Turaida Castle

Sigulda, Latvia

Turaida Castle is a recently reconstructed medieval castle in Turaida. The castle was originally constructed in the Brick Gothic style in 1214 under Albert, archbishop of Riga, on the site of the destroyed wooden castle of the Livonian leader Caupo of Turaida. Construction and development of the fortifications continued to the 17th century, when the castle started to lose its strategic importance. It was badly damaged by fire in 1776 and not reconstructed, and in the course of time fell into ruin.

Restoration began in the 1970s and a castle wing is now the centrepiece of the Turaida Museum Reserve, which also includes the oldest wooden church in Vidzeme and its surrounding Livonian cemetery, containing for example the the grave of Maija, the Rose of Turaida, a sculpture park celebrating Latvian folksong and the beautifully landscaped castle grounds. The current count of Turaida is Kristaps Peake and it maintains a small garrison.

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Details

Founded: 1214
Category: Castles and fortifications in Latvia
Historical period: State of the Teutonic Order (Latvia)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Elena Krumgold (3 years ago)
Beautiful place. Take your camera with you and have a good shoes for walking in the area.
Angela Duffy (3 years ago)
WOW! Excellent place, we both absolutely loved it. So picturesque, friendly place, it was a Beautiful Day. Well worth the money, nice little cafe serving homemade cakes and pastries. Wish we had longer here just Beautiful x
Tanya Simchuk (3 years ago)
A fun place to go to. The park around it is adorable. However, on Sunday there can be too many visitors. The view from the tower is great. If you want to use the telescope inside the main tower, it's better to have 0.5 euro cents. :)
Lalit Mahapatra (3 years ago)
I loved the serene location of the castle. And the view from the tower was stunning particularly because of the autumn trees all around the place. If you're in Latvia then this is a must visit.
Thomas Ploner (3 years ago)
Stunning castle in a beautiful garden. Lots of well made exhibits (and attractions like bow shooting) in and around it. Definitely worth a visit. You can enjoy a great view of the (reddish stone) castle and the river Gauja from the top of the defense tower. There's a parking place nearby (parking fee) and the castle is easily accessible within minutes.
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Cesis Castle

German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.

In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).

In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.

Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.