Rõngu is a small place in Southern Estonia, much like that of Rannu a bit to its north. The one exception, and it is a relevant one, is that the ruins here are situated in a public park (gifted to the local community by one of the Baltic German nobles) — and there is also something here to see. This last bit is potentially the most striking of differences, and though the ruins are not extensive, they are interesting. Continue reading “Bischofsburg Ringen (Rõngu)”
Rannu is a place I had never heard of before starting to explore the history of Southern Estonia, and then noting that a castle had existed there. And, indeed, “had existed” normally means that something can be discovered or at least one’s own perspective improved so I went to take a look. Continue reading “Bischofsburg Randen (Rannu)”
Warbeck is another one of the castles on the Suur Emajõgi which I have managed to go past. Further downstream from the castle at Vana-Kastre, this place served a similar purpose in hopefully deterring would-be pirates and raiders while also acting as a toll station for any traders wanting to engage with the economic centre of the Bishopric of Dorpat.
The cute tower now known as Kiiu carries the dubious distinction of being the smallest surviving Medieval military building in the Baltics. This should lead the intrepid explorer to think from the start that there’s not a lot to go around here even though what there is has a wonderful atmosphere. If Kiiu ends up being on your route, do stop by and take a look!
The Estonian Otepää is mostly known to the locals as a winter resort, but this is a place where known history stretches back into the early 12th century — in some form or another. Mostly this is due to the ever helpful neighbouring Rus states, the typical ones to try and extend into these lands being the Novgorodians. The Germans, of course, came in their own time and we know some about their adventures here as well, and for a while the city could have been called the capital of the bishopric in which it was based.
Oldentorne, or in today’s language, Vana-Kastre was the site of a castle in the Bishopric of Dorpat (Tartu). Not much is left today — I only found a bit of surviving masonry, overgrown by the trees present, and there is a lot of overgrowth present. There might have been some attempts to save this place from nature but it did not last long, and I feel like the local villagers would have taken the potential for stones and used them in dwellings they required after the castle fell into disuse. Continue reading “Bischofsburg Oldentorne (Vana-Kastre)”
An ordensburg is much the same as a bischofsburg, just for the Order and not a Bishop. The Order in this case is the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order who took Keila over when the old owners decided they had enough and could sell the place. The Order was quite appreciative of this, and Keila’s importance grew considerably with this place becoming one of the most important castles near Tallinn (Reval) where a lot of the logistics was determined, also evidenced by the Order’s Komtur (Commander) of Tallinn living here.
English regrettably lacks the term I was looking for here, or at least it’s clumsier than Bischofsburg: Episcopal Castle, so I’ve gone with the German term. I guess this comes from the fact that rarely were bishops there highest secular power in a region/area in the British Isles and so their construction efforts took the form of palaces and priories more than castles (North Elmham is a good exception but it’s still called ‘castle’ and it’s bishop was definitely subservient to the King with regards to secular folk in the Bishopric of Norwich). Continue reading “Bischofsburg Hapsal (Haapsalu)”