In January, the Turaida Museum Reserve starts campaign „Learn about history and events of the Turaida castle in the course of 800 years through the stories told by castle objects!” The purpose of the campaign is to invite visitors of the museum to pay attention to antiquities, found in the castle, and by their assistance to discover exciting historical stories. During the year, each second week an original object in the castle exhibitions will be highlighted. As a reward for finding this object and learning about it, the visitors will get a special label of the campaign. The stories of the objects will be published also at www.turaida-muzejs.lv and www.facebook.com/turaida.muzejs
Follow these stories and become acquainted with the Turaida stone castle and its heritage anew!
1th story – Pilgrimage tokens
Pilgrims used to bring home a characteristic object, a so-called pilgrimage token, as proof that they had reached the destination of their journey. Two pilgrimage tokens have been found in Turaida Castle: a shell and a cross with an image of Christ. The scallop shell is a characteristic token of the pilgrimage to the grave of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. In medieval Europe, this shrine rivalled in popularity with Rome and Jerusalem. Over the course of time, this fan-shaped shell has become a general symbol of pilgrims and pilgrimages.
A lead cross with an imange of Christ on the Cross and the inscription VV S LTI LUCEN SIS indicates its place of origin: the town of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy. After the erection of a special crucifix, the Volto Santo, in the 8th century, Lucca became a popular destination for pilgrims. The pilgrimage tokens found in Turaida castle are unique finds in Latvia. Parallels enabling the precies dating of these objects may be found in similar material in the Scandinavian and Western European context.