Riga Castle

Rīga, Latvia

Riga Castle

Riga Castle (Latvian: Rīgas pils) is a castle on the banks of River Daugava in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The castle was founded in 1330. Its structure was thoroughly rebuilt between 1497 and 1515. Upon the castle's seizure by the Swedes, they constructed spacious annexes in 1641. The fortress was continually augmented and reconstructed between the 17th and 19th centuries. Sometime in the 1930s, some renovation work was done by architect Eižens Laube. The Latvian government declared the castle its residence in 1938. Today it is the official residence of the President of Latvia as well as home to several museums.

The castle was built on the basis of a treaty between Riga and the Livonian Order – in the 13th century Rigans had rebelled against the Order and demolished its original castle in the centre of the town. Due to constant conflict with Rigans the Order chose to build a new castle beyond the borders of the town rather than to rebuild the original castle. The site occupied by Convent of the Saint Spirit – a hospital and shelter for the poor – was chosen and the convent moved to the location of the original castle. The castle served as the residence of the Master of the Livonian Order, but due to continuous conflicts with Rigans the residence was moved to Castle of Cēsis sometime before the castle was destroyed by Rigans in 1484. The Rigans eventually lost the fight and were forced to rebuild the castle – the restoration was finished in 1515. After the Treaty of Vilnius order ceased to exist in 1561 the Castle became Lithuanian and in 1569 - Polish-Lithuanian stronghold. In 1621 Riga came under Swedish rule and the Castle was used to house Swedish administration.



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