Alsunga – order castle Alschwangen

History

Alschwangen castle was one of several order strongholds guarding the route connecting Livonia with Prussia and running through Courland. The first mention of the settlement comes from 1230, but the castle itself appeared on the pages of history only in the document from 1342. It was built not much earlier and was administratively subordinate commandry to Kuldīga. In 1372, the original, probably still wooden order building was replaced with a new stone one, which was slightly expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries. However, the castle did not have much military significance and after secularization of the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order, became a private property of the German noble family. In the following years it was damaged several times during the Polish-Swedish wars, after which it was always rebuilt, however, it lost the appearance of the medieval stronghold in favor of a residential residence.

Architecture

The original, stone castle consisted of a defensive wall surrounding a square courtyard, which because of its considerable size was probably a place of refuge for travelers and the surrounding population. In addition, the stronghold had two wings of buildings, the east of which housed the main order buildings and the chapel, while the southern wing served as economic functions. At the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries, a round tower was built in the north-east corner of the castle, adapted to use firearms. A similar tower stood in the sixteenth century in the opposite, south-west corner.

Current state

The castle survived to modern times in the heavily rebuilt form, with however preserved basic block of the medieval castle, including both characteristic corner towers. Inside the castle there is a small museum exhibition.

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