Manuscripts under protection

The famous legend of Tristan and Isolde and the quest for the Holy Grail was first translated into Belarusian in the 16th century, with the manuscript still preserved today.
By Victor Andreev

The famous legend of Tristan and Isolde and the quest for the Holy Grail was first translated into Belarusian in the 16th century, with the manuscript still preserved today. It is now part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme, which protects global documentary heritage, alongside several other 16th-17th century works from our lands: the tales of Tsar Gvidon and King Atilla, and the Chronicles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Jemoit. All are united in a single 344-page book — kept at Poznan’s Raczynski Library.

The manuscript joined Nesvizh Castle’s library — in the foreign 19th century collection — passing through several owners. It was known even then as the best preserved prosaic translation of the Western European legend of Tristan into Slavonic language.  Belarusian culture is twice represented in the Memory of the World Programme, as UNESCO has included the Radziwills’ archives — scattered across Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Finland — and Nesvizh Castle’s library.
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