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Turaida Castle is one of three castles located in and around the beautiful town of Sigulda, Latvia, about 53 km (33 mi) from Riga. The town that it lies in is actually its namesake, Turaida, Latvia, but it is located just across the Gauja River from Sigulda, which was my intended destination a few days ago. Sigulda is a popular destination for many, especially from the Riga city dwellers in autumn, and even more so since the Guardian newspaper published an article saying it was one of the top 10 must-see places to visit this 2013 autumn.
All around the leaves have turned warm shades of orange and yellow, reminiscent of one of Latvia’s local resources – the fossil resin amber. The natural beauty surrounding the castle also seems to justify the name of the town; Turaida comes from Thoreyda, meaning “Thor’s garden” (from the Norse god always depicted wielding a hammer).
The castle was originally planned by Albert, the Archbishop of Riga, back in 1214, and despite the recent reconstruction and renovation, much of the walls and brick in and around the castle continue to crack and wear away. To come up to the interior of the castle, it currently requires a fee of about $7 (USD).