Rēzekne Castle served as a base of the local Livonian order landlords until the 16th century and also as the main military support base for battles against Russians and Lithuanians. Archeological excavations reveal that between the 9th and 12th centuries a Latgalian wooden fortress was situated in the place where the castle ruins now stand. It is unknown when the Latgalian fortress was destroyed, however in 1285 the master of the Livonian Order Vilhelms Šurborgs built a stone fortress on the Rositten stone hill. The fortress consisted of a two-story brick and stone castle with a three-storey towers and thick brick walls, functioning as the administrative seat of Rezekne.
The castle was ravaged and rebuilt many times. Between 1577 and 1579, it was occupied by Czar Ivan IV Vasilyevich, and after the war it became part of the Duchy of Livonia. During the Polish-Swedish War in 1601, and again from 1625 to 1626, the Rezekne castle was occupied by the Swedish army, during the Second Northern War. The battle took place in 1656, during which the Rezekne castle was finally destroyed as the Swedish troops managed to defeat the much larger Russian forces. In 1660 it was reinstated, but the castle had lost its former military importance. From 1712 it was left in ruins. Today, fragments of the stone walls and the foundation can be seen on the ancient castle hill.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.