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Rauna castle ruins

Location: N57° 19` 49.6", E25° 36` 41.9" | Website: v/turisms/apskates-objekti-rau...atu-tornis

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Rauna castle ruins are one of the most extensive and best preserved castle ruins in Latvia. Rauna stone castle has been build in second half of the 14th century, and it was one of main places of residence of archbishop of Riga during winter – from 29th of September in Michaelmas up to 2nd of February in Candle day, enjoying safety and cover in the convent building, built at the top of the hill. But plenty of documents are proving that the archbishops lived here also during other seasons from time to time.

Rauna stone castle is built in “Latvian part” of Riga archdiocese, not far from the border with the order state. In written source, Rauna castle was first mentioned in 1381, in a document signed by archbishop Johan IV.

Rauna castle used to be remarkable with portrait frescos covering all the walls in chapter of priests’ hall and descriptions of their works in short epigrams, written in around 1561. Palace settlement was located near Rauna castle, which has been mentioned in sources since 1471.

Castle was surrounded by both a stone wall and an artificially made trench. Main buildings of the fortress are built in the 14th century, but he round towers in security system were introduced at the very beginning of the 16th century.

The abandoned fortress is well preserved after the Great Northern War (at the beginning of the 18th century), with its wall height, crafts perfection of stone wall and building corners, as well as the richness of details of building plastics.

Most significant rebuilding of the caste can be connected with archbishop Jaspar Linde who was ruling from 1509-1524, when the fortification of the castle reached their maximum extent. The northeast corner tower of the frontal castle was built in his time, and the tower “Tall Kaspars” has been named by him.  

In 1530 Rauna gets obtained by archbishop Wilhelm von Brandenburg. In 1479, 1522 and 1556 Rauna was occupied by order, taking into hostage the archbishop, and finally burning the castle down.  

In 1557, during the Livonian war, castle was occupied by Russian forces. In 1582 it was occupied by Poles. In 1683, after command of the King of Sweden, outer fortifications of Rauna castle were demolished and later no rebuilding of the castle was made so it gradually started to collapse. The last castle stock-taking was made by Swedes in 1688. 

What did the castle look like?

    The castle is built few meters from the right shore of Rauna river. On the Northern and Southern part of the castle settlement there is an artificially made ditch. Castle has been built from rubble, valves are built from bricks. In the basement there was a jail and storages, but on the first floor there were utility rooms. On the second floor which is thought to be the main floor, a chapel was located, whose windows were decorated with maswerks. The third floor was called floor of weapons. It was not divided into rooms. When the rebuilding was made on the second decade of the 16th century, the second floor of the castle received magnificent valves with consoles minted in sandstone, large windows and new brick lintels. In the 17th century soil ramparts are made around the castle, where vaulted casemates were installed. The main entrance into the castle was going through the vaulted passage from the Eastern side. Information about how the castle looked, buildings and their divisions into rooms and their usage can be found in stock-counting materials of the 17th century. Research: in period of 172-1817, castle ruins are repeatedly drawn and described by J.K.Broce.