The most visited museum in Latvia, which tells the story of events that have occurred during the last 1000 years.
Most visitors consider the Turaida brick castle as the main dominance of Museum-Reserve and its visually most impressive element. When looking down from a hot air balloon or in autumn eventide in the sunset beams from the opposite bank of the river Gauja in Sigulda, Turaida castle rises above the green foliage of trees like a mighty ship built of red brick. The forepart of this imaginative ship is formed by the northern forecastle gate tower, the main tower, which is the highest one. It is like a spar in the middle of the ship but the back of the ship is a southern forecastle with a tower-shaped southern section.
The building of the castle was started in 1214 according to directions given by Albert, archbishop of Riga in the place wherein former times was located wooden castle of Liv leader Kaupo. “Castellum” type fortress was built and named Fredeland in translation it means “Land of Peace”. This name was not popular and but the local name Turaida survived till nowadays. The perfection of the defensive system of the castle continued also in the next centuries – in the 14th century was built tower-shaped southern section, in the beginning of the 15th century when firearms were invented was built semirounded western tower. Along with the formation of fortifications household buildings and living houses were erected in the inner yard of the castle. Small reconstruction work was carried out in the 17th century through the castle started to lose its strategic meaning. After a fire in 1776, it was not reconstructed and in the course of time, it was ruined.
At the beginning of the 20th century from Turaida castle, there were leftover separate fragments of the defensive wall and some buildings – main tower, semirounded tower, and western section. Since 1976 regular archeological excavations were carried out which were followed by restoration and conservation works as a result castle regained a part of its initial shape. Exhibitions about the history of the brick castle and Gauja Livs are available in restored buildings. From the view place of the main tower, you can see the unique landscape of picturesque Gauja valley and the territory of Turaida Museum-Reserve.