Araiši – Order Castle Arrash


   The castle was built in the 14th century to protect the conquered lands against Lithuanian invasions. It was first mentioned in 1410 as Arries, later as Arias. It was subordinate to the commandry of Cēsis, and in the fifteenth century it was under the direct administrative authority of the masters of the order. During the Livonian War in 1577, it was captured by the troops of Ivan the Terrible, and then recaptured by Poles. It was not mentioned in the Truce of Yam-Zapolsky, and the lands on which it lay were incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian state. The final destruction was caused by the Polish-Swedish wars from the first half of the 17th century.


   The castle was erected on the western shore of Lake Araiši on a peninsula with an area of 9 ha. On the north-eastern end there was the main castle with dimensions of approximately 81 x 81 meters on a plan similar to a square, with defensive walls about 5 meters high. The north-west and south-west sides were occupied by residential houses. The north-west building was larger, on the rectangular plan, with a basement, a storey, with rooms warmed by a hypocaustum stove. In addition, in the courtyard there were numerous wooden buildings for economic purposes, attached to the inner walls of the defensive walls. The gates tower protruding from the perimeter of the walls was in the middle of the western wall. In front of it was a not fortified outer bailey.

Current state

   To this day have survived, the lower parts of the walls on a considerable length and relics of internal buildings. The admission to the ruins is connected with the entrance to the archaeological open-air museum.

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