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:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.