Lihula Castle Ruins

Läänemaa, Estonia

In 1211 Riga's archbishop Albert inaugurated Theodorich as the bishop of Estonia. The centre of the bishopric was to be in Lihula. The Construction of the Bishop's Castle began after the conquest of Estonia, namely in 1238 and it was finished in 1242. The bishop shared the castle with the Order. Their relationship became however quite tense and the bishop soon began to look for a more peaceful location. In 1251 the bishop moved to Old-Pärnu and in 1279 to Haapsalu.

The main castle was located on an oval-shaped hilltop, surrounded by a wall, which was at the same time an outer side of the buildings. The north and west sides of the hill were steep, the south and east sides shelving. For that reason the castle was protected from the south and east with two outworks separated by dry moats and stone walls.

During the Livonian War (1558-83) the castle repeatedly changed hands and it was greatly damaged. It was last besieged in 1581. After the war it was decided that the castle would not be restored and in 1643 the Queen of Sweden gave the permission to demolish it.

In 1990-1996 archaeological excavations were carried out on the east side of the main castle, where the walls of the pre-defence system of the main gate were uncovered. Research has shown that the Bishop's Castle of Lihula is one of the most unique defence buildings from the 13th century in the Baltic.

Reference: Lihula Museum

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.

On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.