Standing atop of a hill, overlooking a river valley, Turaida castle is one of two castles in Latvia with most picturesque nature backgrounds (along with Bauska castle).
LOCATION Latvia, Sigulda parish
BUILT 1214
RATING (8,4/10)
Standing atop of the hill, overlooking a river valley, Turaida castle is one of two castles in Latvia with most picturesque nature backgrounds (along with Bauska castle). Furthermore, it’s red brick silhouette on the green forests and blue sky (in a sunny day) makes a perfect color harmony too.

Always in the spotlight

Turaida castle is one of oldest medieval masonry castles built in Latvia by crusader invaders at the beginning of 13th Century. Built in 1214 in “brick gothic” style, it is just a bit newer than Riga city (founded in 1201). The narrow landstrip with steep slopes where the castle stands was a place of fortress also before - initially it was a hillfort with a wooden castle of local Livic people. It’s worth to note that, while intended to protect against invaders, the hillfort is sometimes itself “attacking” the castle - it’s unstable and there happens landslides time by time. There has been plenty enough of other attackers throughout the times too - as a strategically important place, Turaida castle was targeted not only in the lasting wars between the religious and military powers of Livonia (Riga Archbishopric and Livonian order) but was also conquered by Swedish and Polish armies in 17th Century. 

Destruction and partial reconstruction 

The original castle building was abandoned and started to deteriorate to ruins after the huge fire which destroyed the interiors back in 1776. However it wasn’t the fate of this castle to get forgotten - soon after the fire people started to visit the place as a tourism object where to reflect about past times. The castle reconstruction was started in 1970ies. Today’s appearance of regular, strictly formed shape of red bricks may look unusual for a medieval time castle in Latvia (as normally they were made of boulders), but it’s known that the original castle was also built of such red bricks (which were made of local clay). However it’s true that the original castle is only partially restored - due to the simple fact that there haven’t been preserved historical documents (drawings, plans, etc.) of the castle. Thus the complete original look of Turaida medieval castle remains a mystery.

Daytrip from Riga 

Turaida castle is a popular tourism object in Latvia because the whole Sigulda and Gauja river valley area where it is located, is full of natural and man-made places worth to see - there are some of the country’s most impressive caves, vantage points, nature trails. The castle tower itself also offers vantage point with one of the most beautiful panoramic views in Latvia. Thus Turaida castle as one of “Sigulda tourism collection” most thrilling jewels is a very recommended destination for a day trip from easily-reachable capital city Riga (less than hour by train to Sigulda town and then a few km walk, taxi drive or rented bicycle ride to the castle).     

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Travel Guide with beautiful photos and exciting descriptions of the most amazing and unique places in Baltic states and Europe. All content made by ⒸIkars Kublins. Contact me by e-mail:

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