The first mention of the Ludza Castle dates from 1433 when the Livonian Order built a large and strong fortress to replace an earlier wooden fortress built by the ancient Latgalians. The Ludza stone castle had three stories, six towers, three gates and two foreparts. It was built as an outpost for the Livonian order, mainly to strengthen the eastern border of Livonia and guard trade routes from Russia.
In 1481 the Russians invaded Livonia, occupied and devastated the castle. Only the 1525 through improved relations with the Grand Duchy of Moscow, the Livonian Order rebuilt the castle only to see it destroyed again in 1654 by Russian troops under orders from the Russian tsar Aleksey. At the start of the Livonian War in 1558, German troops attacked Krasnij Gorodok and destroyed a number of parishes in Pskov. In the same year Maskavijas troops of Gregory Temkina occupied the castle, but suffering defeat, he was forced to abandon his conquest.
In 1577 Livonia was once again invaded by Russian troops under the guidance of Ivan IV Vasilyevich and the castle was sacked. The following year the Order had Ludza castle with some others in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania mortgaged, and in 1561 asked the castle to be included in the Inflantia. In 1582 the castle returned to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
During the Polish-Swedish War in 1625 the Swedish army occupied the castle, but the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth soon got it back. In the Russian-Polish War in 1654 the Russian Voivoda Lev Saltikovs surrounded Ludza and the castle surrendered. According to a decision of the Polish Sejm in 1667, only the Daugavpils castle was maintained and other defenses, including Ludza castle, was neglected. After that the castle was abandoned and left in ruins.
Nowadays the impressive fragments of the castle walls, including a three-floor high fragment, still remain. The ruins are the main tourist attraction in the Ludza District, and is considered a symbol of the town.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.