Bīriņi Palace was built by Riga architect Friedrich Wilhelm Hess between 1857 and 1860 for Baltic-German baron August von Pistohlkors. It has two floors with higher three floor risalit in the centre. All four corners of the building are adorned with towers - three of these towers are small, decorative but southwestern tower is larger. The palace is asymmetric as this was required by the rules of Neo-Gothic. It is surrounded by large landscape park. In the park there is the tomb of the von Pistohlkors family, although they were vandalised during the soviet period.
The interiors of the castle is done in Neo-Renaissance style with a wide entrance hall, balcony and double oak staircase featuring wood engravings. The dining hall has a molded wood ceiling and opens onto a terrace that descends to the lake. There is a richly decorated hall on the second floor of the palace with original light tile stoves.
Palace was rebuilt in the beginning of 20th century after the project of architect Rudolf Heinrich Zirkwitz. During these works facade was simplified, made less ornate. After the rebuilding in 1926 the palace was turned into health resort for employees of printing industry. Since this time up to 1995 there were various health resorts in the palace.
During the Soviet period the interior of the palace was adorned with paintings glorifying Soviet ideology. In 1994, the palace was rented and now it is a private property. Palace, buildings and landscape around it have been reconstructed since 1995, there being also a hotel in the palace.
Today the castle provides scenic parks, lakes, a manor house hotel, restaurant, rooms for weddings and seminars and a variety of activities among horse riding, cycling and boating.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.