The Turaida Museum Reserve covers 43.63 hectares. It is situated in the historical centre of Turaida and reveals historical events and people's stories that took place more than a thousand years ago. The word "Turaida" can be poetically translated from the Liv language as "God's Garden".
The oldest part of the story of Turaida is related to the history of another indigenous nation of Latvia – the Livs. Until the early 13th century, Turaida had been a significant centre of the Gauja Livs. The witnesses of the ancient past can be seen in the exhibition devoted to the Gauja Livs.
The Main tower of the Turaida stone castle rises over the forests of the ancient Gauja River valley. After having vanquished its 139 brick steps, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the meandering Gauja River and the valley rich in forests.
Construction of the Turaida stone castle was started in 1214. Until the end of the 16th century, it served as a residence of Archbishops of Riga who that ruled lands. Over the centuries the castle had been rebuilt and improved until a fire damaged it in 1776, after which it was no longer inhabited and gradually turned into ruins.
The castle experienced its revival in the second half of the 20th century – by virtue of a thorough archaeological research and restoration of the buildings. Nowadays, the castle buildings house expositions reflecting the history of the castle and presenting the antiques collected during the research of the castle.
Next to the stone castle, on the Baznīckalns hill, you will see a wooden church built for the needs of the Turaida Lutheran parish in 1750, which is one of the oldest wooden churches in Latvia. Through the centuries, the church has preserved its interior. The baroque-style altar still serves for the needs of the parish and delights the eye with its17th-century altarpiece "Golgotha", the pulpit and other interior items. The building of the church was renovated in 2010, using historical technology and colours.
At the foot of the centenarian lime-tree near the church there is a memorial place devoted to Maija – the Rose of Turaida, who lived in Sigulda at the beginning of the 17th century. Her life story and tragic death have grown into a romantic legend about love, courage and confidence.
An important role in the millenarian story of Turaida is played by the household construction of the Turaida Manor – 21 buildings, in some of which you can see expositions telling about the life, development and works of the manor in the 19th and the 20th centuries. Currently, a smith works in the smithy of the manor, and anyone interested can try their skills in smith craft.
Harmony created by a human hand and nature reveals its face at the Dainu Hill – the place dedicated to the Latvian folklore. 26 granite sculptures created by sculptor Indulis Ranka symbolically reflect the wisdom and values encoded in the folk songs. The special aura of the Dainu Hill makes its visitors stop and take time to enjoy it.