The Riga Castle has been the residence of the President of Latvia since 1922 when the authority of the presidency was established.

The Castle is situated in the very centre of Old Riga on the bank of River Daugava.

The Riga Castle is an important part of the historical and cultural heritage of Latvia as one of the greatest medieval castles in Latvia. Its foundation stone was laid on 15 June 1330. The Castle was destroyed several times; it also underwent significant redevelopment and extension. The last large-scale renovation was carried out on the eve of Latvia’s centenary. All rooms have been restored to their historical appearance and adapted to modern requirements and intended use.

After extensive reconstruction and restoration work, President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis resumed his work in the Riga Castle on 22 August 2016.

Rīgas pils

The foundation stone and construction

The foundation stone of the Castle was laid on 15 June 1330. Over the centuries, the Castle was destroyed several times; it also underwent significant redevelopment and extension. Whereas in the result of the renovation works carried out before the upcoming Centenary of the Republic of Latvia, the Riga Castle has regained its original splendour.

Presidential residence

The Soviet regime was an exception when the Castle was given over to the communist children’s organisation, the pioneers.

President of Latvia Jānis Čakste, Gustavs Zemgals, Alberts Kviesis, and Kārlis Ulmanis both worked and lived in the Castle.

After the restoration of independence, President of Latvia Guntis Ulmanis returned to work in the Riga Castle in June 1995. However, some official visits of presidents from countries like Poland, USA, and Portugal were received in the Riga Castle before that.

The Riga Castle from the bird’s eye view

Premises and interior

Residence of the President of Latvia in the Riga Castle occupies the major part of the building block that had been built instead of the former castle-front and is situated on four floors. The interiors of the premises depict centuries-long formation and historical periods of the Castle.

History of the Riga Castle

Construction of a castle on the bank of River Daugava was commenced in 1330 when the citizens of Riga, defeated in a war with the Livonian Order (1297–1330), were forced to replace the destroyed castle of the Order with a new one not in the city but close to it at the site of the former hospital of the Holy Ghost. The Riga Castle became the residence of the Masters of the Livonian Order.

Возможный вид замка в 14 веке, реконструкция

In 1481, a war flared up between the Livonian Order and the city of Riga again. In 1484, the people of Riga sacked the castle once again. All that was left was a part of the Tower of the Holy Spirit, which was used as a lighthouse for ships on the river, along with a part of the castle’s defensive ramparts. Because of constant quarrels among the Livonian Order, the archbishop and the city of Riga, the Master of the Order moved his headquarters to Vilande and then to Cesis.

Once the Order took the upper hand over the city once again, a treaty was signed (the Valmiera Agreement) which said that during the next six years, the people of Riga had to rebuild the castle. However, the process took until 1515. The Master of the Order did not move back to the Riga Castle until the last Master, Gotthard Kettler. The Castle was home to knights of the Order and their commander until 1562 when the Livonian Order was dissolved.

Once the feudal states of Livonia were dissolved in the latter half of the 16th century, the Riga Castle was alternately home to officials from Poland (1578-1621), Sweden (1621-1710), and Russia (1710-1917). Institutions related to those officials were also housed there.

Замковая площадь в середине 19 века.

Reconstruction of the Riga Castle  

The Castle was constructed as a three-storey enclosed four-sided building with an inner yard and towers in the corners. The two round towers located diagonally opposite each other were the key ones, the Tower of the Holy Spirit in the northwest and the Lead Tower in the southeast, the two other quadrangular towers had staircases in them. The castle grounds with household buildings stretched to the north of the castle.

Скульптура «Мадонна с младенцем» и «Магистр Вальтер фон Плеттенберг»

The ground floor was foreseen for household needs and the castle guard, the second floor, the arms floor, was without ceiling and partitions, and its narrow wood-covered windows were used as loopholes. On the first floor, the living apartments were situated like rooms of the Master of the Order, a dining hall, bedrooms of the knights, chapel of the castle, and a hall for meetings of the chapter of priests.

Президент Латвии участвует в торжественной сдаче в эксплуатацию Рижского замка