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:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.