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:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.