Latvia’s Wonders: Explore the Castle of the Livonian Order in Sigulda

Latvia’s Wonders: Explore the Castle of the Livonian Order in Sigulda
10 July 2024

Located in the beautiful Gauja valley, the Castle of the Livonian Order in Sigulda never fails to impress. It was last weekend that I decided to pay it a visit. Although mainly consisting of ruins, the castle is simply breathtaking. Here’s why you should consider this must-see attraction.

 

What was the Livonian Order?

To ensure a full experience of the castle, learning more about its founding fathers is essential. It was during the 13th century that the Livonian Order was established. Most poignant is its birth as a result of the crusades at the time. Certainly, it was the Livonians in ancient times that inspired the order’s name. Back then, the order was known as a military and religious organization. It also ruled the majority of Livonia’s territory by means of brothers-knights.

History of the Medieval Castle

It was the Livonian Brothers of the Sword that built the Castle of the Livonian Order between 1207 and 1209. From the beginning, it had great strategic and military significance. Historians believe that it was initially used to overlook the Gauja River. The property had several owners being both under Swedish and Polish ownership. Through time, the castle suffered numerous damages resulting from the Polish-Swedish war. It was later that the castle underwent two restorations: in the 17th and 19th centuries.

Inside the Castle of the Livonian Order

Once you pass the old gates of the Castle of the Livonian Order, you will be taken aback. It is the striking ruins that are able to transport you back through time. On your left, you will find narrow staircases leading to the castle’s less-known rooms. From weapon storage to machicolations, each room has its history. Going up and down the stairs, I was able to witness the castle’s complexity. Most impressive are the views you can catch from its balconies. As you reach the top floor, the panoramic view of Gauja National Park unfolds before your eyes. For hundreds of hectares, its natural beauty covers Latvian’s north-east region. If you pay special attention, you will be pleasantly surprised! From one of the towers, you can get a good glimpse of the Turaida Castle.

So, if you find yourself in need of fresh air, the Castle of the Livonian Order is a great choice. Situated in Sigulda, your visit will be a fresh breath of air! Don’t miss the chance to learn more about Latvia’s great history!

Elena is currently a student at Liden & Denz, Riga

These images were taken by the author

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