Berzaune – Castle Bersohn


   Berzaune castle (Bersohn) was one of several strongholds of the medieval knight family Tiesenhausen. Its construction began around 1340, near the older pagan hillfort. In 1382, the work was probably completed, and at that time it appeared for the first time in written sources. Castle remained private property even after the fall of the Archbishopric of Riga and other Livonian authorities. The Tiesenhausens maintained a high position and, succumbing to partial polonization, became one of the most important Polish-Lithuanian families. The castle was destroyed during numerous wars with Sweden in the 17th century, and the remaining ruins quickly disappeared due to the demolition for use on building materials.


   The castle was a fairly simple defensive complex consisting of a single defensive wall surrounding the courtyard, where in the event of a threat, the local population could have taken shelter, as well as the marching army. The northern, eastern and partly western wings had residential and economic buildings, added to the inner side of the walls. The main castle gate was halfway along the eastern wall, while on the opposite, west side, there was a four-sided tower, included in the defensive circuit and evenly protruding in front of both faces of the wall. Later, the castle was additionally equipped with a south-eastern round tower, strengthening the defense of the entrance to the castle.

Current state

   Only small fragments of walls have survived to this day and entry into a basement or ground floor room, lying under the embankment of the earth. 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.