Klaipėda castle and bastion complex

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Priešpilio str. 2, Klaipėda
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Klaipėda Castle, also known as Memelburg at the time, was first mentioned on July 29, 1252 in a document in which Eberhardas fon Zeine (Eberhard von Zeine) agrees to build a wooden castle between the Nemunas and Danė rivers together with the Bishop of Courland, Heinrichas (Heinrich). The history of the castle, which had both Gothic and Renaissance features, lasted for six centuries and ended in the second half of the 19th century when the last parts of its stonework were demolished. However, it’s possible to see something from those times in contemporary Klaipėda. Two posterns and their bastions, a western curtain wall and a fragment of the original ditch have all survived.

It’s believed that the first castle was of the fence-enclosure type, consisting of a quadrangular square surrounded by stone walls, a mound and ditches inside which stood several stone and wooden buildings. They belonged to the Order and the Bishop of Courland, who supervised the construction works himself. At the turn of the 14th century, the castle was completely rebuilt under the supervision of the famous architect of the castles of the Order of that time, Pelenšteinas (Palenstein). The first posterns were established between 1519 and 1546. About a century later, the natural surrounding waters were used for the defence of the castle in the form of three ravelins (an artificial kite-shaped island with a wooden bridge) and two half-moons surrounded by defensive ditches.

In 1757, Klaipėda was occupied by a Russian army. In the location plan, prepared by the commanding colonel, the bastions of Friedrich, Ludwig, Friedrich-Wilhelm and Karl were marked. In the second half of the 19th century, Klaipėda was fortified again, this time by Otto von Bismarck. The above-ground buildings were demolished and the posterns were adapted for defence. After Klaipėda became part of Lithuania, two bastions were destroyed. In 1930, a commemorative stone honouring Vytautas the Great was placed in the inner slope of the war bastion. During the Second World War an anti-aircraft artillery site was built on the territory of the castle along with a cistern for diesel fuel for submarines on the eastern curtain wall. After the war, industrial buildings were constructed on the territory, and ships were renovated here. Since 1977, ongoing research and conservation works have been carried out here.

A branch of the Museum of Lithuania Minor can be found inside the former Friedrich postern, where it’s possible to learn in detail about the history of the city and its castle. You’ll see many archaeological finds that have been found here, and it’s possible to find out about the development of the castle and the city. There’s also a layout of the city itself as it appeared in the second half of the 17th century.

Klaipėda castle and bastion complex

Priešpilio str. 2, Klaipėda

Klaipėda Castle, also known as Memelburg at the time, was first mentioned on July 29, 1252 in a document in which Eberhardas fon Zeine (Eberhard von Zeine) agrees to build a wooden castle between the Nemunas and Danė rivers together with the Bishop of Courland, Heinrichas (Heinrich). The history of the castle, which had both Gothic and Renaissance features, lasted for six centuries and ended in the second half of the 19th century when the last parts of its stonework were demolished. However, it’s possible to see something from those times in contemporary Klaipėda. Two posterns and their bastions, a western curtain wall and a fragment of the original ditch have all survived.

It’s believed that the first castle was of the fence-enclosure type, consisting of a quadrangular square surrounded by stone walls, a mound and ditches inside which stood several stone and wooden buildings. They belonged to the Order and the Bishop of Courland, who supervised the construction works himself. At the turn of the 14th century, the castle was completely rebuilt under the supervision of the famous architect of the castles of the Order of that time, Pelenšteinas (Palenstein). The first posterns were established between 1519 and 1546. About a century later, the natural surrounding waters were used for the defence of the castle in the form of three ravelins (an artificial kite-shaped island with a wooden bridge) and two half-moons surrounded by defensive ditches.

In 1757, Klaipėda was occupied by a Russian army. In the location plan, prepared by the commanding colonel, the bastions of Friedrich, Ludwig, Friedrich-Wilhelm and Karl were marked. In the second half of the 19th century, Klaipėda was fortified again, this time by Otto von Bismarck. The above-ground buildings were demolished and the posterns were adapted for defence. After Klaipėda became part of Lithuania, two bastions were destroyed. In 1930, a commemorative stone honouring Vytautas the Great was placed in the inner slope of the war bastion. During the Second World War an anti-aircraft artillery site was built on the territory of the castle along with a cistern for diesel fuel for submarines on the eastern curtain wall. After the war, industrial buildings were constructed on the territory, and ships were renovated here. Since 1977, ongoing research and conservation works have been carried out here.

A branch of the Museum of Lithuania Minor can be found inside the former Friedrich postern, where it’s possible to learn in detail about the history of the city and its castle. You’ll see many archaeological finds that have been found here, and it’s possible to find out about the development of the castle and the city. There’s also a layout of the city itself as it appeared in the second half of the 17th century.

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