59 miles from Riga on the way to Lithuania is the baroque Rundale Castle, designed in the early 18th century by Rastrelli, who also built St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace. The palace was the home of the Duke of Courland, Ernst Johann Birland, a favorite of Russia’s Empress Anna. When Russia annexed Latvia, the palace was given to Russian Count Zubov and later the Shuvalov family. The family owned the place until 1920, when it was turned over to the Latvian government. It served time as apartments, a primary school and a granary, but in 1972, the palace saw restoration work begun. Today about 40 of the rococo rooms are open for inspection, including the royal kitchens.
PUBLISHED: July 19, 2013