Riga Castle is one of the most famous and popular sights of Riga, which is visited by Russian and foreign tourists with pleasure.
The castle was founded in 1330 by the master of the Livonian Order, Eberhard von Monheim. It was a three-story building encircling a square courtyard. On the ground floor there were utility rooms, on the second floor – cells of the brothers of the order, the residence of the master, meeting rooms, refectory, chapel.
In 1481, an armed struggle broke out between the townspeople and the Order. The inhabitants of Riga began the siege of Riga Castle, and its defenders were forced to lay down their arms. For three consecutive days, the townspeople smashed the walls and towers of the castle. In 1491, the order besieged Riga and surrendered the city. The townspeople had to return all the looted property of the order and build a new castle.
The master of the order Walter von Plettenberg himself drew the general plan of the castle in the form of a 4-coal building with corner towers. The construction of the new Riga Castle was completed in 1515 and fell on the last years of the power of the Livonian Order. The cubic building was fortified with two powerful round towers – the tower of the Holy Spirit and the Lead Tower. On the first floor of the castle housed household services, on the second – the chambers of the master of the order, the restroom of the brothers of the Order and the chapel. Front halls and the refectory adjoined them. After the fall of the Livonian Order, Riga Castle served as the seat of the Polish administration and retained its significance as a fortress. The garrison of the castle was about 300 horsemen and several cannons. When Riga came under the rule of the Swedes, the residence of the Swedish administration was located in the Riga Castle. In 1649, a new two-story stone building with a corner bay window was built on the site of Forburg. There is a legend that this bay window was ordered to build by Queen Christina.
At the beginning of the 14th century, Riga Castle was surrounded by a defensive moat, and in the 16th century it was fortified with an earthen rampart and bastions. In 1682, an arsenal building was added to the castle. When Riga became part of the Russian Empire, the residence of the Governor-General was located in the Riga Castle. In the XIX century the castle was rebuilt several times. From 1801 to 1803, the famous fabulist I.A. Krylov served as secretary to the Governor-General of Prince Sergei Golitsyn in Riga Castle. In 1938, Riga Castle became the residence of the President of the Republic of Latvia. From 1940 to February 1941, the Latvian Council of People’s Commissars was located in the castle, and in February 1941 the Palace of Pioneers was opened here. Currently, the southern part of the castle houses expositions of the Museum of Foreign Art, the Museum of the History of Latvia and the Rainis Museum of Literature and Art History. Since June 12, 1995, the official residence of the President of Latvia has been located in the Riga Castle.
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