Sigulda New Castle

Sigulda, Latvia

The Sigulda manor center began to develop in the fore-castle area of Sigulda Medieval Castle during the 17th century. There are still a few remaining 18th and 19th century buildings built during the ownership of the Von Borghs and Kropotkins. These are the Summer Castle, the New Castle, the White Castle, the vagar's (supervisor of serfs) house, the servants' house, a barn, a laundry house and a vegetable and fruit basement. The manor center is enclosed by chipped boulder walls with a splendid gate structure.

The New Castle was built during the time of Duchess Olga and Duke Dimitry Kropotkins from 1878 until 1881 using the materials from an older building which stood here during the 17th century.

The master’s house was built in neo-gothic style by Jānis Mengelis from Cēsis. The planning and the shape of the house is simple. The architectural and artistic value of the castle is achieved through the successful use of Gothic forms and the color shades from the recycled chipped boulders. Looking through any window, you will have a panoramic view of the Gauja valley including the ruins of Sigulda castle. Farther away you will see the ruins of Krimulda and Turaida. On the opposite side there is a neatly landscaped yard.

During World War I this building was destroyed. In 1922, following the agrarian reforms, New Castle became the Writers’ Castle because it was used by the Latvian Union of Writers and Journalists. The building was in unusable condition after the war so the Union had to invest a large amount of money for restoration. In the 1920’s and 30’s, full room and board was offered to writers and literary types as well as other visitors.

In 1934 the castle was acquired by the Latvian Press Society. From 1936 to 1937, major reconstruction work was done under the leadership of architect August Birkhans. Building plans were completely re-drawn. The overlook tower was heightened, the terrace around the building was expanded and a new balcony was added to the second floor. Inside, a new modern-age interior design was installed. It became the most notable example of national modern design in the Baltic region. Many famous artists of that time such as Niklāvs Strunke, Pēteris Ozoliņš, Kārlis Sūniņš, and Vilhelms Vasariņš took a part in creating it. Pictures of the castle were found in French art magazines as the press at the time would report. The Writers Castle became a popular visitor's destination after the renovation.

In 1938, the monument of Atis Kronvalds, made by Teodors Zalkalns, was unveiled at the front of the New Castle. Atis Kronvalds was a teacher and a publicist and helped initiate the second wave of the New Latvian movement.

During World War II, the New Castle was used as a headquarters for the Nord division of the German army. After the war, the USSR Council of Ministers made it a recreation house for high state officials. In 1953, the Health department of the Latvian SSR established the Sigulda rehabilitation center which was in operation until the restoration of Latvian independence.

From 1993 through 2002, the New Castle held the Sigulda City council and then, beginning in 2003, the Sigulda District Council.

Next to the New Castle there is a yellow house known as the Summer Castle. It was built at the turn of the 18th or 19th century in style of classicism. The elongated wooden house was built by a master-builder from Cēsis, a man called the last of the Livs of Vidzeme, Mārcis Sārums. Initially Kropotkin's family used the building as a personal orthodox church after the completion of the New Castle in 1881. Services were held by the orthodox priest of Ledurga parish. The building also came under reconstruction when the Writers and Journalists Union obtained ownership and remodeled it to become a boarding-house.

An art gallery was installed in the former brewery of Sigulda manor. Artist Elmārs Gaigalnieks has, over the past 12 years, created the unique technique of sand art which is in continuous development. In this special atmosphere, you can view the sand art and the three dimensional installations. There is also a unique collection of sand samples from five continents.

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

Gaujas iela, Sigulda, Latvia
See all sites in Sigulda

Details

Founded: 1878-1881
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Latvia
Historical period: Part of the Russian Empire (Latvia)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

FreeBird M (5 months ago)
Beautifully presented and wonderfully restored to the point where your imagination can help you refill the remaining missing pieces of puzzles. Entry fee of 2€ is very minimal to enjoy and walk around the old architecture with views as wide and far across the Gauja River.
Jana L (6 months ago)
Beautiful place to take a stroll. There isn't much left from the old castle, mostly ruins consisting in one wall with adjacent rooms. Still interesting if you got an hour or two to spend walking around, nice Grounds, couple souvenir shops.
B Womack (6 months ago)
Admittedly I'm a historical geek so I loved this place. The grounds are immaculate and very well cared for obviously. The views are amazing and seeing another castle from the viewpoint of this castle adds to the feeling. The stairs up to the tower viewpoint are very well constructed. Walking though the castle maim gate is like time traveling for me. Adding a ton of photos for all to enjoy. Suggest you take the morning train to Cesis and see the castle their then for less than 2euros take the bus down to Sigulda for the afternoon. You can then jump on one of the hourly trains back to Riga when you are spent for the day.
Garrett Fagnou (6 months ago)
Great historical landmark to visit. The castle was built in 1207 by the Livonian Order. It now has been partially restored and is definitely worth a walk around. There is also a tower were you can go up and get a view of the surrounding area and the 2nd castle across the river.
Fionn Stafford (7 months ago)
Excellent experience, free entry to the old castle and €4-6 per adult for entry into the new castle. Polite and friendly staff, various workshops to browse and buy souvenirs. Educational leaflets to read, art installations, interactive audio visuals and art nouveau decor to admire inside the new castle.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls

The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum (Lyon). The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône.

Excavations have revealed a basement of three elliptical walls linked by cross-walls and a channel surrounding the oval central arena. The arena was slightly sloped, with the building"s south part supported by a now-vanished vault. The arena"s dimensions are 67,6m by 42m. This phase of the amphitheatre housed games which accompanied the imperial cult, with its low capacity (1,800 seats) being enough for delegations from the 60 Gallic tribes.

The amphitheatre was expanded at the start of the 2nd century. Two galleries were added around the old amphitheatre, raising its width from 25 metres to 105 metres and its capacity to about 20,000 seats. In so doing it made it a building open to the whole population of Lugdunum and its environs.