The Livonian Order's stone castle is the oldest building in Dobele, and a national architectural monument. It was built on the site of an ancient Semigallian timber fortress from 1335 to 1339. A church was built and a park was laid out later.
This land hosted a settlement of Dobele's most ancient inhabitants – the Semigallians as early as 1000 years B.C. Surrounded by the ancient town, there stood a timber fortress, one of the administrative centres of ancient Semigallians. The castle has been mentioned several times in the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle telling about the 13th century battles between the locals and the German crusader knights. Between 1279 and 1289, Dobele castle withstood six enemy attacks. In 1289, the Semigallians burnt down their fortress and left, undefeated, for Rakte in Lithuania.
Until 1562, the castle was headquarters for the chief of the garrison and also the Komtur, commander of the district. During the period of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, several commanders were in charge of the castle, the last one being Christoph Georg von Ofenberg. After 1729, the castle built by the Order was abandoned and gradually fell in ruins. Works for the conservation of the ruins started were launched in 2002.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.