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.References:
Claude Monet lived for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926, in Giverny. With a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived both his flower garden and water garden as true works of art. Walking through his house and gardens, visitors can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionnism and marvel at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration.
In 1890 Monet had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.
Today the Monet's Garden is open to the public.