Tērvete village is famous for the historic hillfort built for the kings of Western Zemgale in the Middle Ages. According to popular legend the Semigallian king Namejs made a ring called the 'namejs' so he could be identified by his family. But his enemies got hold of this information and sought the ring to kill the king (during a war) to have victories. The villagers also created these rings in order to protect the King. And for this reason Namejs is a popular ring for Latvians. In 1287 the Semigallian castle was destroyed by the Livonian Order of knights. In 1335 the wooden castle Hof zum Berg Kalnamuiža was built by the Order of Livonia near to the site of the former Semigallian fortifications, destroyed by the Lithuanian forces in 1445.
A second legend describes the story of the German crusaders slowly moving into Latvian territory in the Middle Ages, taking over tribe after tribe. Namejs, the Semigallian king, was the last to subdue to the crusaders' power. Namejs and his people left their land and went south into Lithuanian territory. Namejs didn't want his people to forget their heritage and their origins and had the namejs ring designed for all of his people so that they could identify each other and have a common bond. Now it is a popular ring amongs Latvians that live outside of Latvia because it shows their love for Latvia and recognition of their heritage.
In 1819 K.F.Watson declared the hillfort on right bank of Tērvete river to be the site of the legendary Tērvete castle described in chronicles from the Middle Ages The hillfort was excavated by August Bielenstein between 1866 and 1892 The expedition of the Latvian Museum of History led by E. Brīvkalne carried out excavations in 1952-53 and 1954–59.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.