Dundaga Castle

Dundaga, Latvia

Dundaga Castle is a medieval castle by the Archbishopric of Riga, who gained control over the lands of Dundaga in 1237. Dundaga Castle was constructed next to a Curonian settlement (Dundagas Kalnadarzs hillfort). The exact time of construction is not known, though it is first mentioned in written sources in 1318. It is assumed that the castle was constructed in the late 13th century, and several times captured by Livonian Order.

In 1434 the castle was sold to the Bishopric of Courland, and sold again in 1559 - to the King of Denmark who in turn granted it to his brother Magnus, Duke of Holstein - future Curonian Bishop.

In the middle of the 17th century it was transformed from a medieval fortress to a representative residence of a country nobleman by Anna Sybil (born Osten-Sacken). The third floor was added in 1785. The family of Osten-Sacken were owners of the castle up to 1920.

Dundaga Castle suffered heavily in a fire in 1872 and its historical interiors were destroyed. It burned again in 1905, and was renovated beginning in 1909 after the design of H. Pfeiffer. As a result the castle was modernised and transformed. Since 1926 the castle has been used as a public building - as a local municipal administration, school, and cultural institution. The castle is the source of numerous legends, tales and ghost stories which, in many cases, are close to real historical events.

The castle is surrounded by water on three sides. The fourth side was defended by a moat in medieval times, today it is on level ground. The castle covers 48 x 69 meters, rectangular, surrounded with high defensive walls. In the inner yard a well has been preserved. The castle has been transformed in numerous renovations and does not have a specific architectural style.

Interesting monuments of art are bas reliefs at both sides of the main entrance in the inner yard - made by A. Voltz in 1909. One represents a warrior monk, the other - a bishop.

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Address

Pils iela 7, Dundaga, Latvia
See all sites in Dundaga

Details

Founded: Late 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Latvia
Historical period: State of the Teutonic Order (Latvia)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Metin Görel (11 months ago)
Interesting castle, but need restoration...
Janis Vinerts (14 months ago)
Nice place with medieval time expression. In Palace are located Tourism information center
Juozas Peciulis (14 months ago)
Visiting possible only in quided groups, sad
Meelis Liivak (14 months ago)
Väga äge koht! Cool place with tons of history! A lot of work to be done to repair the castle. Excellent guiding - ask for two stories about thd castle !
Alise Putniņa (2 years ago)
Located in a beautiful park territory, with an amazing view to a storytelling sight. Kind personnel, neatly renovated rooms and exact amount of softness in the beds. Very best experience of being in this area.
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

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Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

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In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.