Cīrava Palace is a national architecture monument included in the list of the culture monuments under state protection. The oldest county administrative documents relating to the subsequent estate are no longer found in publications or extracts from the Baltic German historians archives.
The palace has its roots in a time when the Aizpute and Sakaslejas county belonged to the bishopric of Courland. It was built in 1752 as a hunting palace for the German Baltic baron family von Manteuffel-Szoeges. It was an unimpressive, simple building. In 1868 the palace was rebuilt and expanded in the Tudor–Neo-Gothic style by the project of Teodor Zeiler. Interior elements in the palace are partly preserved, there are ornamental plafonds in some rooms and hearth with marble decorations dating back to beginning of nineteenth century. After this reconstruction, the palace became a quite impressive building with very individual forms and look.
On 16 December 1730 the king confirmed that Otto Friedrich von Behr and his wife Katharina, and their descendants, were the owners of the old Cīrava manor. In 1774 King Stanisław August Poniatowski confirmed Herman Friedrich von Behr and his wife Elizabeth, and their descendants, as the new owners of the estate. In October 1781 the property was inherited by Šarlote Katarīna, and in the summer of 1781 it was acquired by Karl Gothard Ernst von Manteuffel-Szoeges, landlord of Kazdanga Palace.
In the spring of 1921 the estate was nationalized and became part of the Latvian state, which took hold of the manor, some 700 ha. of arable land and 150 ha. of grasslands. From 1922 until 1951 the technical school of forestry (Meža skola) was housed in the palace. Later it served as technical school of agriculture. The last few decades the palace has stood empty and needs renovation jobs. There are some plans to renovate it and transform it to a hotel.
The palace is surrounded by a 19th century landscape park. There is also a decorative pond with two islands and a big collection of trees and bushes in the park. G. Kuffalt, the main gardener of Riga, took part in the creation of the Cīrava Palace park.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.