Toolse – Teutonic Castle Tolsburg


   Tolsburg Castle was one of the latest investments of the Teutonic Order and at the same time its northernmost stronghold. The decision to build was made in 1471, and the first stage of work was completed in 1475. The main task of the stronghold was, next to the guarding of the nearby port, ensuring safety of ships navigating along the trade route Rewel – Narva, because in the second half of the fifteenth century in the waters of the Gulf of Finland, more and more often there were piracy raids, due to the crisis of the entire northern Baltic trading system. Administratively, the castle was the seat of the teutonic vogt, who has appeared in the sources since 1492, when this function was held by Eckbert von dem Berge. The last vogt was Heinrich von Kallenbach, who was in office in 1555-1558. After the invasion of the Moscow troops, the castle came under Swedish rule. The destroyed stronghold did not play a significant military role at that time. The last renovation from the early seventeenth century was fragmentary and it is known, that at that time some buildings were unusable.


   Located at the edge of a long peninsula, the castle initially consisted of a single fortified house, which, however, was quickly expanded and received three southern towers incorporated into the perimeter of the defensive wall. What is characteristic of the late period of the castle’s creation, they were not too high and did not protrude much beyond the crown of the defensive wall. Two narrow courtyards were created between the older building and the southern curtain, and on the eastern side another, slightly larger, partially built-up courtyard was separated (probably due to the thinness of space in the narrow southern courtyards). In addition, access to the stronghold was defended from the land side (from the south) by earth fortifications, two ditches and an external stone defensive wall. The latest modernization was the addition of a cylindrical artillery tower in the north-west corner of the castle.
   In the main castle building, the most important rooms were on the first floor, while the ground floor from the north was occupied by the kitchen and other utility rooms. After the expansion, on the ground floor, there were a total of four rooms located in a single-track system.

Current state

   The castle has survived in the form of a ruin and is the only surviving example of the seaside Teutonic castle of the region of the Baltic Sea. Entrance to the monument area is free.

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Borowski T, Miasta, zamki i klasztory, Inflanty, Warszawa 2010.
Tuulse A., Die Burgen in Estland und Lettland, Dorpat 1942.
Zamki regionu Morza Bałtyckiego, red. T.Kjaergaard, Bydgoszcz 1995.