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Palaces and Manors in Latvia

Latvia has a number of unique palaces and manors, built during different centuries, that are an important part of the history and architecture of the country. Hundreds of these historic landmarks have been preserved in Latvia, each with unique architectural, cultural, and historic heritage. Many palaces and manors are available for tours, they also offer various activities.

Cultural and historic monuments in Latvia

Stone castles were built in Latvia in the Middle Ages. A large part of these castles are now in ruin, but a number of them, for instance, Turaida Castle, Cesis Castle, Bauska Castle and many more still stand, and some can even be toured. There are museums in many castles that tell visitors about the history of and life in the Middle Ages.

At the end of the Medieval period, luxurious manors, of which many were palaces in essence, were built in the territory of Latvia. In the recent past, county centres were located in Latvia’s manors, while others housed some economic enterprise. Today, many of them have become hotels and recreation centres. They offer a good starting point for travelling the regions of Latvia.

Samples of outstanding cultural and historic monuments:

  • Turaida Castle – an outstanding gem of Medieval architecture built in 1214. The red-brick walls of the castle rise over the picturesque Gauja River Valley.
  • Riga Castle in the capital city, regardless of several reconstruction projects, has still retained its original appearance from 1515 when the castle was built.
  • Cesvaine Palace – one of the greatest architectural achievements in Latvia in the latter half of the 19th century, it has been included in the list of European cultural heritage.
  • Rundale Palace – an outstanding example of baroque and rococo architecture in Latvia.

Experience Medieval times in castles and palaces

The Medieval castles and palaces not only inform visitors about the history of the Middle Ages, but also offer them to experience the Middle Ages by going on thematic tours and taking part in various Medieval activities.

  • Cesis Castle offers tours with elements of Medieval games, trying on Medieval headdresses. There are also theatrical tours involving exploring the castle, participating in a feast, and learning more about the Medieval history. Moreover, newlyweds have the opportunity to celebrate their wedding at the castle.
  • At Turaida Museum Reserve visitors can try their marksmanship at an archery range, whereas Turaida Castle is available for wedding and birthday celebrations, and those participating will also learn important aspects of living in the Medieval period – social classes, the functions of a vogt, Medieval writing skills, and manners.
  • Bauska Castle invites visitors to explore the recreational opportunities of a medieval lord’s court in the 16th and 17th centuries – games, tabletop games, smoking “Dutch” pipe, the fashion of the period and how one was supposed to dress, manners, dances, and music. Visitors can also have a meal prepared according to period recipes and served in tableware made according to fragments found during archaeological excavations in the area.
  • The Livonian Order’s Castle in Ventspils offers the option of renting castle premises for various events. There museum in the castle offers educational lectures about history of the Middle Ages, and there is an archery range in the castle’s courtyard.

Enjoy historical aura, luxuries of the Medieval period, and recreational opportunities off the beaten track!

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