Case Study


Event-related and cultural revitalization of Insterburg Castle in Chernyakhovsk.

What happened?

The Insterburg castle in Chernyakhovsk was built in the 14th century and now it is an object of cultural heritage of federal significance. The project is aimed at restoring the castle, filling it with life, cultural events and objects, educational programs, developing creative teams, increasing the tourist attractiveness of the city as a whole. One of the oldest activist, non-profit cultural projects in the region with more than 20 years of experience. As part of its implementation, the following activities were organized: a research of historical laboratory, a center for applied cultural studies, a center for international youth cooperation, a museum exposition and gallery, craft workshops, etc. Many regional and international projects, including regular scientific and practical conferences and seminars, are being implemented on the basis of the Castle House, including “Museum Picnic”, “Insterfest” Festival of Contemporary Art, “Facets of Millennium” Theater Festival, “InsterGod” project, etc.

  • Who can help?
  • Cultural organisations, e.g. art and music schools, creative groups, libraries.
  • NGOs and informal associations of cultural activists.
  • Administrative units – city and state units. Charity founders, foundations.


The castle, as a monument of history and culture of the 14th century, needed and still needs revival – not only as a physical object but as a living organism. The project aims to develop cultural programs and to adapt the castle for creating a museum and organising events (also to ensure its accessibility for all categories of the population).

Not only the castle itself needs restoration but also the surrounding territory needs improvements. Revitalization of the historic castle should increase the tourist attractiveness of the object and the city, creating its positive image.

At the same time organizers wish to educate about history and environment, integrate local community and promote cooperation.

How? (tools & methods)

  • Project is strongly based on participation methods such as dialogue, exchange of experience, crowdsourcing, forums but also consultations with experts. Organizers engaged volunteers for clean-up actions, events organization, etc. Volunteering, especially participation in the revival of the castle , compensates for the lack of funds, fills the place with life, brings new participants, attracts attention
  • Organizers give students an opportunity to take part in historical field-trips and summer schools. For all of the local community members there are creative activities being organized such as knight club, festival movement, “hobbies”.
  • Before arranging any cultural event there were several things that needed to be done:
    • garbage cleaning
    • accident-prevention works
    • renovation, decoration of premises
    • cientific research
    • development of conceptual plan and documentation estimate

For whom?

  • Adolescents and youth
  • tourists
  • students
  • experts

What worked out?

Organizers managed to revitalize the castle in a symbolic (event-related and cultural) way by creating a museum exposition, workshops, creative circles and projects, etc. They attracted attention to the city and the castle and increased tourist attractiveness. The project promotes the approach to preserve cultural heritage and community involvement (working with the castle as an example). It stimulates cultural activity in the city and turns many events into annual events. Organizers succeeded in putting the castle into the federal program „Culture of Russia” which allowed the plan to carry out the restoration of the castle. Project „House Castle” formulated and developed a unique system of voluntary work at the facility. It formated an extensive professional network (with the participation of both Russian and foreign experts) involved in the interpretation of cultural and historical landscape Chernyakhovsk.

What should you be aware of?

Property condition is a big challenge for organizing any events (ruins, no heating, etc.). Also lack of funds makes it difficult to conduct any activity in a way organizers wish for.

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