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Castle of Tukums

Location: N56° 57` 52.7", E23° 9` 20.01"

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Tukums castle was one of the Livonian order castles, which was under the charge of a master. Name of Tukums is first mentioned in land division document in 1253 – according to which Tukums became under the ruling of order. It was built in 14th century. Tukums castle was located by the main traffic road which led from Livonia to Prussia, and for the travelers it was the first settlement place between Riga and Kandava.

It is known that in 1381 master William of Freimersheim was living in Tukums castle. Starting from the 15th century, name of Tukums was very often seen in written sources. It is known that meetings of Livonian coats of representatives were held in castle in 1463 and 1481. In 15th century Tukums castle was under direct authority of order master. It was run by managers who were recruited by the master – war servants, not the order brothers. During the fights between the order and Riga in 1484, Rigans attacked Tukums and burned it down. At the end of Order State existence, Tukums castle was close to collapse. In 1563 during Landtag it was discussed whether it is worth rebuilding it. 

On the 17th century castle suffered several times because of the war. In 1605 Swedish king Carl IX with his 4000 men invaded Tukums and the castle and burned it down. Those times Tukums was called an old, unfortified castle. It was not renewed also in 1613.

Duke of Kurzeme in 1618 announced Tukums castle to be the residency of lord of the manor, and in 1653 – residency of the highest lord of the manor. Duke Jacob in 1653 ordered to repair the castle and design it again.  

Swedes occupied Tukums again in 1622, 1625 and 1658, and in 1659 when they were going away, they took both castle cannonballs with them.

Until 1730 there was higher captain’s instance court of Tukums city. Part of the castle roof and wool collapsed that year. Architect Barnikel of the duchy informed he duke Ernst in 1740 that the Tukums castle is completely collapsed. A medium sized two storey tower like building was built on the northwest corner, using three existing walls and building additional new southern wall, where the regional prison was formed. The rest of the ruins served as a quarry for locals up to 1827, where it was possible to obtain cheap materials for construction of their own buildings.