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NAUJENE / DINABURGA (DUNABURG)

            19 km up from Daugavpils on the right bank of the Daugava you will find the Naujene hill fort with the ruins of the Order castle. The foundations of Dinaburg Castle were laid here in 1274 by Livonian Order Master Ernest von Rasburg. The structure which was later destroyed and then rebuilt was located on a lengthy rise on the banks of the Daugava. The steep river bank on one side and deep gullies on the other were natural barriers helping to repel enemy attacks. Furthermore, it was only possible to enter the castle by passing through an outer (large) and inner (small) forecourt, and also crossing over a drawbridge. Two towers guarded the castle’s inner gates. The castle itself had a trapezium form (59 x 26 x 14 m).
          From the time of its completion to 1562 the castle was the residence of the Dinaburg comture. The strategic importance of the structure is illustrated by the fact that the Dinaburg comture was usually the Order Master’s deputy. In 1559, Master Gothards Ketlers mortgaged the castle to Polish King Sigismund II Augustus. In 1566 it became the main military base for the Trans Daugava Duchy. However, as already mentioned, in 1577 the castle was taken by Russian forces under Ivan the, and in 1582 Stephen Batory founded the town of Dinaburg on the present site of Daugavpils where he built a new fortified castle.

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