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Mezotne castle mound

Location: N56° 26` 29.3", E24° 2` 41.79"

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Mezotne castle mound is located on the left coast of Lielupe. The castle mound is built on a 16m high ground corner. The Eastern side is demarcated by a steep coast of Lielupe, and from the Northern side – ravine of a breech. On the Western and Southern sides the castle mound is indurate with two ramparts from ditches, out of which the biggest rampart is 7-8m high and 75m long. The second rampart holds the castle mound in a semicircle with the overall length of 150m from the South and West. Entrance was through the Western slope. The plateau is elongated, 40x80m wide, on the Northern, Western and Southwest sides is an ancient town which takes about 13 hectares and from the Southern side it reaches another, smaller castle mound called Wine mountain.

Ancient harbor place was located by the castle mound. Antiques found during the excavations are referred to 9.-13th century. After the chronicles and documents of the 13th century, castrum Mesiothe is localized on Mezotne mound, which was the most significant centre in Eastern Zemgale.

In 1219 crusader garrison was accommodated in Mezotne castle, which was attacked by Zemgali army led by Viestards. In 1220 about 8000 Germans, Livs and Latgali surrounded Mezotne castle and after a long fight they occupied, robbed and burned it down. In 1225 Selija diocese was moved to Mezotne, which was the administrative centre of the later Zemgale diocese. In 1232 Mezotne castle became the residency of Zemgale diocese pope Heydenricus and the capitol. In agreement of 1254 about the division of Upmale district, Livonia order received Mezotne castle mound and every land of the left coast of river Lielupe up to the Long island (called Jelgava today). In 1270 the ancient castle was destroyed and after the defeat a big part of the old city civilians moved to the lands belonging to Lithuania. Until the 1321 Livonian order master Gerhard von Jorke again built an order castle on the Mezotne castle mound. In 1346 Lithuanian ruler Algirdas, together with rebelling Zemgali, destroyed Mezotne castle which was not rebuild anymore.

***Legends***

It was surrounded by rich cornfields and oak forest. Some Latvian tribe lived here. Soon after Germans came in, Latvians noted that they will have to fight with Germans, so they started to make a mountain. They took the soil for the mountain where the maelstrom is now. The mountain was soon ready, and Latvians built a castle on top of it – strong and magnificent, from the oak wood. But then some Latvian chieftains started to be too proud of their magnificent castle and started to scorn Gods and stopped to honor them. Gods got angry because of this and decided to teach not only the chieftains, but the whole tribe. Gods sunk the new, strong palace as the punishment. The castle was starting to drown, because the Gods were digging the ground and threw the soil in the river. That is why there are shoals next to Mezotne castle. After the castle was sunken, Latvian tribe went away – the legend does not tell where.

***

Mezotne castle mound was built by slaves. They were digging a maelstrom and carried the soil in their aprons. Now there is a very deep maelstrom next to the castle mound, where the water is sometimes boiling like in cattle.

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Some other legend tells that Mezotne castle sunk with many different treasures. If this castle will rise some time again, then it will not lack on treasures. If you touch the castle rampart on the Western side, it is still possible to feel the chimney of the old, sunken castle.