The Livonian Order erected Grobiņa Castle in 1253 to protect the roads from Livonia to Prussia. It was a square type building and was a three storey high living block in the southern aisle. It also had a gate tower in the middle of the western wall. The castle was built of bricks and crude stone. Once it had arched ceilings. It was a residence for the local viceroy of the Livonian Order from 1399 to 1590. As support base in south Courland it was many times rebuilt and fortified.
In the times of the Duchy of Courland, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt many times. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century sand walls were erected around the castle. They had a bastion in each of the four corners and a stockade. Later the castle was used as a residence for local German landlords. The castle was destroyed in the eighteenth century. Many famous people have visited the castle, for example: Duke Jacob Kettler of Courland, The King of Sweden, Carl XII and the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm III.
In the 1970s major conservation jobs were made in the castle, so today the castle ruins are in a quite good condition. Most of the walls are still standing in three story height. Today's castle is a major tourist attraction and also a place for local gatherings and concerts.
The ancient Curonian castle hill (Skābāržu kalns) is located only 100 m from the castle. It is supposed to be the famous Seeburg, which is mentioned in Scandinavian sources already in 9th century.References:
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.