Embūte Castle ruins are located not far from an ancient castle hill erected by Curonians which was an ancient Curonian settlement and is mentioned in ancient chronicles as a place with strong Curonian resistance to German crusaders.
Embūte Castle was built in the middle of the 13th century as residence for the Bishop of Courland. It came in the hands of the Livonian Order for a short period, but in the end of the 13th century it again belonged to the bishop. The castle was many times rented in the following centuries. In the 16th century the castle became a centre of big manors and residence for local German landlords. The castle was destroyed in the Great Northern War. Some documents from the 18th century tells, that only the castle walls are preserved. In the same century a manor was erected on the old castle walls. It was expanded in the 19th century by demolishing one of the old gate towers.
The last owner of the castle was the widow of Hans von Hahn. The castle burned down in 1920 and the baroness moved to Germany. Local rumours says that the baroness burned the castle to avoid its nationalization by the new Latvian government. During the agrarian reforms in Latvia (1921–1930) all manors and land was nationalized and divided by the Latvian government. After the Second World War, the local Soviet kolkhoz used stones from the castle as building materials.
Today's ruins are surrounded by trees and in quite bad condition. Only fragments of some walls and towers are visible.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.