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 (7 months ago)
Interesting walk around old castle walls, towers
Artemi Ollin (7 months ago)
Interesting spot to visit with a mixture of modern architecture and medieval ruins.
Eero Ringmäe (8 months 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 (2 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 (2 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

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.