Bauska Castle

Southern Latvia

Bauska Castle sits on a picturesque hillock squeezed between two rivers – the Mūsa and Mēmele – that flow parallel to each other. It is actually two castles melded together. The oldest part is in ruins and dates to the Livonian Order in the 15th century. The newer portion is a fortified manor house built by the Duke of Courland in the 16th century and is mostly intact. A museum covers the entire tangled history of the castle and the region.

Take a good look at the grey blocks along the facade of the newer castle section, which is in the midst of a renovation. The blocks appear to be bulging out of the wall, but that's an optical illusion – the bottom left corner of each brick has been scraped with a chisel to trick the viewer into thinking that they are seeing a shadow.

During the 18th century an Italian by the name of Magno Cavala moved to Bauska in search of a new business venture. He was something of a Casanova (and a conman), and started collecting the water at the junction of the two rivers near the castle. He claimed that the water was a pungent love potion and made a fortune scamming the poor townspeople.

To find the castle ruins from the bus station, walk west to the central roundabout along Zaļā iela then continue west along Uzvaras iela for a total distance of 1.5km.

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