Preiļi Palace was originally built in the early 19th century and the structure was converted between 1860 and 1865 into its present English Neo-Gothic form, also called Tudor style. The interior was destroyed in a February 1978 fire and has not been restored.
The estate was owned by Count Borhs family from 1382 to 1864. It initially contained a castle of the Livonian order, which was devastated by Russian tsar Ivan the terrible at the time of the Russian invasion in the second half of the 16th century, during the Livonian War. The castle was not reconstructed though. Instead, a new palace was built, which was set on fire at the beginning of the 18th century.
A two-storied Neo-Gothic palace was erected on the site in about 1836, according to the architectural project of architects A. Beleckis and G. Schacht. Later, the building was remodelled and a round castle-type turret located at the northeast side was added to the structure. The construction was initiated at the beginning of the 19th century and finished during the 1860s. The third story with a wooden construction for a campanile was built between 1891 and 1910. In February 1978, the palace was burnt down again and for many years remained without a roof.
The Preiļi landscape park covers 41,2 hectares, of which 13,2 are covered by ponds. Some architectural monuments in the park, such as a chapel, stables, the palace itself and the park's main cottage, may be visited. The Preiļi History and Applied Art Museum, opened in 1985, is also part of the Preiļi estate. The museum collection comprises mainly historical items, besides more than 10,000 items created by local and foreign artists.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.