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Castle of Sigulda

Location: N57° 9` 58.06", E24° 50` 59.4"

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Sigulda medieval castle is a medieval castle in Sigulda, on the left bay of Gauja valley. One the Southern side, castle place is separated with a ravine. Sigulda is a highland castle, whose protection was mostly provided by high and steep slopes of the hill. It has been built during the time of Venno – master of Livonian Brothers of the Sword, at the very beginning of the 13th century – in time between 1207 and 1209. It was one of the first four convent headquarters of the order. Sigulda castle served for the control of Gauja waterway and also for resistance against Turaida castle which belonged to bishop and was located on the right bay of Gauja. Originally it was castellum type stronghold with a chapel. At the very beginning Sigulda castle was used as the support point for honors brothers when attacking Latgalians and Livs living in the neighboring Satesele castle mound.  

In 1224 castle was visited by papal legate William of Modena. He established the church and the congregation. After the defeat of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in 1236 in the battle of the Sun, the castle was inhabited by Livonia order, which made great rebuilding, transforming the castle into a building of a convent type. Culmination of the construction was reached in the 15th century. The Southern square form gate tower and the tower at the end of the bridge were built around this time as well. With fire guns developing, medieval strongholds gradually lost its original meaning. From 1239-1432 10 of Sigulda commandery were living in the castle. It was one of the first four convent building, and starting from 1432 it served as headquarters of Livonia order land marshal.

From 1422-1559 there were living 12 vogts and also several officials who were liable to land marshal. Two years starting from 1560 commandery were again living in the castle. During the war of Livonia, Sigulda castle was the residency of the administrator of Livonian duchy (1566-1578). The castle has suffered at the beginning of the war of Livonia. In 1566 when Livonian duchy was established in structure of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Sigulda castle became the residency of its intendant (1566-1578). In 1582-1590 Poles are doing audit of the castle buildings.

Since the 14th century there has been a palace settlement where in 1434 was located a rented pub of blackheads (unmarried traders association in medieval period). A road through Sigulda from Riga to Cesis and further to Tartu, Viljandi and Pskov was going long back since medieval times. In 1442 Sigulda was included in tour of visitors sent by German order as important castle of order.

Sigulda castle has suffered at the beginning of the war of Livonia already, but in 1562 castle became as one of Polish starostwo. In 1582 and 1590 Poles have done an audit of the castle buildings. In 1601-1629 during the Pole-Swede war, castle was greatly destroyed. From all the castle remains, southwest wing has been best preserved. In 1625 king of Sweden presented Sigulda to Gabriel – youngest brother of Axel Oxenstierna, but it was taken from him after manor reduction. In 1680 Sigulda castle plan was made, which now is being kept in War archive in Stockholm.

In the 17th century, manor centre was starting to build in suburban territory of the castle. In 1622 ware were wooden living building, sauna and a barn. At the beginning of the 18th century during the Northern warn, castle was destroyed and was not again renewed. 

In 1737 Sigulda fell into hands of count of Lacy, later in property of Brown and Borh families. In 1794 manor centre buildings were shown by local historian Johann Christoph Brotze.