The first masonry castle in Dubingiai was constructed by Vytautas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, in 1412-1413 on an island, now apeninsula, in Lake Asveja in order to secure the capital Vilnius from attacks from Livonia. No accounts concerning the architecture of Vytautas' castle have survived. It was acquired by Jerzy Radziwiłł prior to 1508. He constructed a new palace in the Renaissance style in the first half of the 16th century. After the death of Jerzy, his son Mikolaj 'the Red' inherited the property, causing the town nearby to become an important hub for the Reformation in Lithuania. Barbara Radziwiłł spent five months in the castle after her marriage to Sigismund Augustus in 1547. The palace used to be one of the most luxurious residences in the Duchy, lagging not much behind the Royal Palace. Dubingiai Castle was the main seat of the Biržai-Dubingiai line of the Radziwiłł family until the second half of the 17th century, when it was transferred to Biržai Castle.
During the Polish–Swedish wars, the castle was pillaged by armies loyal to the King of Poland and was confiscated fromBogusław Radziwiłł. It returned to the family in the second half of the 17th century. The neglected castle and church gradually fell into ruins. It was sold to Michał Tyszkiewicz in 1808. Today only the foundations and several cellars of the castle and church remain and are being researched.
The masonry Calvinist Church of the Holy Spirit was built in the Renaissance style near the castle by Janusz Radziwiłłprior to 1620 and was intended to be the mausoleum of the Radziwiłł family. The most prominent members of the family were interred there, including Mikołaj 'the Black' Radziwiłł (1565) and his wife Elżbieta Szydłowiecka (1562), Mikołaj 'the Red' Radziwiłł (1584) and Janusz Radziwiłł (1620). Their remains were discovered during archaeologicalexcavations in 2004 and reburied there in 2009.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.