Vastseliina Castle Ruins

Vastseliina, Estonia

The Vastseliina Castle was a castle of the Livonian Order, Bishopric of Dorpat. It was constructed in 1342 by the Landmeister Burkhard von Dreileben as part of the border fortifications of Old Livonia against Novgorod, Pskov and later Moscow. In the Middle Ages, Vastseliina Castle was well known in the Catholic world as a popular destination for pilgrims. They worshipped the holy cross in the castle chapel and a visit to the chapel gave them sanctification for 40 days – it was first validated by Pope Innocentius VI in 1354.

The castle met its end during the Great Northern War when it was demolished by Russian troops (1702). Today the ruins are open to the public.

Reference: Wikipedia, VisitEstonia

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1342
Category: Ruins in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Janis Jukonis (2 years ago)
Interesting walk around old castle walls, towers
Artemi Ollin (2 years ago)
Interesting spot to visit with a mixture of modern architecture and medieval ruins.
Eero Ringmäe (2 years ago)
Impressive ruins, but the museum has a pretty limited exposition, so I recommend just going for the ruins area ticket (3EUR) and avoiding the museum ticket (9EUR). You can spend the 6EUR you saved in the local pub situated in the same building. Watch out with kids - the parking lot is across the road (so kids can run in front of a car) and the ruins area can be a bit tricky to navigate for kids under 6-7 years old - some very steep stairs, some edges to potentially fall off.
Anang Widhi Nirwansyah (3 years ago)
This place is very beautiful and offers marvelous views on the medieval castle and surrounding nature. Pope of Rome gave indulgence to all visitors of the castle chapel where once a miracle tool place. Since that Vastseliina Episcopal Castle is destination of pilgrimage. Nowadays a newly built Pilgrims House with remarkable exposition gives an overview of pilgrimage and offers possibilities to experience of pilgrims life. This building has also great arcchitecture and got annual architecture reward of Estonia in 2018 (TripAdvisor)
Dāvids Brics (3 years ago)
The ruins are beautiful, with nice landscape around and views from towers. Near by there is hiking trails and two small rivers with dozens of turns. Worth time to look at this 14th century castle ruins. There is pretty big parking lot and a museum too.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.