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The Castle of the Livonian Order in Ventspils, Ventspils Livonijas ordeņa pils, Ventspils, Pils

The Castle of the Livonian Order in Ventspils

Code: V-2128
Author: Aivars Gulbis
Photo taken on April 29, 2020
FREE 1000 x 667 px
72 dpi
283 KB
L 6000 x 4000 px
50.8 x 33.87 cm / 300 dpi
23.4 MB

The Castle of the Livonian Order in Ventspils

Code: V-2128
Author: Aivars Gulbis
Photo taken on April 29, 2020
FREE 1000 x 667 px
72 dpi
283 KB
L 6000 x 4000 px
50.8 x 33.87 cm / 300 dpi
23.4 MB

The Castle of the Livonian order, which houses Ventspils Museum since September 2001, is the oldest preserved building in Ventspils, built in the second half of the 13th century (first mentioned in 1290).
The castle was built as a convent-house type building with an inner yard, and can be regarded as the oldest medieval fortress in Latvia to have retained its original form virtually unchanged.

In its turn, the castle chapel is the oldest preserved church building in the region of Kurzeme. In the 13th–16th century the castle was used by the brothers of the Livonian Order, later there was an Evangelical Lutheran church in the castle (1706–1835), a Russian Orthodox church (1845–1901) and also a prison (1832–1959). The castle housed various administrative institutions and army units. The Soviet garrison left the castle in 1983. In 1997 the castle fa?ades were restored and the area around it improved. In the course of study and restoration work, unique 15th–17th century mural fragments were discovered under several layers of plaster, and much evidence concerning the castle and its inhabitants was obtained during archaeological excavation.

Restoration work is still underway. In early September 2001, when the first stage of restoration was complete, the permanent exhibition of Ventspils Museum opened, devoted to the history of the castle, the city, the port and the Ventspils region, and featuring Latvia’s only digital exhibition ‘Living history’. The exhibition has been arranged in the attractive castle tower, which has a ‘tele-panorama’ on the fifth floor, as well on as the first floor of the castle, where the great chimney can be seen, and where there is also a museum education centre providing the opportunity for children’s and young people’s activities. The final stage in the rebirth of the castle is closely related to the years of 2011-2012. A new, stae-of-art exhibition of the museum has now been revealed there.

The museum regularly sees temporary exhibitions on art and history, as well as concerts and other events that enrich the city’s cultural life.


The oldest (13th century) convent-type castle in Latvia, which has survived despite numerous rebuilding phases.  The castle used to be viewed as a symbol of great strength and power by all the rulers of Ventspils and its surrounding area. Every ruler used the place as they saw fit - it has heard the prayers of clergymen, hosted the feasts of governors, witnessed the rattling of weapons, and pitied the sighs of prisoners.

After extensive renovations in 2001 the castle became a home to the Ventspils museum, which has been recognized as one of the most modern museums in the Baltics. The castle is now one of the most visited sites in Kurzeme. It features the “Dzīvā vēsture” (Living History) digital exposition– the first of its kind in Latvian museums. Permanent historical expositions reflect the development of the Ventspils port and the history from the arrival of the first settlers in Ventspils county until today. The image gallery “Spoku pagrabs” (GhostCellar) features the inhabitants of the castle from the earliest times.  The castle also hosts the “Kroņa maizē” (Living on Coronal Bread) prison exhibitreflecting the atmosphere of the prison located here during the Soviet times. It hosts various art and historical exhibits, concerts, and other cultural events as well as the annual Knight Tournament – May Holiday.

During the warmer months, anyone may try their hand at archery in the courtyard of the castle, and, having scheduled in advance, fire a real cannon. The castle comes to life particularly during the annual Sea Festival and the City Festival. You can enjoy a fantastic meal at the cosy medieval tavern “Melnais sivēns” (The Black Piglet).

At the Livonian Order Castle you may sign up for various educational and informational programs, which go together with current expositions and exhibits at the castle.


The Livonian Order Castle is one of the oldest medieval fortresses that has survived to this day. In 1290 the castle was first chronicled and this date is now considered to be the year of Ventspils’ foundation.

In 1995 there was begun extensive archaelogical research and renovation of the Castle. Renovating the Castle, there were retained both niches of the 14th century and wall paintings of the 15th century, door openings of the 17th century and prision doors of the 19th century. Now outwardly the Castle has obtained its 19th century look.

The Livonian Order castle differs from other medieval fortresses with its interior, where modern design of museum exhibits’ stands harmonizes with the historic environment. There is located the museum of Ventspils which is recognized as one of the most up-to-date museums in Baltic States.

You can learn about the history of the Castle, the city and the port via the digitalised exposition “Living History” which has earned the praise of historians and is regularly updated with new information. For great visual effects you may visit the image gallery “Ghost Cellar”. There was opened the Exhibition of the Prison Kroņa maizē which is established in a building built in the Castle yard (in 1850). The exposition lets you catch a feeling of supervision and spying inherent to prison, and also witnesses the versatile history of the Livonian Order Castle.

The Livonian Order Castle offers activities all year round: concerts, history and art exhibitions on various topics.

For younger audience museum’s employees offer educational activities and creative workshops, which in active way stimulate interests about Ventspils’ history. With booking in advance you can try your skills in archery or shoot with real cannon.

You can experience spirits of the passed times and test your skills in archery.


Schoolchildren, students, seniors  – EUR 1,50 or EUR 1,00 + 50 venti

Adults – EUR 3,00 or EUR 2,30 + 70 venti

Family ticket (2 adults + 1-5 children) – EUR 6,00 or EUR 4,30 + 170 venti

Discount for group visit: a free ticket for every sixteenth group visitor (15+1; 30+2; 45+3)

Guide services, museum educational programs - EUR 11

All day ticket for all museums:

Schoolchildren, students, seniors – EUR 2,50

Adults – EUR 5,00

Family ticket (2 adults + 1-5 children) – EUR 10,00

Address: Jāņa iela 17, Ventspils, LV 3601

Phone.: +371 63622031; 63626288;

E-mail: muzejs@ventspils.lv


GPS 57.396149932002906 / 21.558759212493896

Working times:

Monday             closed

Tuesday           10:00 – 18:00

Wednesday     10:00 – 18:00

Thursday         10:00 – 18:00

Friday               10:00 – 18:00

Saturday          10:00 – 18:00

Sunday            10:00 – 18:00


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