Bischofsburg Kremon (Krimulda)

Old Kremon has foundered, one might say. Little remains of it except the bounding wall, but this was not the mightiest of castles overlooking the Gaulja even in the old days. The Archbishop of Riga wanted a castle here, however, and he got it. The scenery about the place is absolutely wonderful, especially if the visitor finds themselves here on a glistening summer’s day.

Ruins of the keep

The first Bishop who got ownership of these lands (including the nearby Turaida) in 1207 was Albert von Buxhoeveden. Albert’s death in 1231 meant the properties were inherited by the Rigan Bishopric who a few decades on, in 1255, fortified Krimulda. The man overseeing this project was Albert II Suerbeer, the first Archbishop, who had only taken on power in these lands two years before after many years of nominal control.

The Livonian Order took the castle over briefly in a war in 1312, but gave it back to the Archbishop soon after. The castle was sacked anew in 1556 in one of the interminable conflicts in Old Livonia, but soon after passed into Polish hands when the Rigan Archbishop followed the Livonian Master Kettler and submitted to the Polish king. The Polish determined this to be the administrative centre with a starost in residence.

The 18th century would see the final decline of the place, but before then there are still a few hundred years — the Polish overlordship would also mean conflicts with Sweden in the early 17th century before the lands were passed to the Lion of the North in a treaty. One of these conflicts found Krimulda the centre of a Polish story with General Jürgen Fahrensbach fortifying his position here. He was outnumbered, typically to the Polish, about six to one, and his men tried to assassinate him in his tent. The general, also a Senator of the Commonwealth, survived, however, and continued to lead his troops for another year until dying at the Siege of Fellin in 1602.

Krimulda survived him as well, and may have been undamaged in the Great Northern War. It is soon after this that the place is reported as having fallen into disrepair, however, so perhaps it received some collateral damage as is so often the case.

This place forms a historic unity if viewed alongside Turaida and Sigulda, the two other castles in close proximity, and all on the banks of the River Gaulja. This section of the Gaulja Valley is therefore wonderful to see, and Krimulda, though perhaps not the mightiest present, has some history to rival even the better-preserved neighbours.

The path under the walls

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