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Rauna castle place

Location: N57° 19` 47.4", E25° 36` 16.3" | Website: v/turisms/apskates-objekti-rau...-pilskalns

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Tanisa hill or Tanisa hillfort is a castle mound in Rauna. The hillfort is located on the left coast of Rauna river, by the Rauna road, on the Western part of Rauna village.

Plateau of the hill is 4000m2, and about one tenth part of it has been explored during archaeological excavations. The plateau is surrounded by 10m high hill sides which are artificially steeped. The Northern side of the hill, which is facing Rauna river, is naturally steep and unapproachable. Subsoil of the castle mound is clay and light sandstone rock.

Tanisa castle mound was one of the biggest and most indurate hill forts of ancient Latgalians. Rauna Tanisa hill has been castle of bishops’ vassal. The hill has been populated since the 6th century B.C. There is no reliable information in written sources on Rauna wooden fortress on Tanisa hill, but materials found in hill excavations prove that intensive population here has been also in 13.-14th century, proven by the wooden building uncovered at the top of the hill, which has been heated with stones oven. In archeologist’s F.Balodis opinion, there have been fortifications around the hill plateau – wooden stake fence. However in the medieval layer coins have been found – seven bracteates which relates to time from the second half of the 13th century until the middle of the 14th century. There have been thoughts that on Rauna castle mound was located Beverina which was mentioned in Henry’s Chronicle.

Rauna is an old noun, as evidenced by the fact that the stone castle got its name from the name of Rauna river. Therefore it very possible that Tanisa hill was also called Rauna or Rauna castle during the time of population.

In written sources, bishop’s castle in Rauna has been mentioned several times, starting from the 80ies in the 14th century, so the assumption of A. Tulse seems believable, that the building of the stone castle was started not before the middle of the 14th century.

Tanisa hill received its today’s name in the 15th century when several land properties in palace settlement were owned by Tonis Renne. 

***Legends ***

Once upon a time there was a count living in Rauna. He has ordered to build a castle on the top of the hill, so that it could be possible to defend from the enemy during the attack. The count was very mad – he ordered the poor peasants to do this job. Peasants were carrying the soil in their hats, but women in their aprons. The hill got elevated and the castle was built on top of it. After some time the enemy invaded. It wanted to subjugate Rauna district. The enemy walked to the castle gates and asked the count to give himself into captivity, but the count did not agree with that at once. The enemy destroyed the castle and took all its civilians into captivity, but only the count and his most loyal servant managed to escape. Count ordered to renew the castle, but now the castle had to be made even higher. Peasant again hat to work in favor of the count. This time the castle had to be surrounded by a deep ditch filled with water. Bascule bridge had to be installed over the ditch. The enemy destroyed the castle again and also killed the count. Castle was not renewed. The hill and the ditch are extant even today.