The earliest data regarding human settlement at Vallimäe in Rakvere come from the Viking Age, an arrowhead from the 9th century and some broken pieces of pottery from this period have been found on the territory of the castle. There is more information about the last centuries of the prehistoric age when an ancient wooden stronghold surrounded by a fence stood in the place of the present convent building.

First written records about the stronghold called Tarvanpea come from the year 1226. In the middle of the 13th century the Danes started to replace the wooden stronghold with a more modern stone fortress.

After Virumaa and Harjumaa passed into the possession of the Livonian Order in 1347, a grand-scale reconstruction of the castle was carried out in several stages. In the first half of the 16th century a convent-type castle with a rectangular main tower was completed, it had strong flanks, a large front yard and an eastern gate consisting of several parts: the outer gate included a pitfall and a drawbridge and the inner gate had a lowered lattice. Living quarters and outbuildings were located in the front yard, near the circular wall.

During the Livonian war (1558–1583) the castle was attacked and damaged by the Russians, but it ended up under Swedish control. From 1602 to 1605 Rakvere fortress fell under the control of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. When they retreated from Rakvere in 1605 during the war with Sweden, they blew up the castle.

Today Rakvere castle is open to the public. In addition to the museum you can taste knights’ favourite drink, a Malvasia wine, made after the oldest recipe at the wine cellar.

References: Museums of Virumaa, 7is7.com

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1226
Category: Castles and fortifications in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ramunas Kaz (7 months ago)
Very interesting historical place and castle of Estonia.
Ashraf Zaher (10 months ago)
Very interesting place. Takes you fare back to the medieval time. worth to visit.
George On tour (10 months ago)
Throughout the ages, Rakvere Castle has belonged to Danish kings, knight-monks of the Livonian Order and the Swedish and Polish states. The longest period was the age of the Order, when Rakvere Castle was an important link in the defence system of the eastern border of the Teutonic Order. The bailiffs of Rakvere Castle were usually smart and capable young knights for whom the castle was a good springboard to gaining leading positions in the Order. At the end of the prehistoric times, there was an Estonian stronghold called Tarvanpää at the present location of Rakvere Castle.
Jesper Bexkens (12 months ago)
The entrance fee is quite high, which might be worth it if you check out all the "shows". Somehow they couldn't choose to keep the castle as a historic place or turn it into a theme park/playground. Quite a few rooms are only visible at certain times, but then at the given times: no staff members present. Staff seems to be more busy with hanging out, talking on their phones, chasing each other or the chickens and geese on the premises. Some staff members hardly speak any English. This place does have potential but at the moment it does not live up to it.
Rott Puna (12 months ago)
There are adventures for kids and adults. Coming in winter or in summer - always something to do. We liked the puppet theatre and horse and donkey riding. You can visit the Hell, if you have strong nerves. Prices are average.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.