Aizkraukle – Order Castle Ascheraden


   The Ascheraden castle was one of the oldest strongholds of Livonia, erected by the Order of the Brothers of the Sword, and the only one from this group located south of Riga towards the pagan Lithuania. It was probably built on the site of a previously captured pagan hillfort. It was the seat of the order commandry, and the first commander recorded in the sources was managing castle around 1209, the order knight Hartmut. At that time, it was still a wooden stronghold, but in the first quarter of the 13th century, the first stone walls began to be erected.
After the defeat of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in the battle of Saulei, Ascheraden commandry was vacant for some time. The first Teutonic knight was in the 50s of the 13th century the knight called Heidenreich. Under the Teutonic rule, the castle was expanded several times, but already in the second half of the fifteenth century, the local convent did not meet the minimum number of 12 members required, and the castle settlement never developed in the Middle Ages to the size of the city. After the secularization of the order, the castle came under Polish-Lithuanian rule. In 1577 it was partially destroyed by the Muscovite army, but it was quickly rebuilt. The fall and destruction took place around the mid-seventeenth century, in 1680 it was already described as a ruin.


   It is difficultto recreate the shape of a medieval castle. The upper ward consisted of three, and perhaps four wings, in which there were rooms required by the order’s rule: a refectory, dormitory, chapel, possibly also an infirmary. At least one cylindrical tower was located in the north corner. It was probably built in the fifteenth century and was adapted to the use of firearms, while earlier, in the fourteenth century, a four-sided southern tower could be built. In addition, the upper ward from the south-east was protected by two outer bailey, separated by a ditch. In the other directions protection was ensured by the Daugava river and the Karikste stream from the north-east.

Current state

   Only fragments of the northern, corner tower of the upper ward have survived to the present. Unfortunately, a large part of the buildings, along with the foundations, fell to the river. Entrance to the ruins is free.

show this monument on map

return to alphabetical index

Borowski T., Miasta, zamki i klasztory. Inflanty, Warszawa 2010.
Tuulse A., Die Burgen in Estland und Lettland, Dorpat 1942.