The Raseborg or Raasepori Castle is one the five remaining medieval castles in Finland. It was founded by Bo Jonsson Grip and it is thought that the castle's first phase was completed sometime between 1373 and 1378. The first written data about the castle is from 1378. Its main purpose was to protect Sweden's interests in southern Finland against the Hanseatic city of Tallinn. The castle was originally built on a small island in the north end of a sea bay. The historians think that the castle was built in 3 different stages over time from the 14th to the 16th century.
The ruins of the outer wall of the castle do still exist. According to the historians the outer wall was built to protect the foundations of the castle itself. When the use of the artillery got more common, it was vital to protect the basic walls of the castle. There was also one more protection outside the castle. That was a wooden barrier, which surrounded the castle and it prevented any foreign ships to approach the castle harbour. There still exists some small parts of that barrier. The barriers are today on the mainland, but in the 15th century they were located on a peninsula by the sea. The sea level became lower over time due to postglacial rebound, and it became increasingly difficult to approach the castle by boat. This is one of the main reasons why the castle lost its importance.
Battles were fought between Swedish and Danish forces and even pirates over control of the castle in the Middle Ages. The castle was abandoned in 1553, three years after Helsinki was founded in 1550 and Helsinki became strategically more important. Restoration work began in the 1890s and in these days the castle ruins are open to the public.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.