The Livonian Order stone castle was built in 1342 on the Pils or Maria Island, the biggest island on Lake Aluksne. During the subsequent centuries it was inhabited by Germans, Russians, Poles, and Swedes. In 1658 Aluksne was taken by the Russian troops lead by Afanasiy Ovdim Nashchekin. In the Easter of 1661 he received the envoy of Austria - headed by baron Meierberg - that was on its way to Moscow. From this time a drawing of the castle made by artist Storno has survived. In 1702 the castle was surrounded by the Russian army. Since the Swedes did not want to leave it to the Russians, Swedish Captain Wolf blew it up. The inhabitants and locals hiding in the castle were taken prisoners. Among them were also Ernst Glück, the translator of the Bible, and his stepdaughter Marta Skavronska, later to become empress of Russia Catherine I.
Today the castle ruins encircle an open-air stage with 3000 seats.