Ventspils Castle is the only castle of the Order built in Kurzeme which has survived to the present. It was built in 1290 and is a convent-type castle with four residential blocks and a tower in the southeast corner of the castle. The walls are up to 2 metres thick. It has been rebuilt several times throughout history.

  • Ventspils Livonian Order Castle
  • Museum exhibition in the Castle
  • The Castle Yard
  • Crusaders’ Fight

In the 18th century a church was set up in the Castle and at the beginning of the 19th century – a prison, a school and an observation tower for port pilots, which has not survived to the present.

The Chapel of the Castle is the oldest preserved church in Kurzeme. For almost two centuries, the prison was located in the Castle. A. Austriņš (1884-1934), a poet and a participant of the Revolution of 1905, was imprisoned here, and after World War II – poet K. Jēkabsons (1879-1946), who also died here.

At present, the restored Castle houses a museum with a permanent exhibition on the history of the Ventspils Castle and the prison. Following the reconstruction carried out during the last decade, the Ventspils Museum is located in the Castle, its digital exhibition on the history of the Castle, the city and the port is considered the most modern in the Baltics.

57"23'46 21"33'38
57.396214, 21.560497
  • Languages spoken: 
    • English
    • German
    • Latvian
    • Russian
  • Admission fee: 
  • Payment methods: 
    • Bank transfer
    • Cash
    • Credit/debit card
  • Creative workshops
  • Exhibitions
  • Guide service available
  • Souvenirs
  • Themed events
Amenities and Features: 
  • Access for disabled people
  • Free parking
  • Information point
  • Smoker-friendly
  • WC
  • WiFi Internet
Working Hours: 

Monday, Tuesday – closed

(May- October) 9:00 – 18:00, (November -–April) 10:00 – 17:00

Last updated: 12.06.2014

The first owner of Stāmeriena Palace was Johann Gottlieb von Wolff. The palace was built in the historicist style on the second half of the 19th century. After it was burnt down during the 1905 revolution, the palace was restored with elements of Art Nouveau.

Stāmeriena Palace is located in a very picturesque venue by Stāmeriena and Poga Lakes. The palace is surrounded by a park that spans 25 hectares and follows the English, or, landscape gardening design. The park has been arranged according to the so-called fan-shaped principle. Stāmeriena was visited several times by the Italian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the novel Il Gattopardo.

In 1919 the palace became home for an evening school, then, after the World War II, it became a technical school of agriculture, but in the later years a Soviet management office was located in the premises of the palace.

Today the palace is managed by Stāmeriena Parish Municipality and it has become a centre of culture for exhibitions, theatre performances and other activities. The palace offers excursions in the palace and lets out premises for weddings, banquets and other events. The park has become a popular place for walks and arrangement of different outdoor festivities and celebrations.

Jaunpils Castle is one of the few medieval castles which has retained its original appearance. Jaunpils Castle was built in 1301 as a fortress of the Livonian Order. The castle was built by Gottfried von Roga, Master of the Livonian Order. The castle is located in a scenic place on the banks of a mill lake.

The castle and the castle museum, the church built at the end of the16th century, and the water mill are open to visitors. Today, Jaunpils Castle hosts the entire social life of Jaunpils.

The scenic surroundings and the social folklore serve as the backdrop for tourist attractions. You will be able to turn into a full fledged medieval hero together with the monks, jesters, lords, and servants of the castle. A romantic atmosphere prevails here because everything is taking place in a seven century old castle. Re-enacted theatrical tours of the castle are offered.

Kartavkalnu nature path is situated in the vicinity of Jaunpils. A settlement of ancient Latvians with log buildings and a fortification wall is under construction near the castle mound. Benches have been placed along the path and campfire sites have been equipped, tents can be safely set up at the foot of the castle mound, there are also country-style toilets found in the thickets.

Heading in the direction of Strutele, you can reach Elles (the Infernal) hill and have a look at Strutele Church. If you wish to visit the place where Matīss Siliņš, the outstanding Latvian ethnographer and cartographer lived, then the road will take you to the farmstead "Ķuņķuri" near Viesatas.

In 2005 the Castle was included in the List of the 100 Best Cared-for Monuments of European Cultural Heritage in Latvia.

Dikļi castle was built in the Neo-Baroque style in 1896 and restored in 2003. The second most important component of the Dikļi castle ensemble is the barn, which pre-dates the palace and was built in the late eighteenth century using elements of late Classicism and featuring a majestic portico, untypical for barns in Vidzeme.

The buildings of the Dikļi castle are organically complemented by a park spanning 20 hectares. Adjacent to the palace lies a duck pond, which is said to have had a floor made of oak. Mazbriede River begins just beyond the pond, whose ravines contain a landscape garden, also known as the Forest Park. In the 1960s, after surveying Dikļi castle park, it was found that approximately 20 exotic trees grow on its grounds.

Dikļi castle is one of the few palaces and landed estates in Vidzemes where much of the original interior décor has been relatively well-preserved. The palace contains a collection of luxurious old stoves and fireplaces. Dikļi castle was restored in 2003. At the moment, the palace houses a hotel, a restaurant, a spa and it provides a venue for various functions.

The Bīriņi castle is spacious, filled with the atmosphere of the past, surrounded by a park and two lakes; it was built in 1860 for the von Pistohlkors family, and today it serves as a prestigious venue for receptions and seminars. Next to the castle, the Gardener’s House is now a hotel that beckons one to take a break from the urban hubbub and savour the romantic surroundings of the castle. The landscape park is modestly sized and encircles the castle from the horse stables up to the Gardener’s House hotel.

An Aviary is located on one side of it, while at the very centre of the park one finds the Lovers’ Oak, in whose branches tinkle the love bells left there by newlyweds. Down the broad stone staircase, we arrive at the lake-side arbour. Numerous visitors have memorialised themselves here in photographs, and newlyweds have promised each other eternal love on their wedding day!

The Water Mill Lane along the Mill Lake leads to the old Water Mill, where a museum of antiquities cosily shares space with a pub in the summer months. While sipping a cocktail on the wooden deck over the lake, you will be able to watch fish devour every crumb thrown at them. In wintertime, we invite you to try leze, an ancient merry-go-round on ice. If you book in advance, a roaring fire, hot tea and a bath-house will await you.

The Bīriņi castle was built based on a design by the architect F. W. Hess. It is the most impressive representative of the Rundbogenstil in Latvian manor architecture. The overall architectonic execution of the structure can be attributed to the Neo-Gothic style, yet the lintels of the windows are a significant component of the overall composition, and these are typical of the Rundbogenstil. Thus, in terms of style, the Bīriņi castle can be considered an unusual two-way combination. It received recognition from contemporaries, and in the present day it can be seen as an example of atypical architectonic thinking. The building used to boast an opulent décor – sculptures, mouldings – but this was lost in World War I. A Neo-Renaissance interior has been preserved in the castle: a spacious entrance vestibule with a bilateral staircase, a dining-room with a wooden-panelled ceiling and glazed-tile stoves.

The Exhibition Hall offers changing expositions of the artists’ paintings. This house was also a place where different recognised artists used to stay in summer, giving their works to the hosts.Two of these works have been retained up to now and can be seen.

One can see work premises of the artists on the first floor of the building, and the Exhibition Hall of Inta and Imants Ozoliņi is set out on the ground floor. When attending the exhibition, one can also see the works of graphic artist Imants Ozoliņš who received the 2007 Jurmala Art Award.

This art studio offers art-therapy and a theatre of paintings to those who are interested and the possibility to attend the meditation drawing studio and to create paintings themselves in the unique technology of light painting.

In the art gallery, one can see an interesting original exhibition of paintings created using a unique technique (fluorescent painting effect) – paintings start glistening under special lighting and the viewers see another painting in place of the original one, which is like earlier hidden version of the painting. The art studio offer visitors a salon shop with floral design and luminaries, the Architects and Designers Bureau, who are capable of creating artistic works in the light painting style. 

This gallery exhibits works from both renowned Latvian artists and students of Kandava art school. At present there is an exhibition of the 2008/2009 school year graduates of the Kandava art school.

The gallery has exhibited works by such recognised artists as Jāzeps Pīgoznis, Velta Toropina, Imants Vecozols, Benita Bitāne, Aleksejs Naumovs, Aija and Juris Jurjāni, Roberts Muzis, Uno Daņiļevskis, Jānis Zemītis, and others. 

The Rundāle Palace is set amidst the fertile Zemgale Plains in the south of Latvia. The Rundāle Palace ensamble, one of the most outstanding monuments of Baroque and Rococo architecture in Latvia, was built between 1736 and 1740 as a summer residence for Ernst Johann Biron, Duke of Courland and a favourite of the Russian Empress Anna Ioannovna. The palace was designed by the Russian court architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli and built under his supervision.

Most of the interior decorations were created between 1765 and 1768 when a sculptor from Berlin Johann Michael Graff, and Italian painters from St. Petersburg Francesco Martini and Carlo Zucchi worked at the palace.
The representation rooms in the eastern wing of the palace – the Gilt Hall, the White Hall, and the Great Gallery – are open to the public. The central block accommodates the Duke's suite with reception parlours and private rooms, and the eastern block – a fully restored suite of Duchess's rooms.

A Baroque palace cannot be imagined without the French garden, an elaborate architectural framework devised of green plantings that should manifest the triumph of art over nature. The park spreads out to the south of the palace, and Bartolomeo Rastrelli designed it together with the palace building. An artificial canal runs around the park, encircling also the palace and the stables. Although Rundāle's formal garden is but 10 ha large, Rastrelli has managed to fill it with an intricate maze of allées, cross paths, pergolas and bosquets.

In front of the palace, Rastrelli's design envisaged three fountains which did not work in the 18th century; instead of them there were water basins. The central pool is enclosed by four ornamental parterres, reconstructed after Rastrelli's design, and consisting of surfaces covered with chips of brick and white marble, and lawn, all edged in trimmed boxwood hedging. The bosquets feature an impressive, almost one hectare large, rose garden that spreads on both sides of the parterres. The garden reflects the history of cultivating roses in Europe from the early 18th century till these days.

A "green amphitheatre" has been set up in one of the bosquets, following Rastrelli's original design and the still remaining relief shapes.  The venue was launched on 11 July 2004 with the performance of Georg Friedrich Händel's opera, Rinaldo.

A Versaille of Courland was created on the quiet Zemgale estate, and its significance has far outgrown the borders of Zemgale and Latvia.

The Rundāle Palace Museum works as a centre for research into Latvia's history, through creating collections, arranging exhibitions and producing publications.

The exhibition halls display applied art, fine art and historical expositions; the palace hosts the Early Music Festival and recitals of classical music.

The regular French style park with its rose garden, the Green Theatre, ornamental parterres and the fountain, are open for the public. In summers, the park becomes the venue for the Garden Festival.

The Rundāle Palace Museum offers the following services:

  • Official receptions, balls and concerts in the state halls of the palace - the Gilt Hall, the White Hall, and the Great Gallery
  • Wedding ceremonies, with the first waltz in the White Hall

The garden and the Green Theatre may host various functions: 

  • presentations,
  • balls
  • concerts
  • theatrical and operatic performances
  • shooting films and videos

Pedvale Open-Air Art Museum covers 200 ha on the scenic banks of the Abava River valley. In 1992, sculptor Ojārs Arvīds Feldbergs established a museum in the vicinity of the former manor houses Firkspedvalen and Brinkpedvalen, the museum is a cultural monument of national importance and is a part of the specially protected cultural historical territory – the Abava Valley.

The permanent collection of the museum consists of more than 150 artworks, created during symposia, plein airs, and work-shops. This also includes a display of Ojārs Feldberg’s works and exhibitions of Latvian and foreign artists which is regularly expanded and renewed. The artists, participants of the museum’s creative projects, are invited to seek inspiration from the surroundings and to use natural materials found in it.

The museum’s concept is the integration of natural landscape, agricultural landscape, culture heritage, and art in a common environment. The aim is to create a site where creative thought could develop and be implemented in harmony with the scenic environment, thus becoming an integral part of this environment.

Artists and visitors are offered simple, country-style accommodation, including a small guest-house, a restaurant, a conference hall, and picnic sites. In 1996 and 1998 the World Cultural Heritage Foundation included the Abava Valley together with Pedvāle manor house complex in the List of 100 Most Endangered Culture Monuments of the World.

The museum was awarded a UNESCO award for the preservation and development of the cultural landscape.