Kandava – Order Castle


   The construction of the Teutonic castle in Kandava began quite early, because in the mid-thirteenth century, during the reign of the Livonian master Burkhard von Hornhausen, however, the rank of vogt’s seat was granted to the stronghold only at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Fifteen years later, during the time of the Eberhard von Monheim master of Livonia, the castle was expanded. The first known by its name vogt was Evert von Garath from 1383-1389. An interesting piece of information is the fact that the Kandava’s administrator had to supply 491 kg of honey annually to the teutonic convent in Kuldīga. This can be explained by the spread of beekeeping among the local residents. Of course, this was not the only occupancy of the population, and the considerable income of the castle was also demonstrated by the short-lived raising of Kandava in the late 15th century to the rank of commandry.
From the beginning of the sixteenth century until the secularization of the order in Livonia, the castle was once again managed by the teutonic vogts, who after 1560 were replaced by lay administrators, reporting to the Dukes of Courland and Semigallia. After numerous wars from the 17th century, the castle was seriously neglected. The Swedish army of Karl XII at the beginning of the 18th century made another plunder and destruction, so that the Kandava governors moved out of the castle, which fell into total ruin and then almost completely decline.


   The castle was erected on the top of an oblong hill, limited to the south by a small watercourse. The outer defensive wall of the castle had an irregular shape, adapted to the form of the hill, while the main part of the castle was already a regular complex, erected on a square plan with a side of about 30 meters. The upper ward certainly had one three-story wing in the western part, the existence of the other three wings is less certain, although as there was a full order convent there for some time, there must have been a refectory, dormitory and chapel, and it is difficult to assume that they would fit in one wing. On the south side, there was an outer bailey, surrounded by the aforementioned external defensive wall. The eastern side of the castle was defended by a four-sided tower, it is possible that another four-sided tower, preserved to this day under the name of Powder Tower, originally served as a dansker or secured a well located there (groundwater was more easily accessible on the lower part of the slope).

Current state

   Only small relics of foundations and the eastern tower known as Powder Tower have survived to the present day. Entrance to the ruins area 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.