Jaunpils – Order Castle Neuenburg


   Neuenburg castle was built in the second half, and perhaps even at the end of the 14th century. The first certain information about it comes only from 1411. It was erected because of the strengthening of the southern border of Livonia, whose fortifications proved insufficient to stop a series of Lithuanian invasions from the mid-fourteenth century. At least from the beginning of the 16th century, sick or elderly members of the Teutonic Order were brought to Neuenburg, so the castle had to be considered relatively safe.
After secularization of the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order, the stronghold was taken over by former Doblen commander, Matthias von der Recke, already a secular knight. It was a crucial moment for the castle, because the descendants of the commander managed it for the next 300 years, until 1920. As devoted subjects of the Duchy of Courland, they took part in Polish-Swedish fights on the side of the Commonwealth, which caused Neuenburg to be destroyed by Swedish soldiers, the most seriously in 1625. These destruction served as a reason for a thorough rebuilding, which gave the castle the appearance of an early modern residence. At that time, a new residential wing and a small gatehouse were erected from the outside of the north-east wall, a wooden porch was replaced with stone cloisters, and the remaining buildings were raised by one floor.
In 1906, the building was burned by revolutionaries and although later works restored some of its former splendor, they did not fully recreate the historical appearance, especially the castle interiors.


   The castle was situated on the mill pond, on a small peninsula, the eastern part of which had to be cut off with a ditch to obtain full protection. At first the castle had a single circumference of the defensive wall surrounding the courtyard, on which the south-west and south-eastern wings of the buildings were erected. These buildings were outside communicated with each other by a wooden porch at the height of the first floor. In the fifteenth century, a large cylindrical tower was erected in the southern corner of the castle, probably already adapted for the use of firearms. It was not until 1548, after moving to the castle of the retired commander Eberhard von Schuren, that a chapel was set up in the stronghold.

Current state

   The castle has survived to modern times, however, in a form strongly changed in relation to the original appearance. The most distinctive element of the late-medieval castle is the corner, round tower from the 15th century. Currently, the hotel operates in the castle.

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