Cesvaine – Bishop’s Castle Sesswegen


   The Sesswegen castle was one of the easternmost strongholds of the Archbishopric of Riga. The exact date of its construction is not known, it probably took place at the end of the 14th century. Certainly, the castle existed already in 1420. In 1479 it was taken by the Teutonic army, which occupied it until 1486. In the meantime, Sesswegen was invaded by Muscovite troops, but they did not manage to capture the castle. From 1559, it was in the hands of the Polish-Lithuanian state, whose crew in 1560 also managed to repulse the attack of the Tatars and Muscovites. This accomplishment could not be repeated in 1577, when the army of Ivan the Terrible conquered Sesswegen, to lose it to Poland in 1588. Once again, the stronghold changed its owner in 1625, when it was taken by the Swedes. Interestingly, the medieval fortifications were then still in good condition and defensible. Only the Swedish-Russian war led to the destruction of the castle in 1656. In 1661 it was already described as an unusable ruin.


   The stronghold was a two-part complex with a separate upper castle and outer bailey. The upper castle had a plan similar to a square, and probably a full four-wing internal building, similar to the appearance of the conventual castle. Precise layout of the rooms is not known today, but certainly the chapel functioned in the castle. The entire castle was protected from three sides by the river and castle ponds.

Current state

   The castle, apart from a small stone relic, probably a former gate, did not survive to modern times. What’s more, in its area at the end of the 19th century, a neo-gothic palace was built, making it impossible to conduct further researches.

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