History Files


Modern Estonia

Photobox: Castles of Estonia

by Peter Kessler, 9 March 2013

Construction on Haapsalu Episcopal Castle began in the second quarter of the thirteenth century, as part of the German Crusader efforts to conquer all of the Baltics. Bishop Hermann I granted town rights to Haapsalu in 1279, transferring the official seat of the bishopric of Saare-Lääne there at the same time. The Inner Castle already existed by this stage, consisting of the cathedral and living quarters for canons. The Outer Castle walls which surround the site and contain the Inner Castle in the centre of the north wall were probably begun by this time. The bishop moved to his new residence of Kuressaare Episcopal Castle in the late fourteenth century, and after the bishopric of Ösel-Wiek was ended in 1559, Haapsalu lost its main raison d'etre. Several fires damaged the castle in the seventeenth century and it was decommissioned at the end of that century.

All photos on this page contributed by K Kimmel.

If you would like to submit your own photos of castles, contact us. Return to the Castles index.




Main Sources

Praust, Valdo - Most Beautiful Manors and Castles, Grenader Grupp, Estonia, 2004

Online Sources


Estonian Manors



Images and text copyright © P L Kessler except where stated. An original feature for the History Files.