Daugavgrīva castle

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The Swedish army bombarding the fortress of Dünamünde.

Daugavgrīva Castle (German: Dünamünde; Polish: Dynemunt; Russian: Усть-Двинск or Ust`-Dvinsk) is a former monastery converted into a castle, located at Vecdaugava oxbow on right bank of Daugava, in the northern part of Riga city, Latvia. Nowadays here are seen only earthen ramparts.


The first settlement, Daugavgrīva Abbey, was established on the right bank of the Daugava river, 13 miles from Bishop Albert of Riga's residence in Riga, by Cistercian monks from Pforta in 1205. Theoderich von Treyden was an early abbot, while during the 1210s Count Bernhard II of Lippe was its abbot. During a raid of tribal Curonians in 1228,[1] the monastery and its tombs were destroyed, although the monks rebuilt the abbey after fighting died down. They also had to endure abuse by the undisciplined crusaders of the Livonian Order. Those knights were defeated at the Battle of Saule, however, and their remnants were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights in 1237. Until 1452 the territory of Siggelkow in Mecklenburg was owned by the monastery. In 1305, the local abbot sold the monastery to the Livonian Branch of the Teutonic Knights, who began construction of the fortress of Dünamünde.

Daugavgriva Castle engraved by Giacomo Lauro in 1601.

In 1329, the knights' castle was taken by the burghers of Riga, who were forced to return it to the knights in 1435. In 1481, the knights closed the Daugava to navigation by stretching an iron chain from Dünamünde to the opposite riverbank, thus hoping to ruin Riga's trade. In retaliation the citizens of Riga captured Dünamünde and destroyed it. The knights returned to rebuild the stronghold eight years later. Because Riga itself was controlled by the Archbishops, the local administrative seat (Komturei) of the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights was located in Dünamünde.

In 1561 during the Livonian War, Dünamünde became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and afterwards of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the second half of 16th century Daugava made a new river-bed and the new mouth about five kilometers to the west. Thence the Poles made the small fortress near the new river mouth. In 1582 the new fortress was inspected by King Stephen Bathory, who referred to it as Dynemunt. On August 1, 1608 the fortress was taken by the Swedes under Count Frederick Joachim Mansfeld who renamed it Neumünde ("new mouth"). This new fortress is located in the area of contemporary Daugavgrīva neighborhood of Riga. By 1653 a map issued by Swedish Military council showed that the fortress was destroyed and the castle was in ruins. Stones from the walls of castle were used for the construction of the new Daugavgriva fortress on the other bank of Daugava river. Joachim Cronman later became commandant and died there on March 5, 1703.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See the Livonian Chronicle by Hermann de Wartberge, as cited here.
  2. ^ Johan Gabriel Sparwenfeld (2002). J.G. Sparwenfeld's diary of a journey to Russia 1684-87. Joakim Cronman (d. 1703), colonel with the garrison regiment of Narva 1679, colonel with the Savolaks and Nyslott provincial regiment 1683, commandant at Neumünde fortlet ... 


  • Zarāns, Alberts (2006). Latvijas pilis un muižas. Castles and manors of Latvia (in Latvian and English). Riga. ISBN 9984-785-05-X. OCLC 72358861. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°03′17″N 24°05′34″E / 57.05480°N 24.09272°E / 57.05480; 24.09272