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Dundaga Castle, built in the 13th century, is now a venue for thematic exhibitions, presentations of local cuisine samples, impressive wedding ceremonies, it also offers tours, comfortable lodgings, and the opportunity to explore the castle and the environs. The castle also houses the local culture centre, tourist information centre, a music and arts school, the municipal development and planning department, and an editorial office.
Dundaga Castle is the largest castle in Northern Kurzeme. It is built on a peninsula surrounded by the waters of the Pace River. The castle has survived several wars and belonged to a number of landlords, it has been reconstructed several times, twice ravaged by fires – but restored and expanded after both. Although the castle has been modernised through the reconstruction projects, it still possesses the features of a fortified manor, as evidenced by its gate tower and courtyard.
What to see at Dundaga Castle:
- Exhibition about the former owners of the castle, and an exhibition about various periods in the construction of the castle
- Exhibition Crocodile Nest about the popular crocodile hunter and opal digger in Australia, Latvia-born Arvids Blumentals (1925 - 2006) who inspired the Crocodile Dundee films
- The only permanent exhibition of medals in Latvia
Legend about Green Maiden
There are several legends associated with Dundaga Castle. According to one, a dwarf king was celebrating his wedding at Dundaga Castle, but the ceremony was accidentally disrupted by a sister of the baroness, who was immured in one of the walls of the castle as a punishment. She was known as Green Maiden (Zaļa jumprava), and still appears at the castle to this day.
What to see in the vicinity of the castle:
- Kalnadarzs (Hill Garden) on a small island near the castle. Archaeological excavations have found that the island was a fortified place in the past, similar to hill forts of the Iron Age in Latvia. In around 18th century, a garden was built there.
- Dundaga Park (21.7 ha in area). The park constructed in the 17th century is still home to 48 different tree species, including several mighty centuries-old trees. One of them, the so-called Naudas ozols (Money Oak), decorated the 100-ruble banknote issued in Latvia in 1919 (artist – H. Grīnbergs).
- Crocodile – a commemorative sign paying homage to the history and strong men of Kurzeme, including the crocodile hunter in Australia Arvids Blumentals, a native of Dundaga.
- Dundaga Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1766. The current steeple of the church was built in 1897. Inside the church, there is Janis Rozentals’ altar painting Lieldienu rits (Easter Morning) and an organ built by Latvian farmer Ansis Dinsbergis in 1859.
- Dakterleja – the current name of the river valley goes back to 1811 when Dundaga Doctorate was established here. Dakterleja is also famous for a therapeutic spring, popular with locals and visitors of Dundaga.