Ordensburg Segewold (Sigulda)

Not having written about any castles in a while, I am not sure my mindset is the same as it was beforehand. I have also been to quite a few historical sites over the last few months, so I am talking from a more general point of view.

Sigulda — or Segewold as it was known beforehand — was an incredibly important Livonian fortress. Not only was it one of the better-fortified sites (and the natural geography of the area is absolutely superb: I would not have wanted to be attacking Segewold in its heyday), but it was also part of the corridor of Order-owned forts which connected their fiefdoms of the north to the south. The neighbouring castles in their majority were owned by the Archbishop of Riga — an enemy at worst, and an unwelcome ally at best. Continue reading “Ordensburg Segewold (Sigulda)”

Ordensburg Arrasch (Araiši)

Arrasch is a site which is more known for its pre-Christian lake dwelling reconstruction, but the locale also hosted an Ordensburg for many centuries — and indeed this is what I was hoping to describe here. The truth is, however, that we know very little about this place under the order and the ruins which are extant today do not create a mighty impression. We are truly talking about a smaller holding in between the major castles of Cesis (Wenden) and Sigulda (Segewold) with the Order properties hemmed in on either side by the Archbishop of Riga.

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Bischofsburg Ringen (Rõngu)

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)”

Review: Liivimaa riimkroonika

Hinnang: 4 / 5

Ajaloolisi allikaid on raske, isegi ehk võimatu, hinnata tänapäevaste standardite järgi, kui just selleks ei võta teose võimalikku kasulikkust praegusele ajahetkele. Liivimaa riimkroonikal, või siis õigemini Liivimaa vanemal riimkroonikal, seda eriti ei ole. Siin teoses ei tooda välja suuri moraale ega lahendata eksistentsialistlikke probleeme.

Selle asemel on tegu kirjeldusega Riia linna, Mõõgavendade ordu ja Liivi ordu tegemistest 13.ndal sajandil, peamise rõhuga Lätis. Enamus mainitud kohtasid on praeguseks kadunud või varemetes kui me nende asukohta üldse aimame, ning läbikäivate inimeste nimed ei ole vast tänapäevaste inimeste kõrvu kordagi jõudnud. Sellegipoolest on tegu julgete karakteridega, kes astusid vastu (põhieesmärgiga siiski omakasu saamiseks) kohalike rahvastele ning kõige huvitavamaks aspektiks ongi äkki kirjeldusest läbikäiv kohalike rahvaste südisus vastupanus.

Veel üks asi, mida tasub mainida, on autori järjepidevus suhteliselt standartse riimikasutuses — tema keeles ei olnud väga palju või häid võimalusi, kuid ta on järginud ja pusinud läbi umbes kaheteisttuhande riimirea, mis on päris hea saavutus (eriti arvestades, et see projekt võttis vist aega umbes kuus aastat ning takistus edukale lõpule oli ilmselt kirjutada surm).

Burg Kyda (Kiiu)

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!

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Ordensburg Keikael (Keila)

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.

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Review: Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (2), Stephen Turnbull

Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (2): The stone castles of Latvia and Estonia 1185–1560Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (2): The stone castles of Latvia and Estonia 1185–1560 by Stephen Turnbull
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this a bit more than the previous volume, mostly because Mr Turnbull had described the religious and organisatorial aspects of the Teutonic life and was able to input more about various episodes. Primarily, as the nature of the subject here is the Livonian chapter, these episodes concerned undertakings in the Northern Baltics but some were also relevant in light of the previous volume. Continue reading “Review: Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (2), Stephen Turnbull”

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