Riga Castle - Rigas Pils, Riga
Riga Castle was built in 1330 in the old Town as the residence for Master of Livonian Order.
Originally the castle was fortress-like 3 story building with an inner courtyard and four towers. Since then, the Castle has been renovated and rebuilt a few times. During the renovation between 1495–1515, two towers were altered, and above the gates, sculptural reliefs of the order’s patroness, St. Mary, and the order’s master, Valter von Pletenberg were added.
Since 1938, it's home to two museums, plus is used for offices and residence of the President of Latvia.
Much of the castle is off limits and well secured.
More of a palace cum castle than what you'd expect of a traditional medieval stronghold, although it retains some elements, like a flag bedecked tall round tower. The front of the castle, that looking out over Pils square, isn't too impressive, and easily overlooked, although it does hold the balcony from where the president gives his speeches to the expectant crowds. For this is now the home of Latvian's number one.
From the Daugava River, especially the Shroud Bridge, the view of the castle is much more impressive. Here you can see its stout walls flanked by the spires of its own chapel, and that of St. Jacob's cathedral.
It in not the original castle from the 1209, but this one built in 1353. Later, few hundred years after it was built, some reconstructions took place, in 18th century few wings were added to the castle and it was used as a public building. For real, it doesn’t look to me as strong defensive castle, but just like a residency.
Now it is presidential residence and two soldiers traditionally stay near the gates of castle. You can hardly see whole castle from the old town side, better to go to another bank of Danube.
In the northwest corner of Old Town is Riga Castle, a large cream coloured building with four floors. It dates back to 1330 when it first was constructed as residence for the grand master of the Livonian Order. In 1487 the castle was destroyed , but it was rebuilt again in 1515. Since then it has been added to and renovated many times.
Today there are two museums in the castle, the History Museum of Latvia and Museum of Foreign Art. There is also the office and rooms for the president of Latvia.
Riga Castle was originally built for the Livonian Order in the 14th century and has been the seat of the secular powers for a long time. In the 18th century the building was rebuilt and a third floor was added in the 19th century. In the 1930s there were some last reconstructions made, when the gate and some interior decorations were added.
The location of the castle on the banks of the Daugava was strategically chosen so that one could oversee all the ship which came into the port. Architecturally it was built as a square building with a tower in each corner.
At present the President of Latvia has his residence in one wing of the castle.
Only little remains of what was once a medieval castle. It was buiilt in the early 13th century and was called Wittenstein castle. Unfortunately, it became victim of riots several times throughout the centuries. From the 16th century on, things went on a little calmer and the castle was well incorporated into the town’s forticication system. However, new buidlings were added so that some of the older ones had to go. Now, most of the buildings are from the 18th century. The castle is not open for visitors as it is now the residence of the latvian president. Only two of the newer buildings are accesible, bouth housing museums.
The first castle by the Order of the Sword Brothers around 1209 and originally named Wittenstein Castle ("made of white stone"). The castle was destroyed by townsfolk in the civil war.
Townspeople built a new castle for the Livonian Order at the site of the Holy Spirit hospital under the condition of dismantling part of the town's fortification wall and opening the town from the castle's side.
The tower of the Holy Spirit and a fragment of the fortification wall were added to the castle that was built under the supervision of Master D. Kriege in 1330 - 1353.
In 1484 the citizens destroyed this building as well, but this time they were forced to rebuild it and the reconstruction was completed by 1515. In the 16th and 17th centuries the castle was incorporated into the town's fortification system.
In the 18th century several wings were added and the castle was used as a public building by Polish and Swedish officials, the moat surrounding the castle was filled up and the square near the castle was constructed.
Now the castle is the president's residence.
Best described as a "different castle" (it is yellow in colour!). Housed inside the castle is the Museum of Foreign Art and the Museum of Latvian History. Both have an entrance fee, but if you want to see the interior of the castle this is the only way. The castle is also home to the offices of the Latvian President.
The grounds of Riga Castle have seen a lot of construction and destruction over the centuries. The first building here was Wittenstein Castle errected in the early 13th century for the Order of the Sword Brothers. It was destroyed eventually and re-built for the Livonian Order (the successor of the Order of the Sword Brothers) from 1330-1353. But this one shared the fate of the first castle and was destroyed in 1484, again by the citizens of Riga. Nowadays castle was completed in 1515, but of course it has been changed and wings have been added over the following years.
Riga Castle today is the seat of the Latvian president and hosts the History Museum of Latvia and the Museum of Foreign Art.
I visited the History Museum and it was well worth the admission fee of 1 LVL.
Riga Castle (Rîgas pils) is possibly the least impressive castle I have ever seen - and its yellow tower one of the ugliest, too.
It was built in 1330 as a base for the Livonian Order - but in the following centuries it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. It also housed city governors.
Today the castle is home to the official office of the Latvian president and of two museums.
The castle was built in the beginning of 14th century by the needs of Livonia's Order. As many ancient building this one hasn't stayed the same too, as in times when it was firstly built, due to some fights and so. Many centuries it has been as a residence to the governors of Sweden, Poland and Russia. But nowadays the castle is main seat for President of Latvia.
The castle is in shape of square with turrets on corners. On the one round turret which is located closer to river Daugava there are two flags, where one of them is flag of Latvia and the other one is flag of the President. This turret is called the Holy Spirit turret.
The castle is very nice to take a closer look at it. You can catch a good view of it from Vansu bridge.
The present castle is a last structure of three which have stood here. The two others were Livonian castles and the first one was built in 1330 and the second in 1515. People of Riga destroyed the castle in 1487 and were foreced to build a new one by wlater von Plettenberg, who was the last head of the Livonian Order. It was completed in 1515 and included so called Lead Tower (Svina tornis), which still stands.
There is a story about this castle, like most castles, and this one is about a witch and her daughter:
When Poland gained power in Riga, the Swedes came and wanted the city. The daughter of the Polish king was a real-life witch who climbed up to the tower and sat there in protest. She bewitched all the bullets so that they rolled back and didn't even touch her.
At last, a very clever soldier called Peter made friends with the witch's daughter and cheated a secret out of her: how to kill the witch. The only way you could was by shooting her with a silver bullet. Peter found a silver bullet and killed the witch, which actually just turned her into a magpie! The witch sank into the Daugava River, but before she did, she cursed her daughter with these words, "You, tramp, sink a hundred fathoms underground!" It is said thst while the witch sleeps at the bottom of the river, not a single magpie will settle in Riga.
The castle was built in 1330, so it is pretty old. In 1484 though, it was pulled down by the Rigans who had conquered it from the Livonian Order. In 1491, the Order came back and ordered it to be rebuilt. The construction was completed in 1515. When the order ceased to exist in 1562, the castle became part of the Riga defense system.
Today, Riga castle is the official residence of the President of Latvia, Vaira Vike Freiberga.
The castle was started to build in 1330 and was completed in 1515. In the 16th century it was joined into the town's fortification. In the 17th and 18th century it was enlarged and became seat of foreign officials.
The photo shows the powder tower from the 17th century. The walls of the tower are three meters thick.
The castle was built in 1330 as a base for the Livonian Order and originally named as a Wittenstein Castle ("made of white stone"). Riga castle was destroyed several times and was used as a public building by Polish and Swedish officials. In the 18th century it became a residence for Russian governor general. Now the castle is the president's residence.
Riga Castle is famous by its ghost. During the night you can hear the stairs creaking as if there were footsteps....If you'll stay there at night, of course...