A powerful medieval fortress Bauska is located within the limits of the city of the same name and is one of the most interesting attractions of southern Latvia. It is at the confluence of the rivers Musa and Memele.
As the confluence of two navigable rivers was a key point allowing to control trade and the lands of the Semigallians, there were always fortified settlements. The Livonian Order was forced to build a fortress there after they lost Grunwald Battle in 1410, as it was difficult for the Order to control the lands of the Baltics. As a result, the knights of the order decided to build the Bauska Castle in 1445.
Actually, what tourists can see today is two castles. The old section of the Bauska Castle consists of the first buildings of the Livonian Order erected in 15 century. Today there remained but ruins of them but some of the buildings were restored. Particularly, you can ascend the Powder Tower as well as see the main building.
In 1559 upon an agreement between the Livonian Order and Poland the Bauska Castle was given to Polish kings. Soon the Livonian Order ceased to exist and after the wars for its legacy were finished the Duke of Courland Gotthard von Kettler decided to build a modern residence there.
The later section of the Bauska Castle is side by side with its earlier section. The fortifications of the Bauska Castle were completely destroyed by the Russian Army of Peter the Great in 1706 during the Northern War. By the conditions of the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 these lands were included in the Russian Empire and the Bauska Castle lost its defensive importance.
For some time the Bauska Castle was neglected but already in 19 restoration works had begun. At present the later section of the castle was completely restored. Now it houses several interesting expositions. At the same time as the Bauska Castle you may as well visit the Rundale Palace and the Mezotnes Palace, as they are in the close vicinity of Bauska. You can visit all these three sights during a one-day excursion from Riga.