Latvia: Castles in Segulda and Cēsis



August 26, 2014

Cool.  Rain.

“Latvia” is printed on a sign of deep blue with a circle of gold stars.  It is the only indication that I driven across the boundary of the sovereign nation of Estonia and into the sovereign nation of Latvia, both members of the European Union.  

Barriers?   Uniforms?  Questions?  Paperwork?  None of the above.

No anger.  No fear.  No fences between good neighbors. 

How civil.  How civilized. 

Unfortunately, unlike the “Union,” the weather is not cooperating.

For two days, I must forcibly eject myself from the comfort of the Villa Alberta to see the local castles.

In Segulda (pop 17,800), Segulda New Castle was built in the 18th Century during the reign of the German aristocrats.  Behind this castle lies the Segulda Medieval Castle constructed in 1207 by the Order of the Brethren of the Sword.

Turaida Museum Reserve, a medieval castle was erected in the 13th Century for the Archbishop of Riga.

Nearby, the town of Cēsis (pop 19,500), founded in 1209 by the Knights of the Sword, boasts its own Livonian Castle.  With a lantern in hand, I clumsily climb the circular inner stone stairs to the lookout. 

(Are you adding two and two?  German Aristocrats + Order of the Brethren of the Sword + Archbishop of Riga + Knights of the Sword.)

In Cēsis, rain deters me not as I stroll along the streets of cobble to view the buildings of pastel.

My reward for my rain-soaked “crusade” is a bowl of the heartiest potato-mushroom-vegetable soup this side of Regensburg.