Apuole Historic Village

Apuolė, Lithuania

Apuolė is a historic village is the oldest Lithuanian settlement mentioned in written sources. Apuolė was an important hill fort of the Curonians, one of the Baltic tribes. Archaeologists dated the wooden fortress to the 1st century AD. The hill fort is situated on the confluence of Luoba and its tributary Brukis rivulet. According to archaeological research, a large village was situated near the hill fort. This would indicate early stages of city development.

Rimbert in his Vita Ansgari described early conflicts between the Curonians and vikings. In 854, Curonians rebelled and refused to pay tribute to Sweden. The rebellious fortress was first attacked by the Danes, who were hoping to make the town pay tribute to Denmark. The locals were victorious and gained much war loot. After learning of Danish failure, King Olof of Sweden organized a large expedition into Curonian lands. Olof first attacked, captured, and burned Grobiņa before besieging Apuolė. According to Rimbert, 15,000 locals defended themselves for eight days but then agreed to surrender: the Curonians paid silver ransom for each man in the fortress, pledged their loyalty to Sweden, and gave 30 hostages to guarantee future payments.

Apuolė was mentioned again only in a 1253 treaty between Bishop of Riga and Livonian Order. The location was described as uncultivated land. The castle was probably destroyed and the villagers moved to safer areas. The settlement was mentioned again in the 17th century. By late 18th century the hill fort attracted attention from historians and archaeologists. The first excavations were carried out by Eduards Volters and Birger Nerman in 1928–1932.

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4603, Apuolė, Lithuania
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Founded: 0 - 100 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Lithuania

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en.wikipedia.org

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The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.

The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.