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Mežotnes Palace

Location: N56° 26` 17.8", E24° 3` 9.841" | Website: mezotnespils.lv/lv/

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Mežotne palace is located in Bauska district, Mežotne parish. The castle is built at the end of the 18th century (1797.-1802). Mežotne palace is one of the most remarkable classicism architecture examples in Latvia. 

The palace is built by a suggestion from Russian court lady Sh. von Lieven. It has been built after Eleja palace project made by Petersburg architect G. Quarenghi, which was changed by Mežotne palace construction director J.G.A. Berlic.

In the middle of the 18th century this manor was obtained by Johann Friedrich von Medem.

The main facade consists of four column portico with pediment, and a round hall with a dome revetment is facing the park. Palace interior is richly decorated. Palace was destroyed both during WW I and WW II, but it was always renewed. There are also economical buildings in the manor complex.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Catherine the Great gave Mežotne to her lady-in-waiting Leven, who ordered to build a palace. Leven family were keeping the property until agrarian reform. Charlotte von Leven started the palace construction in 1797 after the project made by Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi. Construction works were completed in 1802, but the inside works in 1817. Manor house is surrounded by a landscape park with a wide field in front of the building. There was a pavilion on the coast of Lielupe, from which only ruins are preserved up to today.

There is a wide park by the palace, uncovering views over Lielupe river, wooden ruins, castle mound (Wine hill) and manors. After agrarian reformation in 1920 manor owner Anatoly Lieven left it and from 1921 to 1944 an agriculture school was located in the centre of manor. Mežotne manor lad was separated in 110 new farms with the total area of 1696ha. During the WW II Lielupe river, which flows by Mežotne, was forced and the manor buildings were partially destroyed during the fights. In 1946 Latvian agriculture selection and test station was formed in the former manor centre – administration premises and employee apartments were located in the landlords’ house.

In 1996 Mežotne palace was given to State real estate agency. A hotel was made on the third floor of the palace in 2000. The building is managed by “Mežotnes pils” Ltd.

***Legends***

Mežotne castle mound is located on the left coast of Lielupe, in front of Mežotne city. Once upon a time a shepherd was looking over his sheep next to the castle mound. The morning was early and the boy started to fall asleep. He lay down in the grass and was soon asleep. When he woke up, he saw that one sheep was missing. Seeing that the other sheep were calmly eating, he went to look for the missing one. The sheep was calmly eating between the bushes. The boy tried to force the sheep back to the herd, but she was keeping going back. In one moment the sheep went into a cave by the bush. The boy followed the sheep. He saw the old Mežotne palace in front of him. He saw the old Zemgali soldiers leaning on their spears in the palace yard. The boy wanted to scream, but some voice told him: “look at these mute heroes and learn to protect your country!” The boy got very scared, quickly got his sheep out of the cave and was not coming near to this place for a long time.