Tower-shaped Southern Block | Turaida Museum Reserve

Turaida
Museum Reserve

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Tower-shaped Southern Block


Construction of the Southern Block of Turiada Castle was commenced in the 2nd half of the 13th century. The building was projected outside the yard  behind defensive wall and it served as a peculiar fortification of  the Southern part and Gate Tower. In the course of time  adjoining room was attached to the1st floor room as well stairs to the 2nd floor.

For the 1st time Southern Block was mentioned in historical sources in the year 1590 in inspection records as a 3 floor building.

In 1979 before archaeological escavations were started there was approximately 2 m thick layer of  building refuse, bricks and ground above the level of the 1st floor of the Tower, which was overgrown by lilac. Walls of the Tower had survived at the level of the 2nd floor. During escavations in the eastern side there was uncovered entrance to staircase, which led to the 3rd floor.

Tower-shaped Southern Block in its early period of existence resembled in some way a double chapel with arched ceiling which was characteristic to Medieval Castles in Germany. Pointed semicircle double cross vault, built in a Gothic style, which covers the ceiling is a rarity in Latvia.

In the walls of the Southern Block there were built curious bricks, which have been  made in Turaida and bore footprints of  domestic animals. 119 bricks of that kind were found in the ruins of  the collapsed upper part of the Tower. Now they are stored in the Museum collection.

Utilization of the Southern Block was multyfunctional. The building was adjusted to both defence and living. It is supposed that therein was a chapel prior to building of Turaida church.

Hot-air stove was built outside for heating.

Exhibition – Warm-air stoves in Turaida Castle
Exhibition is arranged in the annexe where combustion chamber of Warm-air stove has preserved. Living rooms in the Castle were heated by Warm-air stoves. Exhibition shows operation principles of the stoves and their location in the buildings.

Exhibition – Workroom of Archbishops of Riga
Interior exhibition tells about Turaida as a residence of  archbishops of Riga.

Archbishop of Riga was the highest ecclesiastical and secular ruler in his state. He was also metropolitan (the main bishop) and he ruled over Riga ecclesiastical province consisting of several bishoprics. Among them were bishoprics of Dorpat and Oesel (Estonia), and Kurland (Courland) as well as Samland, Pomesanie, Ermland and Kulm (Prusia). The bishops made an oath of allegiance to the archbishop of Riga. Formally archbishops of Riga were also ecclesiastical leaders in the lands which belonged to the Livonian order.
As secular ruler archbishop owned lands and lent them out to his vassals in return demanding their military service or service in the court.
Archbishop periodically visited his possesions and occasionally stayed in Turaida Castle. Delegations from Dorpat, Reval and Riga cities arrived to deal with the state affairs. Also negotiations with Livonian order were held. Archbishops were visited by subjects – Vassals to receive lent out  land, to swear allegiance and  to settle various disputes about mutual boarders or inheritance issues.
Up to nowadays some documents have survived which are approved by the seal of archbishops and bear testimony about being issued in Turaida Castle.

Tower-shaped Southern Block and exhibition