Bauska Castle

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Bauska Castle
Zemgale, Latvia
3 Bauskas-pils-9apr04.jpg
Coordinates 56°24′13″N 24°10′25″E / 56.40361°N 24.17361°E / 56.40361; 24.17361Coordinates: 56°24′13″N 24°10′25″E / 56.40361°N 24.17361°E / 56.40361; 24.17361
Type Castle
Site information
Open to
the public
Condition Partly restored.
Website Bauska Castle and Museum
Site history
Built 15th.- 16th. century.
Built by Livonian order

Bauska Castle (Latvian: Bauskas Pils; German: Schloss Bauske) is a complex consisting of the ruins of an earlier castle and a later palace on the outskirts of the Latvian city of Bauska.


Castle ruins in 1792
Castle courtyard in 2014
The inner courtyard of the unrestored half of the Castle

The impressive castle, the remains of which were recently restored, stands on the narrow peninsula at the confluence of the rivers Mūsa and Mēmele where they form the Lielupe river. In ancient times, the hill was the site of an ancient Semigallian fortress. The first stone buildings were established between 1443 and 1456 by the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights and construction continued till the end of the 16th century. The old section of the castle featured a great watch tower, 3.5 meter thick walls, a prison under the tower, a garrison, and a drawbridge at the gates.

Construction started under the rule of the Master of the Livonian Order, Heidenreich Vinke von Overberg (1439 – 1450). Castle was intended to strengthen Order's power over Semigallia, to protect the border with Grand Duchy of Lithuania and to control the trade route from Lithuania to Riga. The castle was both military stronghold and the administrative center of the area.

After the collapse of the Livonian Order in 1562, Bauska Castle became one of the residences of the Dukes of Courland, for whom a new adjacent wing was built in the 17th century. In 1568, 1590 and 1601 the Landtags of Duchy of Courland and Semigallia were held here.

In 1706, during the Great Northern War, both castle and palace were blown up by the retreating Russians and left unrestored.


Only ruins remain from the seat of the Livonian order. The palace, however, is fully restored and can be visited daily during the summer months. Visitors can explore the castle, visit the museum, eat in the café, and climb the castle keep lookout tower, which has an extensive panoramic view of the surrounding city and countryside. And in every July an international festival of medieval music is held here.


  • Krahe, Friedrich-Wilhelm (2000). Burgen des deutschen Mittelalters. Grundriss-Lexikon (in German). Flechsig. p. 693. ISBN 3-88189-360-1. 

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