The Livonian Order's stone castle is the oldest building in Dobele, and a national architectural monument. It was built on the site of an ancient Semigallian timber fortress from 1335 to 1339. A church was built and a park was laid out later.
This land hosted a settlement of Dobele's most ancient inhabitants – the Semigallians as early as 1000 years B.C. Surrounded by the ancient town, there stood a timber fortress, one of the administrative centres of ancient Semigallians. The castle has been mentioned several times in the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle telling about the 13th century battles between the locals and the German crusader knights. Between 1279 and 1289, Dobele castle withstood six enemy attacks. In 1289, the Semigallians burnt down their fortress and left, undefeated, for Rakte in Lithuania.
Until 1562, the castle was headquarters for the chief of the garrison and also the Komtur, commander of the district. During the period of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, several commanders were in charge of the castle, the last one being Christoph Georg von Ofenberg. After 1729, the castle built by the Order was abandoned and gradually fell in ruins. Works for the conservation of the ruins started were launched in 2002.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.