Rezekne – Order Castle Rositten


The castle was built around 1285 on the site of an older hillfort on the initiative of the Livonian land master, Wilhelm von Nindorf. It was the seat of teutonic vogts, administratively subordinate to the commandry in Daugavpils. The first vogt witnessed by sources was Otto Paschedag, who was in Rositten around 1288. The castle guarded Latgale, the south-eastern region of Livonia and due to its central location it was also an important administrative center. It remained in order hands until 1559, when it was pledged, and later joined permanently to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1577, the stronghold was occupied by forces of Ivan the Terrible, which burned the nearby settlement. The victorious campaign of king Stefan Batory regained the castle for the Polish-Lithuanian state, in whose borders Rezekne remained until the Partitions. The castle for a long time kept its military significance and took part in the Polish-Swedish struggle of the 17th century. The final destruction brought to it fighting between 1656 and 1660. Since then, the castle ruins have unfortunately served as a source of building materials for the developing city.


The plan of the castle was dependent on the terrain and earlier wood and earth fortifications. Therefore, unlike most Teutonic castles, it was similar to the circle, under which the upper castle was separated in the western part of the hill. In it were the most important rooms of the stronghold: chambers of the vogt, a chapel and perhaps a chapter house in the eastern wing. From the east, the upper castle was protected by the economic outer bailey. The whole castle was surrounded by an irrigated moat above which a drawbridge was moved from the west. It was protected by a fortified tower, next to which there was a small courtyard from which, to get to the main part of the castle, it was necessary to go along a detour along the south walls to the east bailey, where the main gate of the upper castle was located. An important element of the defense was the cylindrical tower located inside the inner courtyard. In addition, the castle was equipped with three more towers: the gate tower, the side tower from the east of the upper castle and the side tower from the west. Of course, these fortifications were not created at once, but were the result of subsequent rebuilding and modernization.

Current state

Currently, only small fragments of the teutonic castle remain on the steep hill. Entrance to the ruins is free.

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