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:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.