Museum Reserve

Campaign „Learn about history and events of the Turaida castle in the course of 800 years through the stories told by castle objects!” 11th story: Sun dials in Turaida Castle

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!

Turaidas pils saules pulksteņi
Sun dials of the Turaida Castle

Sun dials in Turaida Castle
Sun dial is one of the oldest time measuring instruments. Basis of it`s action is the movement of shadow according to position of sun in the sky.

This method of time measurement was known by ancient nations in Babylon and Egypt even 2000 years B.C. In Europe sun dials were introduced from 11th /13th centuries. The oldest sun dials or details of them in territory of Latvia have remained from 13th / 15th centuries.

In archaeological excavation in Turaida Castle there were found two sun dials from period of 14th /15th centuries. They are placed in exhibition in cellar and first floor of Turaida Castle western block. As archaeologist Janis Graudonis has said: „[..] find of whole sun dials is a great gain”.

One of the Turaida Castle sun dials is a big round disc made of limestone with diameter of 29,3 cm. There ar 24 radially engraved lines which have been divided in 24 zones – these are hour sections marked with Arabic numerals from 3 to 12 and to 9.

The other sun dial is made of red clay as a quadrangular thick clay tile in size of 23 x 23 cm and thickness of 6cm. Clock-face of this dial is also divided in 24 zones – hour sections.

A metallic shadow-casting gnomon used to be fastened in the centre of both dials, as evidenced by remains of metallic parts and marks of fastening places.

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