Castles of Latvia - Sigulda Pils

Sigulda Pils
 Similar to last week's castle that we explored, this castle sits in ruins today. Sigulda Pils, located in the city of Sigulda, is northeast of Riga. 

Built in 1207, this fortress was constructed on the edge of a precipice overlooking the Guaja River by the Brothers of the Sword, part of the Livonian Order. 

Entrance Tower
As we approached the reconstructed entrance tower, we were in awe of the sheer size of it. How could walls this large be built in the early 1200s? They didn't have the equipment we do back then. 
Drawing of original castle

The original castle was quite large, as seen in the sketch to the left. The church was the main building inside the walls. 

It was interesting to see what the reconstructed fortress wall looked like on the inside. The soldiers had the different levels to protect the land side of the fortress, shooting through the small access windows. 
Reconstructed wall 


Chapel wall

Notice the tiny holes in the outside wall for defense in the picture on the left. This connects to the chapel wall. 

The rest of the ancient castle lies in ruins. We could see the outline of the chapel, but that's about all. Everything else is gone. After being damaged in wars in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, it was never rebuilt. 
Ruins of the chapel

Open-air stage
On the site of the former courtyard, an open-air stage has been built where the Sigulda opera festival is held annually. Other concerts take place here, also. At least, they found a good way to bring many people to see the historical structure yet today. 

Behind the stage, an ancient tower has been preserved with a viewing platform constructed on top of it. This tower is literally on the edge of the cliff and has a magnificent view of the gorge below. 

Viewing tower

Next week, I'll tell you what's on the other side of the gorge. 

View from the tower


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