We report on the optical and mechanical properties of Si3N4 inclusions, formed in the upper part of mc-Si blocks during the crystallization process. Those inclusions usually appear as crystalline hexagonal tubes or rods. Here we show that in many cases the Si3N4 inclusions contain crystalline Si in their core. The presence of the Si phase in the centre was proven by means of cathodoluminescence spectroscopy and imaging, electron beam induced current measurements and Raman spectroscopy. The crystalline Si3N4 phase was identified as β-Si3N4. Residual stress was revealed at the particles. While the stress is compressive in the Si material surrounding the Si3N4 particles tensile stress is found in the Si core. We assume that the stress is formed during cool down of the Si block and is a consequence of the larger thermal expansion coefficient of Si in comparison to that of β-Si3N4. Iron assisted nitridation of Si at temperatures below 1400 °C is considered a possible mechanism of Si3N4 formation.