The Parish Church of St Cuthbert was probably founded in the 7th century and it once covered an extensive parish around the burgh of Edinburgh. The church's current building was designed by Hippolyte Blanc and completed in 1894.
St Cuthbert's is situated within a large churchyard that bounds Princes Street Gardens and Lothian Road. A church was probably founded on this site during or shortly after the life of Cuthbert. The church is first recorded in 1128, when David I granted it to Holyrood Abbey. At that time, the church covered an extensive parish, which was gradually reduced until the 20th century by the erection and expansion of other parishes, many of which were founded as chapels of ease of St Cuthbert's. St Cuthbert's became a Protestant church at the Scottish Reformation in 1560: from after the Reformation until the 19th century, the church was usually called the West Kirk. After the Restoration in 1660, the congregation remained loyal to the Covenanters. The church's position at the foot of Castle Rock saw it damaged or destroyed at least four times between the 14th and 17th centuries.
The current church was built between 1892 and 1894 to replace a Georgian church, which had itself replaced a building of uncertain age. The building was designed by Hippolyte Blanc in the Baroque and Renaissance styles and retains the steeple of the previous church. Features include stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Douglas Strachan, and Ballantyne & Gardiner; mural paintings by Gerald Moira and John Duncan; and memorials by John Flaxman and George Frampton. The church also possesses a ring of ten bells by Taylor of Loughborough. The church has been a Category A listed building since 1970.
Seven of the church's ministers have served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland during their incumbencies, including Robert Pont, who held the role on six occasions between the 1570s and 1590s. The church's present work includes ministries among homeless people and Edinburgh's business community.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.