06 March, 2014
Latvia may never have been a mighty kingdom, but there are plenty of ancient fortresses and stunning palaces to visit, with hundreds of different locations still standing! In each Latvian parish and town there’s at least one beautiful manor house or medieval knight’s castle with its own history, unique architecture and heritage.
The first castles were built over a thousand years ago, but most of the ones built before the 16th century have since crumbled with age and the oldest is now Riga castle, which still serves as the residence of the President of Latvia. Found on the banks of the River Daugava, the castle was originally built in 1330 but has been reconstructed over the years in order to preserve it. Tragically, last year there was a large fire in Riga Castle, which totally destroyed the roof and several of the rooms, meaning you can’t visit parts of the castle until they’re repaired but it’s still worth a look!
Many manors have survived and retain their spendour, and with a castle everywhere you turn, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Many of the castles are now hotels or spas, where you can enjoy an aristocratic meal or spa treatments as a break from studying Russian!
Jade Mitchell-Ross is an English student, currently on an internship while studying Russian at Liden & Denz