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

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