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Ruins of the Dinaburg Castle

Location: N55° 54` 44.6", E26° 43` 29.3"

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Up until today there ruins from the castle built by Livionan order master Ernest von Koerber in the 13th century, there is a model of this stone wall one the castle mound and in the nearby museum – history exposition. The ruins are located in Daugavas Loki Nature Park.

In the 13th century today’s Southeast part of Latgale was included in territory where Latgalians lived, which was order’s property since 1264. A settlement was building by the castle, which was an important economy place in 13th-14th century.

In 1275, on the place of Naujene castle mound, Livonia order master Ernest von Koerber built Dinarbuga castle. Later crusaders were able to control the trade route through Daugava near Lithuania. Right after the construction of the castle, in 1278 it was surrounded by the Lithuanian forces led by its leader Thraydene. The siege of the castle was lasting for four weeks; Lithuanians used also four rock throwing machenes, but did not manage to invade the castle. Lithuanians repeated the assault in 1305 when they succeeded to invade and destroy the castle. After chronicle of Hermann von Wartberge, master Gerhard of Jorke in 1313 ordered to reconstruct the castle. In 1403 Lithuanian grand duke Vytautas invaded Latgale and destroyed Dinaburg.  

As Daugavpils was an important border stronghold for the order, they tried to reconstruct and fix if after every attack and damage. It is known that there were several more attacks. In order castles revision in 1488 it is said that Daugavpils is a “strong stronghold, but it lacks on food.” 

Castle settlement by the old Daugavpils (Vecdaugavpils) first has been mentioned during the 20ies of the 15th century. When the Livonian war started, the order pledged Daugavpils and other castles to Poland in 1559. The castle was run by polish appointed headman. In 1561 Dinaburg became the administration centre of Polish “Inflantia Voivodeshi.” In 1577 Ivan the Terrible invaded Dinaburg, but he did not manage to spend a lot of time there. When he went away he left count Wilhelm Platem as the commandant. He made the whole garrison drunk, and when the Russians woke up the next morning, they saw the castle gate opened and Polish army inside the castle, commanded by Polish hetman Chodkiewicz. Although this Dinaburg invasion was made craftily, it showed that the stronghold is not safe. After the order of Stephen Báthoryin 1582, new strongholds were built near Daugava, nineteen kilometres down Dinaburg. That is how Daugavpils city was started.  

It was able to see Dinaburga ruins until the 19th century. 

Rezekne, Ludza, Liksna and Ilukste districts were exposed to Dinaburga administration. 

***Legend ***

In 1274, where the Naujene is today, knights made ramparts and fortifications on some hill. In the third summer came Lithuanians and for four weeks shot to the castle with war machines. Lithuanian prince Traiden had announced a competition for the best shooters. One who will take down the castle gate will be nominated as Naujene lord of the manor. Many young people had assigned and tried to shoot stones to the stronghold. The last shooters started in despair call upon all the saints, but they didn’t want to help. Then the castle commandery called upon the devil, which promised help, but asked for a virgin’s soul in return. By that time Lithuanian shooter was ready to shoot a stone. Once he released the charge, castle gates opened and a virgin tied in ropes appeared between them. The rock hit her and tore her into pieces. The unlucky shooter recognized his own sister, smashed the war machine with an axe and killed himself. Traiden was forced to stop siege the castle. After moving their castle from Naujene a little bit more downhill, the knights founded Daugavpils.