Castles › Castles in Estonia
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.
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).
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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