Košljun is a tiny island in Puntarska Draga bay off the coast of Krk, facing Punat. It is approximately 300 meters in diameter and covers an area of 6.5 hectares, but is rich in vegetation. The only inhabitants are a group of Franciscan friars living in St. Mary's Monastery.
The earliest known settlement on Košljun was a Roman villa rustica belonging to a landowner of the Roman settlement on Krk. The next solid evidence of inhabitation is a written record from 1186 implying the existence of a Benedictine abbey built on its foundations. This was abandoned in 1447, and the Frankopans moved in Franciscans in their place. The present church was built by the Franciscans in 1480. The Benedictines remained on the island until the 15th century. After the death of the abbot Dominik, a Venetian priest held the title of Abbot of Košljun, and the island was abandoned.
A pair of Franciscan friars complained to the Pope that the monastery was sitting empty. At their request, the Benedictine monastery was abolished and the island of Košljun given to the Franciscans, whose monastery remains today.
By the jetty there is a statue of St. Francis with a wolf, a frequent iconographic motif for this saint. As well as the statue there is also a text written in Glagolitic over the main entrance to the monastery, 'Mir i Dobro' (peace and well-being) which is also dedicated to St. Francis. In the monastery there is an ethnographic collection including articles used by farmers and fishermen on Krk from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
There is also a permanent exhibition of church artefacts housed in the old Benedictine church from the 12th century. As well as old masters the collection also includes works by more recent Croatian artists and sculptors such as: Dulčić, Bulić, Radauš, Orlić and Kršinić. The monastery also owns a rich library of some 15,000 books which contains a Jewish Bible from the 11th century, Glagolitic sermons and Ptolemy's Atlas, printed in Venice in 1511.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.