Barbarian Invasion Era

History of Latvia between 400 AD - 799 AD

During the so-called Era of the Barbarian Invasion (400—800 AD) did the Slavs begin to move northwards from the steppes of Southern Russia. This migration began under the pressure of the sub-Black Sea Goths and several Tartar-Turk tribes. The Slavs moved into the woodlands inhabited by some of the extreme Eastern Balt tribes. The total area inhabited by Balts at that time was very wide and covered White Ruthenia, extending deep into Central Russia as far as Tula and Chernigov, to the regions where the rivers Dnieper, Oka, Volga and Daugava have their sources.

Under the pressure of Eastern Slays (the Russians), one Balt tribe, the Latgali, moved down the River Daugava (Western Duna) and joined their kinsfolk in Latvia, gradually pressing the Estonians further north.

Reference: Latvians.com

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Gruyères Castle

The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.

In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.

The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.

A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.