Until the 13th century Koldessell
In the 13th century this area was inhabited by Lives and it was called Koldessell, a mountain of sand dunes, which was renamed by German arrivals as Kolcen.
16th Century Johan Biring von Helmstat
Johan Biring, along with his troops, became famous during the Livonian War as he fought against the army of Czar Ivan the Terrible. He succeeded in liberating Turaida, Cesis, Limbazhi and other areas and was rewarded by the King of Poland-Lithuania with Kolcen estate. Biring became a legend for Latvian farmers. From his time until the beginning of the 20th century Kolcen was called Biring's estate.
The beginning of the 18th century Karl Johan von Mengden
Biring's estate was bought and sold several times and finally passed into the hands of Karl Johan von Mengden. He built the new manor house and several household buildings in Swedish baroque style.
The end of the 18th century L. A. Count Mellin
An heiress to von Mengden married Count Mellin, a famous social and political figure of the day who was closely related to the Emperor of Russia. He actively fought for the abolition of serfdom and collected folk songs. He was also well known as a cartographer and produced lasting topographic maps of Latvia and Estonia. A portrait of L.A. Mellin can be seen at the Shipping Museum in Riga and a copy of it hangs in Birini Castle.
A crypt built in 1819 bears witness to the family and was created by Count Mellin. It is an unique architectural monument in Latvia, having a barrel type vaulting and being located under a natural mountain.
19th century August von Pistolkorss
Lieutenant Colonel Aleks von Postolkorss married the daughter of Count Mellin. In 1860 his son, August von Pistolkorss built the main building on the castle grounds which remains today. Hese Wilhelm Friedrich of Munich designed the beautiful historic building in a neo-gothic and semicircle style. The building had a rich décor of sculptures and bas relief’s which were lost during the First World War. On the courtyard side, inscribed in a marble slab this inscription remains: “My legacy shall be love to Fatherland.”
The interior of the castle is done in Renaissance style with a wide entrance hall, balcony and double oak staircase featuring wood engravings. The dining hall has a molded wood ceiling and opens onto a terrace that descends to the lake. There is a richly decorated hall on the second floor of the castle with original light tile stoves.
Walking through the castle, we can imagine the intrigues of Pistolkorss, rich with interesting events. One lingering story is the tale of a son of the Manor lord, who falls is love with a maidservant…but a series of misunderstandings, lies and harsh views of their society eventuates in their deaths.
As in centuries past, our paths will lead you into the park of the Castle, created by August von Pistolkorss for his beloved wife Emilia von Herder. You can go to the Love Island, climb the Mountain of Angel and sit under the Oak of Love. Or you can stroll over to the old water mill, now given its well deserved rest after 100 years of work.
Following the death of August von Pistolkorss in 1886, Birini Castle went to his son Aleksander. In 1870 he carried out a large scale reconstruction of the manor, built a road to the sea and built up Neibade (now Saulkrasti).
20th Century Independence of Latvia And Soviet times
During the first independency of Latvia, Kolcen was re-named Birini in honor of the courageous Johan Biring. In 1925 the Sick-fund of Book publishers began extensive renovations and repair work in Birini Castle and in 1926 they opened the sanatorium for treatment of respiratory and heart diseases. After World War II, during so-called “Soviet times” Birini Castle was again operated as a sanatorium, which was visited by vacationers from all over the Soviet Union. During this period, the Castle was filled with art work reflecting Soviet ideology.
The end of the 20th century
In 1993 the Castle was rented but later became the property of Janis Vimba. While he was the proprietor it was accepted as a member of the Latvian Hotel Association
Janis Vimba was a creative and daring man who brought the Castle up to the level of comfort and décor we see and appreciate today. He completed much preservation and restoration work and created a vision for the future of the property.
Today Birini Castle is owned and operated privately as a family enterprise and along with its hotel and baths, serves as a hospitality center for all manner of events including banquets, weddings, formal balls, seminars, excursions and anniversary parties. We invite you to explore the many ways in which you and your friends can enjoy your special functions in this historic setting.
If you or your family is related to the history of Birini castle in some way, we invite you to let us know so we can recognize you as part of this wonderful property and its historic story.