The Riga Knight’s Castle

Рижский замок

Riga Castle is one of the most famous and popular sights of Riga, which Russian and foreign tourists visit 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 lower floor there were business premises, on the second floor – the cells of the brothers of the order, the master’s residence, meeting rooms, the refectory, the chapel.

In 1481, the armed struggle of the townspeople and the Order broke out. Rigans began the siege of the Riga Castle, and its defenders were forced to lay down their arms. For three days in a row, the townspeople smashed the walls and towers of the castle. In 1491, the Order besieged Riga and the city capitulated. The townspeople had to return all the spoiled property of the order and build a new castle.

The Master of the Order Walter von Plettenberg himself drew a 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 the last years of the Livonian Order’s might had to be built. The cube 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 economic services, on the second – the rooms of the Master of the Order, the bedchamber of the brothers of the Order and the chapel. They adjoined the main halls and the refectory. After the fall of the Livonian Order, the Riga Castle served as the seat of the Polish administration and retained its importance as a fortress. The garrison of the castle was about 300 riders and several guns. When Riga passed under the power of the Swedes, the residence of the Swedish administration resided in the Riga Castle. In 1649, a new two-storeyed stone building with a corner bay window was built on the site of the forurb. There is a legend that this bay window was ordered to build Queen Christina.

At the beginning of the XIV century, the Riga Castle was surrounded by a defensive moat, and in the 16th century it was fortified with an earthen rampart and bastions. In 1682, the building of the arsenal was added to the castle. When Riga became part of the Russian Empire, the residence of the Governor-General settled down in the Riga Castle. In the XIX century the castle was repeatedly rebuilt. In the Riga Castle from 1801 to 1803 served as the secretary of the Governor-General of Prince Sergei Golitsyn famous fabulist IA Krylov. In 1938 the Riga Castle became the residence of the President of the Republic of Latvia. From 1940 until 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 in the southern part of the castle there are expositions of the Museum of Foreign Art, the Museum of History of Latvia and the Museum of Literature and the History of Art named after Rainis. Since June 12, 1995, the official residence of the President of Latvia has been located in the Riga Castle.

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