Krimulda Castle Ruins

Sigulda, Latvia

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:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: ca. 1255
Category: Ruins in Latvia
Historical period: State of the Teutonic Order (Latvia)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Юлия Попова (3 years ago)
Руины замка Кримулда. Там совсем развал, одна арочка и никуда камней. Но парк вокруг живописный, особенно вокруг поместья, в котором реабилитационный центр и хостел. Рядом Канатка в центр Сигулды
Lelde Vaza (4 years ago)
Love this place
Helmuts Vindbergs (4 years ago)
Just a simple ruin.
Roberto de Fano (4 years ago)
All the Gauja natural reserve is beautiful. If you are planning a trip to Latvia don't miss this place.
Doron Shalom (4 years ago)
טירה בלב שמורה. ניתן להגיע ברכבל. יפה מאוד. ליד יש בית קפה מקסים עם מרק עגבניות טעים!!!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".