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.

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Address

Palasta iela 18, Cēsis, Latvia
See all sites in Cēsis

Details

Founded: 1209
Category: Castles and fortifications in Latvia
Historical period: State of the Teutonic Order (Latvia)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Adele Lepiksone (4 months ago)
I was there few years ago and now I can compare how they are grown. Very interactive and interesting. It is worth to go.
Evaldas Pakalka (5 months ago)
Very nice castle. You can go inside towers. Go to the top. Liked the modern way of telling history through cinema, holograms, etc. Liked to talk with craftsman outside telling that he creates and context of item in history. Thanks.
Marcis Lauznis (5 months ago)
One of best museums. 100% recommended.
Cla udia (5 months ago)
I cannot recommend this place enough. For the amount that you pay you get at least 2h worth of activities. Very good for kids as there is an outside area with different medieval games, a lot of information is written simply and understandably and a lot is interactive. Our favourite bit was the immersive surround multimedia experience in one of the tower rooms. Also during entrance you are given a lantern with a candle to help you through the dark rooms,this gives you a very authentic experience and is a nice touch. Will definitely be visiting again !
Krista 'Valkyyr' (6 months ago)
Worth every penny! Walking around the dark towers and spiral staircases with your own lantern with real candle inside. Absolutely awesome castle!
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