The Duomo of San Giorgio is a Baroque church located in Ragusa Ibla, old part of Ragusa. Its construction began in 1738 and ended in 1775.
The church is one of the greatest expressions of Baroque style and religious architecture in Ragusa. It was designed by Rosario Gagliardi of Noto, an architect and a prominent figure of the then artistic movement. It stands on top of a monumental staircase and its angled position pointing to the square amplifies its majesty and plastic effects, also exalted by a slightly convex front side. The façade, with three orders, was built following the “tower” pattern: it grows up like a pyramid and incorporates the bell tower into the façade ending with a bulbous pinnacle.
The central door is finely carved with six high-reliefs made by Palermo native artist Vincenzo Fiorelli in 1793. Images depict the martyrdom of San Giorgio. In the second order, there is a frame with carvings adorned with a stained-glass window, which shows San Giorgio slaying the dragon; on the sides, it stands the equestrian statues of San Giorgio and St. James the Apostle. The third order, instead, contains the belfry on top of which stands an antique clock. Next to it, there are two statues of San Pietro and San Paolo.The church’s Latin cross plan is characterized by three naves separated by two sturdy columns.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.