Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Dobele Castle

Dobele Castle

 

 

Location: Zemgale region  Map

Constructed: 1335-1339

Dobele History Museum

Brivibas 7

Tel. 6372 1309

Open: 12pm- 6pm Wed

11am- 4pm Thu- Sat

 

 

 

History of the Dobele Castle

 

Dobele stone castle replaced a earlier wooden citadel from the 13th century that was constructed here by the Semigallians. After Northern Crusades added these lands to the Catholic sphere of influence Crusaders needed a chain of military fortifications to defend their newly acquired lands. Northeast Europe at the time was still followed pagan cults. Dobele Castle is located in Zemgale region of Latvia was constructed in 1335- 39 by knights of the Livonian Order. It was further increased in size and strength in 1345. The castle consisted of four buildings that surrounded a courtyard. Additionally a church stood inside the walls. Western rectangular tower also served as the gate to the whole compound. In 1620 the Swedish army under leadership of Gustavus Adolphus captured the Dobele Castle. Between 1643 and 1649 Duke Frederick's widow Elizabeth Magdalena lived here. During Northern War King of Sweden Charles XII stayed here.

 

Many legends are associated with the Dobele Castle. One of the legend state that one tunnel lead to Lielberze, while another leads under the river Berze. Another legend claim that the copper roofs of castle sparkled so intensely it was visible far in the Baltic Sea. Many trader's ships mistook this light for a lighthouse and changed their course toward it. Many sailors and traders died crushing on the rocks. Their curses eventually caused a huge hurricane that blew off the copper roof from the building. Over time the castle lost its military importance and gradually fell in disrepair. In 1730 its roof collapsed and the structure was abandoned. The castle restoration started in 2001 to keep the overall structure intact.