Paide – Teutonic Castle Weißenstein


   Weißenstein castle, or White Stone, began to be built in 1265 by the land master of Livonia, Konrad von Mandern. Initially, it served as the seat of Jerwen vogt, it was at the intersection of important local roads connecting the southern regions of Livonia with Rewel in the north. Therefore, around the stronghold, the settlement quickly began to develop, which in 1291 received city rights. The military and economic flourishing of the center resulted in the raise of the castle to the rank of commandry and its extension at the beginning of the 14th century. The first witnessed by sources commander was Raimar Hahn, who was in the years 1314-1316.
The castle played an important role during the Estonian uprising on the Night of Saint George. Negotiations took place in it between the four leaders of the rebellion and the Order, during which the Teutonic Knights rejected the offer of paying tribute to the Estonian conditions, and then insidiously murdered the insurgent commanders. After the suppression of the uprising, northern Estonia fell under the rule of the Teutonic Order, and the castle lost its border location. However, it retained an important economic and political role, the commanders of Paide were among the five highest officials of the Order, sitting in an informal council, advising the land master of Livonia. In the 15th century, the castle was one of six Teutonic centers that still had the required number of 12 members.
In 1560 the castle in Paide was one of the few that resisted the invasion of Ivan the Terrible. They had to give up after a three-week siege. Two years later, however, the stronghold got into the hands of the Swedes, who could not defend it again in 1573. The castle was captured by Muscovy troops under the personal command of Ivan the Terrible. Four years later, the Swedish army recaptured Paide, and then modernized its fortifications in the eighties of the 16th century. However, they were not enough to prevent the White Stone being occupied in 1602 by Polish troops under the command of hetman Jan Zamoyski, who defeated the predominantly enemy on the outskirts of the city. Polish domination did not last long and after six years the castle returned to Sweden. Partially destroyed, it soon lost its significance and began to fall into ruin. A tragic fate was met by the main castle tower, which in 1941 was blown up by the Soviet army. It was rebuilt in 1990-1993 after Estonia regained its independence.


   The stronghold consisted of a double-wing upper castle and a fortified, partly built-in outer bailey, that protected it from the south and west. A gate led to it in the form of a defensive tower from the west. Another gatehouse was located on the north-east side. The main element of the upper castle was a huge, octagonal tower.

Current state

   Currently, in Paide you can see the relics of the castle, mainly remnants of the west gate and the reconstructed main tower. It houses a small museum dedicated to the history of the castle and the city.

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