The Frankopan noble family used Kraljevica as the harbour for their town of Hreljin. The castle is on the hill of a peninsula, at the very entrance of the Bay of Bakar. Petar Zrinski began to build it in 1651. As the residence of a powerful feudal dynasty, it followed the then architectural style of aristocrats. The builders, most likely Venetians, arranged the large rectangular complex (44 metres long and 36 metres wide) with four large towers situated at the corners. The square inner courtyard has a cistern in the centre.
The castle originally consisted of a basement, ground floor and first floor, whilst later the owners, Jesuits, in the 19th century added a second floor. The luxurious feel to the interior was probably taken care of by Katarina Frankopan, the wife of Petar Zrinski. The main salon was decorated with gilded leather wallpaper with marble fireplaces, floors paved with a marble mosaic, whilst the frames of the doors were made of black and white marble. On one of the paintings from the 17th century it is visible that the castle also had a special room called the Museum, intended for the storing the family’s rich heritage. At that time it was one of the earliest museums in Croatia. Such collections, also known as cabinets of wonder, as the forerunners of museums appeared in the castles of affluent people throughout Europe. Genius loci, the spirit of a family museum in a castle, is re-awakened in the layout of this visitor’s centre.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.