlyany.

The castle was nicknamed the Belarusian Bastille. In fact, Pischalauski Castle and the famous French stronghold have some common architectural features.

The rectangular castle has four massive towers jutting out and rising above the main part of the building. They resemble the Bastille towers. It is no coincidence that the castle has traces of medieval architecture.

At the beginning of the 19th century classicism, which is a pretty boring architectural style, became popular in the Russian Empire.

At the same time, romanticism, which main idea was to revive medieval art, prevailed in Western Europe. The merging of these architectural styles influenced the appearance of such a unique building in Minsk.


Throughout its long history many people served their sentence in the castle. Some notable authors and public figures were imprisoned here, for example, poets Karus Kaganets and Ales Garun and Vintsent Dunin-Martsinkyevich, the famous playwright. This is a place where the famous Russian revolutionary Pulikhov was executed.

Viktor Korbut, journalist, author of the book “Minsk: the best view of the city”:
For instance, Yakub Kolas was in prison for holding a teachers’ conference to talk over educational reforms aimed to make children’s studying easier. Yet the authorities regarded it as an anti-state meeting.

One of the castle’s towers collapsed in 2008. Today it needs a large-scale reconstruction.

The ancient building has lately attracted attention of Belarusian and foreign investors. Let us hope that a museum or a hotel will be established here in the near future.

Sights nearby:

- Shopping mall Stolitsa
- Red Roman Catholic church
- Minsk Railway station
- Nezavisimosti Avenue: the artery of Minsk
- The House of Government

Read more: Transport in Minsk