Dobele Castle Ruins
Location: N56° 37` 20.1", E23° 16` 20.9"
Stone castle of Livonian order is the oldest stone building in Dobele. On the place of ancient Zemgali wooden castle it was built from 1335.-1359, later a church was added and park created. The castle was occupied up to 1730.
Dobele castle was first mentioned in documents in 1254, when there was an indurate wooden castle – administration centre of Dobele castle region. There were fierce battles with German crusaders in Dobele surroundings during the Livonian Crusades. Zemgali showed a significant resistance to the enemy, which were not able to invade the castle. From 1279-1289 Dobele castle withstood six sieges of Livonian order. When the whole region was destroyed, Zemgali burned their castle in 1289, and went to Lithuanian territory unbeaten.
On the place of the burned Zemgali castle in 1335-1347, Livonian order built a stone wall, around which a settlement of craftsman and traders started to form.
From 1376 up to 1562 castle was the residency of garrison superior and region administration – commandery. Several commandants monitored the castle during the time of Kurzeme-Zemgale duchy, from which the last one was Captain Christophe Georg von Offenberg. Livonian orders’ built castle was not occupied after 1729 and it started to gradually collapse.
Kurzeme Landtags were held in Dobele castle in 1579, 1613 and 1628. In 1620, 1621 and 1625 Dobele was invaded by army of Swedish king Gustav II Adolph.
From 1643 to 1649 the castle was occupied by duke Friedrich’s widow Elizabeth Magdalene with her adopted son prince Jacob (later duke Jacob). During the captivity time of duke Jacob in 1658, the castle was invaded by Swedes. At the very same time, Kurzeme people together it Poles tried to win the castle back, but did not hold it and was again evicted.
After the Olive peace treaty in 1660, Kurzeme duke Jacob Kettler recovered the castle and built an additional long building by the Eastern wall of the castle, but the castle fortifications were not renewed. In 1701 the castle was again invaded by Swedes and Carl XII King of Sweden spent 6 days in the castle. The city and the castle was greatly demolished during the war. On the first quarter of the 18th century pest was raging in Dobele and surrounding cities, which greatly reduced the number of citizens. The castle was occupied up to 1736 until its roof collapsed.
On 24th of June in 1870, Kurzeme Latvian singing festival was held by Dobele ruins – it was one of the first festivals in Latvia, because the first song festival was happening in 1873.
Military parade in 1915 below on the castle foothills was accepted by German emperor Wilhelm II.