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Haapsalu Castle

Padaste castle EstoniaOther names: Haapsalu Episcopal Castle, Haapsalu loss, Haapsalu linnus, Haapsalu Toomkirik.

Location: In the city centre of Haapsalu, the capital of Lääne county, in the West of Estonia, at Lossiplatsi 3, Haapsalu.

History: Haapsalu Castle was built to be the main residence of the Bishop of Saare-Lääne (Ösel-Wiek) bishopric and dates back to the 13th century, the attached Dome church being an impressive example of early Gothic architecture mixed with Romanesque elements. The castle was expanded into its current shape in the 16th century when the outer wall surrounding the castle with its cannon towers was completed. The walls reached a height of 10 metres and were over 1 metre thick. The inside of the walls was equipped with moats and bastions housing cannons. During the Livonian War in the 16th century, which incidentally marked the end of a semi-independent bishopric, the castle was badly damaged.
In the 17th century the castle was no longer used as a defence building by the Swedes who now ruled the Province of Estonia. The walls were partially demolished during the Northern War in 1710 at the command of the Russian Czar Peter who took over the rule of Estonia in the 18th century, turning the castle in effect into ruins. The western side of the castle houses a picturesque 29-metre Watchtower dating from the 13th century, later used as a bell tower.
The Dome church attached to the castle was probably built in the 1260-s, following the style of the Cistercian Order. The round baptism chapel on the eastern side of the church was built in the 14th or 15th century and is the site of a famous legend. On moonlit August nights the shape of a Lady in White appears on the inside wall of the chapel as the moon shines through the chapel window. This Lady is said to have been a woman who was in love with the abbot and entered the castle against his orders, therefore having been walled in there alive as a punishment. The church has been restored and it is again in active use by the local congregation of the Estonian Lutheran Church since 1990.

Access: The castle grounds are free to enter. The tall Watchtower is accessible for a small fee from Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-18.00. It is well worth a climb as it offers stunning views across the city and the bay with a jagged coastline.

Activities: The castle houses a Museum containing a unique Medieval weapons collection. There is also a café on the castle courtyard. The church frequently houses concerts and functions actively as a place of worship. The castle grounds also have an open-air stage where numerous events take place in the summer, such as the Festival of the White Lady in August (see History).

Castle pictures
Free pictures of Haapsalu castle to illustrate your web site.
Author: Katrin

Holumnica castle Castle of Haapsalu Haapsalu castle

Other castles in the area: Lihula manor, Koluvere manor, Matsalu manor and many more.

Nearby cities and towns: Tallinn, Keila, Lihula, Märjamaa, Risti.

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