Laiuse Castle (Laiuse Ordulinnus)

Laiuse Castle



Location: Jõgeva County, Jõgeva Parish   Map

Constructed: 14th century by the Livonian Order


History of Laiuse Castle

Laiuse Castle is located in Jõgeva County, Jõgeva Parish in Estonia. The castle was constructed in 14th century by the Livonian Order. Laiuse Castle was named Schloss Lais in German. This Catholic military order conquered these lands in the coarse of Northern Crusades against pagan nations as well as Eastern Orthodox Christians. The castle saw many sieges. In the 15th century Laiuse Castle defenses were increased in size and thickness. It was one of the first medieval castles designed for gunpowder warfare. In 1501 and 1502 the defenders of the fortress repelled the attacks by the Russian forces. In August 1559 Russian troops captured the citadel in the coarse of the Livonian War greatly damaging its military fortifications in the coarse of a six month long siege. Its former Livonian commander Hotard Ketler attempted to recapture his former possession in the end of the same year, but failed to do so. In 1582, however, the Laiuse Castle was returned back to the Poland after Yam- Zapolski peace treaty.

During Polish- Swedish War (1600- 29) the Laiuse Castle saw more action. In the beginning of the war it was captured after four week siege. Just year later the Polish armies returned the castle back in their possession. The Polish lost the fort on January 5th 1622 to Swedish general (ooberst) Henrik Fleming.

During the Great Northern War after defeating Russian Empire at the battle of Narva Swedish king Charles XII established here his winter quarters. He took a break here during his campaign against Russian Emperor Peter I the Great. Swedish army erected several structures to house the king and his court among the ruined defenses of the medieval castle. For five months this Laiuse castle was actually the administrative and military center of the Swedish Empire.