Burg Wack

Burg Wack, or the castle of Vao, is described as a tower-fortress, the keep being one of the few surviving edifices. Background literature, as well as local guides, describe surrounding earthworks and fortifications around the keep, but their extent is unknown.

The guided tour is a story worth sharing: it turns out anyone can go into the the castle if they contact the Väike-Maarja Museum and ask for entry into the castle. I didn’t know about this when I got to the site on my bike, but I did find a guide present, waiting for the people who had actually requested to walk inside the castle. But, they were late (or the guide was early) and I was able to use the time for my benefit and to go and walk around, inside the tower.

The small size of the castle is its most notable aspect. I hope the pictures convey some of the sense of it. About ten metres by ten metres, the nearly square tower has some classic Medieval staircases—i.e., stairs one wouldn’t want to fight one’s way up—which the visitor needs to climb to get to the main floors. The upper floors are open-plan, with one large room, while the lower ones have cellars and other smaller rooms. It is believed the original entrance stood higher than the ground-floor, but I believe its specific location is unknown.

While walking around these ruins, its clear that the lords who built this were not the mightiest family in the land. They likely suffered through a few lean winters to manage even this, though the lords who actually saw it built must have been contented with what they managed. Yet, Wack doesn’t compare very well with the larger convent-houses or castles as built by the Livonian Order or the Prince-Bishops. Nevertheless, I think it worth a visit.

About the author

Offer Up Your Thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.