Helme – Teutonic Castle Helmet


The exact date of the castle’s creation is not known, nor is it known whether it was built on the site of an earlier pagan hillfort. In written sources, the castle Helme (Helmet) first appeared in 1412, although its building probably took place much earlier, probably in the first half of the fourteenth century. It stood in the center of the Livonian property of the Teutonic Order, on the road connecting Wenden and Fellin. In 1471 in the castle was imprisoned the Land Master of Livonia, Johann Waldhaus von Heerse, overthrown by the confreres. It is also known that in 1560, near the castle, the battle of Ermes took place, in which the Muscovite troops defeated the forces of the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights. In spite of this, the castle happily avoided major damages and went under Polish-Lithuanian rule. The end of the military history of the castle came in 1658, when Helme destroyed Russian troops raking the areas of southern Estonia. Since then, the castle remains in ruin.


The castle had an irregular form, adapted to the shape of the hill on which it was erected. Little is known about the internal layout of the castle premises. It is certain, however, that the main castle gate was located from the south, and a bridge based on stone pillars led to it. The main, square castle tower, located halfway along the west wall, was also identified. The internal buildings of the castle adjoined the perimeter wall, and the entire complex was surrounded by a double moat.

Current state

Despite the fact that the castle was still in quite good condition in the 19th century, today it is in the form of a ruin with small relics of internal buildings and longer fragments of the perimeter wall. Entrance to the castle is free.

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Borowski T, Miasta, zamki i klasztory, Inflanty, Warszawa 2010.