Cesvaine Palace

Cesvaine, Latvia

Cesvaine Palace was built in 1896 for the German baron Emil von Wulf (not to be confused with the von Wolf baronial family). Authors of the project were architects Hans Grisebach and August Dinklage from Berlin. The palace is built in the late Tudor Neo-Renaissance style. It is located next to the old medieval castle ruins, remains from the old bishops castle.

At the end of the 19th century, Germany abandoned the reproduction of old German prototypes and turned to England in search of inspiration, namely to late Tudor-style architecture. The style had preserved certain Gothic elements. Picturesque frames, towers and turrets of different forms and sizes, high decorative chimneys and steep roofs were all characteristic features of the style.

Cesvaine Palace is an impressive construction representing this trend in Latvia. Abandoning forms of the German renaissance, Griesebach created an unusual, noble and welcoming construction. It is a romantic and picturesque building, and its architecture harmonizes with the landscape. The palace is built of stone, skilfully using the colour and texture of the material. The building is renowned not only for its size and frame, but also for the quality of construction. The facades of the palace is made in the medieval style, so the palace leaves the impression of a medieval fortification.

The palace has survived all revolutions and wars of the twentieth century, so interiors were almost in perfect condition. Unfortunately in 2002 the palace suffered heavily in a fire. All of the roof and second floor was destroyed and the first floor was seriously damaged. But, many interior elements survived and will be restored. Although restoration works has started, due to the lack of finances they are proceeding very slowly. The last few decades there was a local secondary school housed in the palace.

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Address

Pils iela 1, Cesvaine, Latvia
See all sites in Cesvaine

Details

Founded: 1896
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Latvia
Historical period: Part of the Russian Empire (Latvia)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gita Memmena (9 months ago)
Palace was closed for reconstructon, but we explore surrounding and Cesvaine is very photogenic town. Also Green house is very special place - with its story and beauty.
Oksana Demenchenko (9 months ago)
Beautiful castle. Very elegant. In a quiet area. Unfortunately on a renovation at the moment.
Vidvuds Karlis Sulcs (10 months ago)
One of the most beautiful castles in Latvia!
Antanas Taparauskas (10 months ago)
Left a deep impression. Amazing
Ainars Dominiks (15 months ago)
it is very sad that this Castle, Palace is still not ready. 15 years passed since it burned down and now is still in such bad condition. Very sad about our government who doesn't want to spend money in suck great architecture. Shame on them. Still good place to visit and take photos.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.