Lielvārde – Castle Lennewarden


   Lennewarden castle was mentioned for the first time in 1229, so it is regarded as one of the oldest brick Livonian strongholds. It guarded the border with the Teutonic Order and the safety of navigation along the Daugava river and trade with Rus through it. The direct cause of its creation was also the ravaging invasions of pagans on the surrounding lands. It is known that in 1201, the bishop residing in Riga gave it to one of his vassals, a knight named Daniel. Lennewarden, however, did not become the seat of a gentry family, because already in the middle of the 13th century the castle was taken over by the chapter of the Archbishopric of Riga, and then the direct representatives of the archbishop took power over it. In subsequent centuries, the stronghold changed owners several times, becoming a victim of disputes between the Teutonic Order and the archbishopric. In addition, the castle at least once, in 1361 was burned by Lithuanian army. Lennewarden’s role as a stopping point for merchants moving along the Daugava river was additionally emphasized at the beginning of the 16th century, when the archbishop of Riga, Jasper Linde, founded here the only seat of the Hospital Brothers of St. Anthonyin on the territory of Livonia. The monks had their own monastery, church, and also ran a roadside hospital where help was provided to needy travelers.
The end of church authority over the castle came in 1558, when it was handed over to the Polish-Lithuanian state in exchange for the promise of military assistance in the event of a war with Moscow. However, it did not protect Lennewarden from the invasion and burning by the army of Ivan the Terrible in 1577. After the war, the seat of the Polish starosty was arranged on the rebuilt castle. The final destruction was caused by wars from the 17th century between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden and Russia. The information describing the castle as unsuitable for use dates back to 1613 and it has probably been in ruin since then.


   The castle was situated on a high hill on the northern banks of the Daugava river. Originally, it was limited to a single residential house, to which from the east adjoined a courtyard, surrounded by a defensive wall. In the fifteenth or sixteenth century, the castle was adapted to the use of firearms, and in the north – east, extensive outer bailey was separated, probably surrounded by a stone wall. The gate to the main castle was located on the north side, and the entrance to the castle hill was possible from the west, through the moat. From the remaining sides, the castle was protected by Daugava river and streams flowing into it.

Current state

   To the modern times  medium-sized ruins of the main castle, up to the maximum height of the first floor and a small fragment of the outer ward’s walls have survived. 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.