The Krimulda Castle dates from the 14th century and was destroyed in a war in 1601. During the 13th century the left bank of the Gauja river was governed by the Order of the Brethren of the Sword, (later known as the Order of Livonia), while the territories on the right bank were under the domain of the Archbishop of Riga. Krimulda castle belonged to the Riga High Council which was a group of twelve high priests who advised the archbishop.
Krimulda castle was built on the edge of a high bank on the right side of Gauja near the Vikmeste castle mound and the village of Livs. This placement made it nearly impossible to conquer. On one side it was protected by the steep valley wall of Gauja river, two additional sides were obstructed by the Vikmeste river, which had equally steep banks, and the fourth side bordered on a man-made ravine with a draw-bridge leading into the forecastle. The deep valley of the Vikmeste River also provided a natural borderline between the lands of Krimulda and Turaida. The castle was built using large-sized boulders. The outer wall of the castle at ground level was about 2 meters thick.
The castle was involved in a number of battles between the Livonian Order and the Archbishop of Riga as well as many of the later wars of Livonia. In the spring of 1601 during the Swedish-Polish war, it was conquered by the Swedish army. In the fall of that same year advancing Polish troops burned the castle down so it would not fall into the hands of the enemy. The castle was left unrepaired after the fire.
The castle regained purpose in the mid-19th century under the ownership of Prince Liven. Not as a military fortification but as a romantic addition to a park. From here you will find a beautiful overlook point, named 'Bellevue', where you can enjoy the numerous picturesque bends of the Gauja River.
Prince Liven’s living house was built in the classic style. The manor complex consists of steward’s house, coach house, Swiss cottage, etc. Home wine tasting is available by prior arrangement.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.