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

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Brian Krull (10 months ago)
Visited Jan 2, 2022 and arrived at 3:30 local time with sunset at 4 PM so they give you authentic candle lanterns to make your way through the dark, unlit walkways and stairs. It was a very interesting and exciting way to tour an old castle.
Charles Bourrier (11 months ago)
While nice, the tower window are not child safe and can be easily opened and crawled through. Avoid going in the castle tower with small children !!!
Christoffer Dyrhaug (13 months ago)
Great historic castle. Great guide also. You need to visit if you drive bye.
Catherine Skoruk (14 months ago)
Old castle on the lake with swans - nice place to have a calm walk. Small and very neat town.
Bogdans Ozerkins (14 months ago)
A great castle with lots of things to see and awesome views. Also the museum is great with a nice tower and library and stuff. Loves it very much. Definitely worth the price!
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