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The third Riga Order Castle or Riga Castle on the bank of the River Daugava in Riga Old City is one of the largest medieval castles in Latvia with a long and exciting history.
For centuries, the castle has served as a power center of a larger or smaller territory, and nowadays, too, Riga Castle is the official residence of the President of Latvia. The premises of the presidential residence are situated in the building which has replaced for former forepart of the caste.
Art and architecture
The castle has been reconstructed many times, losing old and gaining new artistic and architectural featuresin the course of time. The bay tower has been constructed in the Early Baroque style and several rooms in the castle have Art Deco style interiors.
Artworks of the 1920s and 1930s, such as the painted ceiling of the Hall of the Ambassadors and the gate of the castle, are especially valuable features of Riga Castle.
Riga Castle is a national architectural monument.
Three Riga Order Castles
The first Riga Order Castle, which once stood in the current territory of Convent Court in Riga Old City, was destroyed by citizens of Riga during the civil war against the Livonian Order.
The city of Riga had to rebuild the caste under a peace treaty concluded after the Livonian civil war. The second Riga Order Castle was built in the 14th century on the bank of the River Daugava from where it was possible to control ship traffic in the river. In the 15th century, the second Riga Order Castle was completely ruined as a result infighting in the Livonian Confederation.
The third Riga Order Castle was constructed on the old castle’s foundations at the beginning of the 16th century.
Third Riga Order Castle
Originally, the third Riga Order Castle was built on an artificially created island with earthen fortification wall, which protected the castle against firearms. The castle consisted of four blocks surrounding the courtyard. Massive rounded towers stood in two corners of the castle and smaller quadrangular stair towers, which have survived until today, stood in two other corners. The castle was surrounded by the forepart with an empty court.
Today, the castle has six towers: the Holy Ghost Tower, the Lead Tower, the Piper Tower and the Northern Tower in the corners, as well as the Ecker Tower and the Tower of the Three Stars. The walls of the castle are approximately three meters thick.
Underground passageways have been discovered leading in various directions from the castle.