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Haapsalu Bischofsburg

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Haapsalu Bischofsburg

Lossiplats 3

EE-90502 Haapsalu


Geodetic coordinates

58.946760 23.539740


6 m



+372 ∎∎∎ ∎∎∎∎

Haapsalu Castle

(also Haapsalu Episcopal Castle, Estonian: Haapsalu piiskopilinnus) is a castle with cathedral in Haapsalu, western Estonia. It was founded in the thirteenth century to be a center for the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek Wikipedia Icon.When there is a full moon in the month of August, it is said that an image of a maiden, the White Lady, appears on the inner wall of the chapel.


Construction, widening and reconstruction of the stronghold went on throughout several centuries, with the architecture changing according to the development of weapons. The stronghold achieved its final dimensions – area of more than 30,000 square metres, thickness of the wall between 1.2 and 1.8 meters (4–6 ft), and maximum height over 10 metres (33 ft) – under the reign of Bishop Johannes IV Kievel (1515–1527).The western side of the castle houses a 29-metre (95 ft) watchtower dating from the 13th century, later used as a bell tower. The walls were later raised to 15 metres (49 ft).

The inner trenches and blindages, which were built for cannons and as a shelter from bombing, date back to the Livonian War Wikipedia Icon (1558–1582), but it was during this war that the stronghold was severely damaged. The walls of the small castle and the outer fortification were left partly destroyed.

In the 17th century, the castle was no longer used as a defensive building by the Swedes who now ruled the Swedish Estonian Province. In the course of the Great Northern War Wikipedia Icon in 1710, Estonia fell under Russian rule and the walls were partially demolished at the command of the Peter I of Russia Wikipedia Icon, turning the castle in effect into ruins.

St. Nicolas Cathedral

The Cathedral of Haapsalu was a cathedral (i.e. the main church) of the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek, where the throne, the official chair of the Bishop, was situated and where the Chapter of the Bishopric worked. It is the biggest single-naved church in the Baltic countries, with its 15.5-metre (51 ft)-high domical vaults and an area of 425 m2 (4,575 sq ft).

Built in 1260, the church belongs to the transition period from Romanesque to Gothic architecture. The first is characterized by the plant ornament of the capital of the pilasters and the second by thee star (asteroid) vaults. The portal was also originally Romanesque – the vimperg on the round arch had a niche with the figure of the patron saint. The inner walls were covered with paintings, the floor consisting of the gravestones of clergymen and distinguished noblemen. A unique round baptismal chapel was built in the second half of the 14th century.

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Input taken over from:

Wikipedia contributors, 'Haapsalu Castle', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 August 2011, 22:19 UTC, [accessed 7 March 2012]

taken over / edited on

07 Mar 2012 - 08 Mar 2012

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