Turaida Castle

Turaida Castle



Location: Vidzeme region  Map

Constructed: 1214

Tel. +371 67972376

Entrance Fee: Ls 3.5; students Ls 2

Open: 10am- 6pm May- Oct

10am- 5pm Nov- Apr


Turaida Castle is a medieval citadel located on the banks of Gauja River in the Vidzeme region of Latvia. It was constructed in 1214 by Albert of Riga the third Bishop of Riga. He called it "Turaida" or "God's garden". This strategic was previously occupied by a wooden fortress of Livonian leader Caupo of Turaida. The castle was badly damaged in 1776 and left in ruins. The reconstruction began only in 1970's. Government reserved 42 hectares around the medieval citadel to preserve the castle as well as surrounding complex of historic, archaeological and art importance. There are several trails that range from 200 m to 1km in length around park's grounds.


After the Livonian partition treaty of 1207, the Liv settlement of Mr. Livo on the right bank of the Gauja was granted to Bishop Albert. In 1214, the Bishop of Raceburg, Philip, ordered the construction of a new stone castle, named Fredeland (German "Land of Peace"), on the site of the burnt-down Kaupo wooden castle. Shortly afterwards, however, the German name was replaced by the Liv Turaida ("God's Torah Garden").

In 1272, Archbishop Albert II of Riga stayed in his castle in the land of Turaida (Latin: Thoreydia). Until the 16th century, Turaida was the center of the Turaida parish of the diocese (later the archdiocese). Sometimes the archbishop of Riga stayed in the castle, who published various documents here. Turaida Castle had been occupied several times by the Order. After 1298, the Turaida Battle Order controlled the castle for 68 years. Also from 1405 to 1417, Turaida was ruled by Turaida bailiffs appointed by the Order. Also in later times from 1479 to 1485 and in 1556 the castle was occupied by the Order. The maximum growth of the castle was at the beginning of the 16th century, when the three interconnected parts (courtyard, northern and southern forecourts) were integrated into a single system of buildings for protection, as well as farm and residential buildings.

After the secularisation of the archdiocese in 1566, Sigismund August Turaida, the ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, first gave it back to the Livonian Knights, but soon after to the former bishop of the Tartu diocese, Elert Kruz, who owned it until 1585. The Turaida Starastia was established during the Duchy of Livonia. In 1582 and 1590, inventories were made in the castle. At the beginning of the 17th century, the castle was changed to both Swedes and Poles. In 1624, the audit of Turaida Castle was already performed by the Swedes. In 1625, King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden gave Turaida to Nils Stjernscheld, but already in 1652 it was sold to G. V. von Budberg. In 1553, the oldest plan of Turaida Castle (now stored in the Stockholm War Archives) will be made. During the Second Northern War in 1658, the castle was briefly occupied by Polish-Lithuanian troops. After that, Turaida Castle lost its fortification significance, becoming the center of Turaida Manor. The castle was inhabited until 1776, when a wooden building burned down in a fire. In 1818, Turaida was acquired by the free lord Kampenhausen. In the 19th century, a manor house (made of wood) was built in the territory of the castle next to the main tower (bergfried), as well as a barn was built in the western building. The remaining walls were used for building materials.

After the formation of the Latvian state in 1924, a decision was made to include the ruins of Turaida castle in the list of state protected monuments, but the actual restoration works gradually began only in the 1950s. Since 1976, under the guidance of archaeologist Jānis Graudonis, regular and comprehensive archaeological research of the castle has been carried out for 25 years, during which the information obtained was used to strengthen and restore fortification structures and buildings. Also, the drawings of Turaida Castle from 1793 and 1810 found in the Estonian archives, which allowed to develop projects for the restoration of lost parts of buildings, also played an important role in the restoration work. Currently, Turaida Castle is an important Latvian and Baltic tourism object.

Known Turaida fogti
The captors of Turaida were the "Liv gala" judges (advocati ecclesiae, Stiftsvögte) of the lands belonging to the archbishops of Riga, who ruled the castle of Turaida (Fredeland).

1207 Gottfried
1210. 1211. Engelbertus de Tisenhusen
1212.-1219. Gerhards
1231 and 1253. Heydenricus
1257. Ludolfus
1272. Albero (Albero)
1298.-1322. Johannes de Palo
1298. Otto de Rosen, then the Order subjugated Turaida for 68 years
around 1330. Meinards
1360-1361. Bartholomäus von Tisenhusen
1371-1372. Hinrich Orges
before 1380. Heinrich Salcze
1382-1385. Bernards Goes
1392. Woldemarus de Rosen
1403-1405 (?) Heinrich Aderkas, then the Order subjugated Turaida until 1417
1417-1420. Brands Koskul (Brand Koskul)
1422-1424. Johann Wildenberg
1427. Otto von Rosen
1428-1431. Georg Gudesleff
1444-1455 (?) Rotger van Backem - captive of the earth
1457-1461. Peter von der Borch
1466-1468. Wolmar Üxkül
1496-1514. Kersten von Rosen
1514-1534 Georg Krüdener
1537-1547. Georg von Rosen
1548.-1552. Johann von der Pale
1554-1556. Georg Taube
1559-1569. Andreas Koskull


Since 1953, restoration work has been underway on the territory of the castle. The first to be restored was the 38-meter Main Tower.

In the late 1950s, 2 buildings of the Western Building were restored, in particular - the Semicircular Tower.

In the early 1980s, the South Tower was reconstructed, which housed the residence of the Riga bishop.

In the mid-1980s, the South Tower was merged with the West Building. After the excavations, a couple of meters high walls were built from the Main Tower to the central entrance.

In the 1990s, the walls (up to 3 meters) of the eastern building were partially restored. The restoration of the entire building is not planned yet.

In the 2000s, no large-scale construction work was carried out. Only minor ones on the east building.

In the future, it is planned to restore the Vorotovaya Tower, which will be located between the Western Building and the Main Tower.

The specially protected cultural monument Turaida Museum-Reserve was founded in 1988. It includes the historical center of Turaida, is engaged in the preservation, study and popularization of the cultural and historical heritage that has been formed here over a millennium, starting from the XI century. The museum-reserve occupies an area of ​​42 hectares, on which there are 39 historical buildings and structures, it is formed by a complex of natural, historical and cultural monuments of the 11th-20th centuries: the Turaida stone castle built in 1212 with forburgs, the Church Mountain with a medieval cemetery, the Turaida Rose tomb and a wooden Lutheran church built in 1750, the former economic part of the Turaida estate with restored ponds, a folk song park with 26 sculptures by the sculptor Indulis Ranki and Mountain Dain on the site of an ancient settlement of the Gauja Livs.