Castles of Latvia - Turaida Pils

 

Aerial photo of Turaida
The last castle, that I wanted to show you, has the most tourists to its site because it's restored more than any or the other ones. Turaida Castle, located along the Guaja River valley, was the third castle in the triangle with Sigulda and Krimulda. Turaida was seen from the viewing tower when we were at Sigulda (photo from my post two weeks ago).



Tower
All three were on the edge of the river gorge with Sigulda being the lone one across the river. They were all built by the Livonian order so kept their eyes on each other. 



Originally built in 1206, Turaida was constructed of wood which, of course, was destroyed by fire. Later it was rebuilt with stone. This castle has been under reconstruction since the 1950s, which is why it's the most visited castle in Latvia. 

Southern wall and tower


The 30 meter tower stands at the entrance to the main part of the castle. The southern wall and semi-circular tower have also been reconstructed on the old foundations that existed. The old granary was restored and now houses a museum exhibition of the area. 
Exhibition building




Turaida Castle now sits on the Turaida Museum Reserve, a one hundred acre site adjacent to the actual castle. The Reserve parallels the Guaja River and includes historical buildings which were built by Livonians who lived near the castle. 





Turaida Lutheran Church


It includes the Turaida Manor, stables, a blacksmith shop, a bakery,  an exhibition hall, and Turaida Lutheran Church. The church is still used for worship every Sunday for Lutherans who live in the area. 
Man-made pond on Reserve



Visitors to the Reserve can learn from the demonstrations of people, dressed in period costumes, what life was like centuries ago. The Reserve, together with the castle, is a major tourist attraction in Latvia. 


It is certainly worth visiting all the castles in the region to learn more about Latvian history. The beautiful gorge that we drove through just made it all the more memorable. 



Information taken from Latvia Travel Guide.

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