Ludza – Order Castle Ludsen


Ludsen castle was, next to the Narva, the easternmost stronghold of Livonia, located closer to the Ruthenian cities, such as Polotsk and Pskov, than any of the major cities of Livonia: Riga or Dorpat. The first mention of Ludza comes from 1177, but refers to the local hillfort. The teutonic castle was built only at the end of the 14th century, sometimes the date of construction is assumed to be 1399. At the end of the 15th century, the castle was occupied and seriously damaged the Muscovite army. The destruction must have been extensive, since the stronghold was fully restored only in 1525. The fall of the medieval castle came with the invasion of Ivan the Terrible troops in the second half of the 16th century. In the face of aggression in 1558, the Teutonic Knights gave their Latgalian strongholds, including Ludsen, in pledged to Lithuania. From the moment of the union of Lublin in 1569 they became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Ludsen initially kept the military significance until it was taken over and destroyed by the Russian army in 1654. In the following years, not renovated, fell into total ruin.


The main element of the castle was a large, square main tower with a brick, gothic decoration in the form of white blendes. An irregular courtyard separated by a wall adjoined to it from the south-east, whose eastern wing had buildings. In addition, Ludsen had from the south-east two large outer baileys and about six towers. The entire complex was surrounded by a hydrated moat, the waters of which came from the surrounding lakes, constituting additional protection of the castle on three sides.

Current state

Remains of the castle fortunately avoided the demolition for the building materials, thanks to which two walls of the main tower, part of the eastern buildings and fragments of the defensive walls have survived to this day. Entrance to the ruins is free.

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Borowski T, Miasta, zamki i klasztory, Inflanty, Warszawa 2010.