Livonian Order Castle


Order castle in the early 20th century view from the NE
Order castle in the early 20th century view from the NE
Castle ruins from the NE in 2014
Castle ruins from the NE in 2014
Order castle in the early 20th century view from the NE
Order castle in the early 20th century view from the NE
Northern side of castle ruins in 2015
Northern side of castle ruins in 2015
View of the W side of the castle of the Order around 1900.
View of the W side of the castle of the Order around 1900.
Castle ruins from the west in 2001
Castle ruins from the west in 2001
View of the SE side of the Order Castle in the 1920s and 1930s.
View of the SE side of the Order Castle in the 1920s and 1930s.
Castle ruins from the SE side in 2015
Castle ruins from the SE side in 2015
The courtyard of the Order Castle at the beginning of the 20th century.
The courtyard of the Order Castle at the beginning of the 20th century.
The courtyard of the castle in 2015
The courtyard of the castle in 2015


During the state of the Livonian Knights' Order, the Aizpute Castle and the lands belonging to it were the property of the Kuldīga Commander (Komtur). The time of construction of the castle is uncertain.

It is quite common in the literature that the Aizpute Castle of the Order was built in 1249. This unsubstantiated information can already be found in the description of Ulrich von Schlipenbach's trip: Aizpute Castle was built in 1249 by Master Dietrich von Grüningen.

The building type of the castle does not allow to date it from 1249. In fact, at the end of the 13th century only the fortifications of the future castle were built, but from the fact that in 1341 the castle served as a storehouse of grain, it can be concluded that in that year it was already built enough to be used as a grain store. However, the first residential building was probably built only at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. The first document, which unambiguously mentions the Aizpute Castle of the Order, is also a Fief Book written in August 1, 1397, “in the castle of our Order, called Aizpute (Hasenpoth), Courland” (in castro ordinis nostri Hasenpute dicto in Curonia), by which the Master of the Livonian Order, Wennemar von Brüggen, leased the meadow near Durbe Castle to Heinrich Valkenhagen, a servant of the Kuldiga (Goldingen) Commander. This is also the first evidence of the Master's settlement in Aizpute.

In a 14th century document, the Castle of the Livonian Order of Aizpute was named Vrundenborgh (a Friend Castle), possibly expressing a friendly attitude towards the castle of the Courland Domkapitel (Cathedral Chapter) built on the opposite bank of Tebra.

After the collapse of the Order and the establishment of the Duchy of Courland, the castle and its lands were acquired by the Duke of Courland Gotthard Kettler in 1561. In 1562 he leased Aizpute Castle “with all its farmers and lands, farms, meadows, arable lands - cultivated and uncultivated -, forests and waters - lakes, rivers and streams -, pastures, bee trees, fishing and bird-catching places” as a hereditary fief to his adviser Gerhard von Nolde "for his faithful service to the Order and later to the Duke”. Nolde built a second residential building inside the protective wall on the south side of the Castle.

In 1574, Duke Gotthard issued a new document to Gerhard von Nolde - a privilege, in which he confirmed that he had granted him Aizpute Castle and Manor as a hereditary fief, but since Nolde had encountered border disputes with his closest neighbors, the borders of Aizpute Castle were established with this privilege.

The boundary description of Gerhard Nolde Aizpute Manor states that his property “begins and borders with Aizpute of Georg [Jürgen III Markusson] von Fircks at the Aizpute Mill Pond, where the river Tebra flows into this pond. Then the border goes up the Tebra to the border of the property of Jordan von Dortesen”, etc.

Confusion in this document may be caused by the notion “Aizpute of Georg von Fircks“. Also, in a will made in 1598, Georg von Fircks mentions Aizpute Castle as his property - next to Nurmuiza (Nurmhuse), Okte and Šķēde (Schede) - which he bequeathed to his youngest son Markus von Fircks. It is believed that this "Aizpute Castle" of von Fircks was the former residence of the Aizpute Cathedral Castle in the present Church Hill, which Georg [Jürgen III Markusson] von Fircks had acquired from the Bishop of Courland Johann von Münchhausen when the Diocese of Courland was liquidated in 1559, possibly due to his relationship with the Bishop - von Fircks' wife Anna von Westphalia was the bishop's niece.

In his will made in October 1597, Gerhard von Nolde bequeathed his Aizpute Castle and Manor to his eldest son Hans von Nolde.

In March 1659, during the Polish-Swedish war, the Swedes, under the command of Colonel Fabian von Aderkas, invaded, looted and destroyed the Castle of the Aizpute Order, in which about 400 soldiers, mainly form Courland, had taken refuge after the defeat of the combined Courland, Lithuanian and Polish troops. The Swedes captured around 300 soldiers, including Colonels von Korff and von Brinken, took 9 flags, 6 cannons and many horses.

In 1665, the castle was already in order, and the garrison of Duke Jacob with cannons settled there.

In 1667, Margarethe von Nolde was mentioned as the owner of Aizpute Castle Manor, who acquired it by inheritance. As her debt to Lieutenant Captain Wilhelm von Mirbach had reached 24,900 Florentines and there were also outstanding debts to other creditors, Margaret von Nolde was forced to sign a document in August 1667, according to which the lands of Aizpute Castle Manor, as well as three rooms in the castle, a grain barn, a stable, a barn and a pub were handed over to the said Lieutenant Captain Wilhelm von Mirbach as a hereditary family property.

It is not known how Noldes regained the manor, but it is known that the owner of Aizpute Manor at the beginning of the 18th century was Michael Friedrich von Nolde, who inherited it burdened with large debts. The manor farm had been destroyed by the Northern War, the peasants had died out in the plague epidemic of 1710, and in November 1712 Michael Friedrich von Nolde disclaimed Aizpute Castle Manor in favor of his creditors. Nolde's creditors immediately agreed that Aizpute Castle should be given over to the Duke's land Marshal Johann Heinrich Keyserlingk, on the basis of a pledge. However, already in October 1717, Keyserlingk sold Aizpute Castle to Karl Gustav Klopmann, whose wife Sofia Magdalene was born von Nolde.

A few years later, Keyserlingk, who had now even become the Chancellor of the Duchy of Courland, wanted to reclaim the manor, and in 1724, Keyserlingk and Klopmann entered into an exchange agreement: Klopmann gave Aizpute Castle Manor to Keyserlingk in exchange for Rudbārži (Rudbahre) Manor and additional 4,000 Florins.

A document from 1734 mentions Keyserlingk 's widow Maria Anna von Schlippenbach as the owner of Aizpute Castle Manor. The castle was inherited by Johann Emmerich von Keyserlingk, who in 1755 sold it together with Remes (Remesse) Manor for 145,000 Florentines to the owner of Cīrava (Zirau) Manor, von Behr's widow, born Julia Eleonora von Bülow.

In 1761, Behr's widow gave Aizpute Castle Manor to her youngest daughter, Katharina Eleonora von Fircks.

Presumably, between 1760 and 1762, the new manor house of Aizpute Castle Manor was built - “New Castle” in the current № 1 Skolas Street. The former Castle of the Order or “Old Castle” was adapted to the household needs of the manor and as servants' apartments.

In 1776, Katharina Eleonora von Fircks together with her husband Friedrich Ewald von Fircks sold Aizpute Manor for 110,000 Florins to her son Friedrich Christoph Ewald von Fircks and his wife Juliane Konstantine Albertine Caroline, born von den Brincken.

In 1784, Councilor of the Land Council (Landrat) of the Piltene District, Friedrich Ewald von Fircks, dedicated one room in the former castle of the Livonian Order to the temporary prison of the Piltene District.

In 1801, Friedrich Christoph Ewald von Fircks entered into an exchange agreement with Chancellor Friedrich von Roenne, according to which the latter acquired Aizpute Manor, but Fircks received from Roenne his Dannenhof (Priežumuiža) Manor and 90,000 Talers on top of it.

The following year, Friedrich von Roenne sold the manor for 120,000 Talers to his son Karl Dietrich Otto von Roenne.

During the war of 1812, a crown grain warehouse was established in the Castle of the Order.

After the death of Friedrich von Roenne in June 1845, his widow Henriette von Roenne, born von Fircks, entered into an inheritance agreement with her children. Since in 1801, when Aizpute Manor was purchased in exchange, the supplement for the exchange transaction was made from the children's mother's dowry money, now the children waived their right to the manor in favor of their mother. Thus, the manor remained in the possession of Henriette von Roenne until her death in 1866. Then the inheritance rights of Henriette von Roennes' children to Aizpute Castle Manor were confirmed in the Aizpute Supreme Court. However, the heirs did not keep the manor - in the same year it was sold to Major General Ferdinand von Tornow for 400,000 Rubles.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, the manor became the property of the Grotthuss family, the last owner of which was Baron Lothar Grotthuss. During his time, dragons of the 8th Smolensk Dragoon Regiment were stationed in the Old Castle in Aizpute District to suppress the 1905 revolution, which remained there at least until the end of 1907, but in 1915 German occupation troops set up a prisoner of war camp in the Old Castle for a short time.

After the Agrarian Reform of 1920, the former Castle of the Livonian Order or the Old Castle with the relevant plot of land became state property, but on May 7, 1927 the Ministry of Agriculture, as the seller, and the Aizpute Town Council, as the buyer, entered into a Redemption Agreement, according to which the Ministry sold and transferred to the Council a plot of land of 0.9803 ha, on which there was a castle with an extension - barn No. 2 and barn No. 3.

The value of land was set at 294 Lats, buildings – 3203 Lats. The amount included 50 Lats for the final land survey and preparation of plans. The buyer was exempted from the redemption fee on the condition that the land and buildings be used for the needs of the poor and disabled, which was also done. At the end of the 1920s, a poorhouse was set up in the Old Castle on 9 Liepājas Street for those poor city residents who were not able to take care of themselves.

During the 1935 census, there were 14 apartments in the Old Castle (a family of 8 people lived in the  apartment No 14), in which 34 inhabitants were registered.

In 1937, the Town Council determined the value of the “Old Castle” owned by the Council: a plot of land 9803 m² - 1,000 Lats, a two-storey stone residential building with a shingled roof - 12,000 Lats, a mixed building stable with a shingled roof - 1,000 Lats.

In 1938, the Culture Foundation granted the Council an allowance of 1,500 Lats for “the construction and furnishing of museum premises in the old Order Castle of Aizpute”. This enabled the Aizpute Town Museum to move from the narrow rooms in the Town Hall building at № 19 Atmodas (Awakening) Street to 8 rooms in the southern wing of the Old Castle in 1939.

In 1939, there were free living quarters for the poor in the town, a museum, and a storehouse for alcohol and vodka.

In 1926, the castle of the Livonian Order was inscribed into the list of monuments protected by the State, unfortunately today we can only talk about castle ruins.

Skolas (School) Street branches off from Liepājas Street next to the castle, where there was once not only a secondary school / gymnasium, but also the town Power Plant, which was at the corner of Skolas and Padures Streets.




Valsts Kultūrkapitāla fonds


Skolas iela 1, Aizpute, Aizputes novads, LV-3456
Phone Phone: 29623284
e-mail e-mail: 
Web Website:

irk1 Wheelchair access available


From 01.10. - 30.04. on working days from 09:00 - 17:00,
on the 3rd Saturday of each month from 10:00 - 14:00
From 01.05. - 30.09. on working days from 09:00 - 17:00,
Saturdays from 10:00 - 14:00