Valmiera – Order Castle Wolmar


The castle and the city of Wolmar were the second largest after the Wenden (Cēsis) center of the Teutonic Order in northern Latvia. The history of the castle began around 1224, when the Order of Livonian Brothers of the Sword erected the first, probably still wooden stronghold, around which merchants soon began to settle. Masonry fortifications of both the castle and the city were created in the fourteenth century. In the sixteenth century, during the invasions of the troops of Ivan the Terrible, the castle twice, in 1560 and 1562, repulsed the enemy attacks, yielding only in 1577, after the city representatives were sent to the Moscow troops camp for peace talks and cut down. In the second half of the 16th century, the castle became the target of fierce Polish-Swedish fights, including in 1601, 1622 and in 1659. Finally, it was destroyed during the Great Northern War in the early eighteenth century by the Russian army. Unfortunately, from that moment it started to serve as a source of free construction material.


The castle had the form of a quadrangle with walls clearly widening towards the west. The shape of the area on which it was built could have an impact on this shape. The fortifications consisted of the upper castle on the east side and the pre-town outer bailey, strengthened by two towers. The south, north and east sides were protected by the Gauja river and its branch. The castle’s defensive system was connected with urban fortifications. The thickness of the castle walls was 2.25 meters, length about 100 meters, and width from 30 to 50 meters. Inside the walls of the upper castle there was a courtyard with residential and economic buildings attached to the inner walls of the stronghold.

Current state

Until today, a dozen-meter fragment of the castle wall and numerous smaller stone relics have survived. Entrance to the castle is free.

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