Virtsu – Castle Werder


   Knight’s castle Werder appeared for the first time in historical sources in 1465, although it is assumed that it was created a little earlier, around 1430. It was an important control point guarding the nearby crossing between the mainland and the Estonian islands in the west. Its owner was the noble family von Uexküll, who maintained the local island as a fiefdom from the bishop princes of the Ösel–Wiek. The castle was destroyed at the turn of 1533 and 1534 during the war between the margrave of Brandenburg Wilhelm and the prince bishop Reinhold Bekeshovede. The fate of the stronghold was sealed by the decisions of the council in Wolmar from 1536, on which it was decided not to rebuild Werder.


   The castle was designed to fill the entire area of a small island. The stronghold had one walled, almost perfectly square courtyard measuring 25,1 x 25,3 meters, in which north and west wing there were stone buildings. They had a wooden communication gallery attached from the outside. An important element of the defense of the castle were cylindrical towers, adapted to use firearms, in the north-east and south-west corner of the castle, from which the south tower, guarding the entrance to the castle, was slightly larger. The whole was additionally surrounded by a small outer defensive wall, which can also protect against storms or drifting ice.

Current state

   Up to the present day, only fragments of a few meters high walls, located by the sea, have survived, among which one can distinguish, among others, the base of one of the cylindrical towers. Entrance to the ruins 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.