Ludza Castle Ruins

Ludza, Latvia

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.

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Address

Baznīcas iela 54, Ludza, Latvia
See all sites in Ludza

Details

Founded: 1433
Category: Ruins in Latvia
Historical period: State of the Teutonic Order (Latvia)

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

Interesting Sites Nearby

User Reviews

Irie Nine (8 months ago)
Absolutely smashing view! As well as childhood memories.
Polten Sepp (9 months ago)
Wonderful place
Mitya LNK (11 months ago)
It is worth a visit if you closeby but 3 stars cause no one takes care / refreshes these old ruines.
Taborlin (12 months ago)
Nice View around the city
Светлана Понарад (15 months ago)
Intresting place,good for summer time
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

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