Ventspils Castle

Ventspils, Latvia

Ventspils Castle is one of the oldest and most well-preserved Livonian Order castles remaining, in that it has retained its original layout since the 13th century. Through its 700 year history, it has been used as a fortress, residence, garrison, school, military base, and prison. In 1995, the castle was restored to its 19th-century appearance, and was converted into a museum.

Ventspils castle was built in the second half of the 13th century, and controlled by the Livonian Order until the mid-16th century. The original Order castle was built as a fortress, with a tower, defensive walls, and a large interior courtyard with garrisons and storehouses. At first, the tower had two stories with a weapons storeroom in the attic, but the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors were added over time.

As a part of the Duchy of Courland, the castle was the residence of the city master, but during the Polish-Swedish War it was destroyed. The castle was rebuilt in the 1650s as it appears today, a Convent-type building, with four adjoining apartments surrounding a rectangular interior courtyard. After reconstruction the chapel became a Lutheran church (1706–1835) and later a Russian Orthodox church (1845–1901), but the rest of the castle remained largely unused. In 1832 the 3rd floor was converted into a prison, which closed in 1959. After World War II, the castle was used for various administrative purposes, and occupied by the Soviet Army border patrol until the 1980s.

In 1997, the castle was restored, and in 2001 the permanent exhibition of the Ventspils museum opened in the tower. Today the castle hosts concerts and art exhibitions as well. Visitors can also climb the tower to the 5th floor for a panoramic view of the city.

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Details

Founded: 1290s
Category: Castles and fortifications in Latvia
Historical period: State of the Teutonic Order (Latvia)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Raimonda P (5 years ago)
Interesting castle, very well looked after, looks almost modernised, interesting monument to be at.
Olleg S. (5 years ago)
We had a good family time, plenty to see and learn some history of the castle
Daiva P (5 years ago)
Beautiful castle. Delicious food in cafe.
Oksana Popovski (5 years ago)
Enchanting Castle. They had Medieval Feist when we visited. So much fun! Nice collection of local artifacts.
Silvija Ozola (5 years ago)
It's a fun place if go on working hours
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