Tukums – Order Castle Tuckum


   The area around Tukums came under the Teutonic Order rule in 1253, but it is not known exactly when the order decided to erect a castle. Some form of defensive granary could have been created in the third quarter of the 13th century, but the first indirect information about the Tuckum stronghold comes only from the letter of the Livonian master dated to 1381. Directly the castle appears on the list of teutonic strongholds only in 1411. It belonged at that time to the castles directly subordinate to the Livonian masters, so it had little military significance, and was rather the economic background of the Livonian land masters.
In the second half of the fifteenth century castle suffered serious damages during the war between the order and Riga. In 1483, the area around Tuckum was burned by the armies of the townsmen of Riga, who having beaten the teutonic knights near their town, made several further expeditions. Before 1488, the castle was restored, as indicated by the inventories made at that time.
After the fall and secularization of the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order, the castle belonged to the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. It did not avoid destruction during numerous Polish-Swedish wars from the first half of the 17th century, but was always rebuilt. Only during the Great Northern War, during the period of considerable impoverishment and depopulation of the surrounding lands, the castle was abandoned and mostly dismantled.


   The castle consisted of a single rectangular courtyard and a defensive wall measuring 51 x 40 meters with an oblong, approximately 10-meter wide building on the west side and at least one tower or building with a form similar to the tower in the north-west corner. The original height of the castle walls was about 7.5 meters. The tower was built on a square plan with sides of 11.5 x 11.5 meters with walls 1.6 meters thick.
   The castle had relatively weak fortifications and not too extensive residential and representative buildings. It was characterized by a spacious courtyard, typical of the so-called wayside castle” castles, where merchant carts, supply wagons and military units could find shelter, and where wooden or half-timbered economic facilities could be located.

Current state

   Currently, the only significant remnant of the castle is the rebuilt, three-story tower, and the majority of the fortress area is occupied by the buildings of the modern town. The tower houses a local historical museum.

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