Kaunas Cathedral Basilica (Kauno Šv. apaštalų Petro ir Povilo arkikatedra bazilika) is a Roman Catholic cathedral basilica. The exact date when the first Gothic style church dedicated to apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul was built is unknown, but it was first mentioned in written sources in 1413. The first parochial school in Kaunas at the St. Peter and St. Paul church was mentioned in 1473. The construction works were concluded only in 1624. The church greatly suffered from wars in 1655and was rebuilt in 1671 and gained some Renaissance features. Only one of the towers was rebuilt after the fire of the roof in 1732. As a part of renovation, the internal decorations were funded by the King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1771. The main altar, a lectern and a choir were installed by Tomasz Podhajski in 1775. The present day shape of the building is from 1800 renovation. Тhе bishop of Samogitia, historian and one of the best known Lithuanian writers of the 19th century Motiejus Valančius was interred in a crypt of the church in 1875.
The church was promoted to cathedral status by Pope Leo XIII in 1895. It received the Basilica title in 1926, when the Diocese of Samogitia was reorganized into the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kaunas by Pope Pius XI. The cathedral, being 84 m long, 28 m height and 34 m wide is the largest Gothic church in Lithuania. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, built in 1895, is an independent extension of the southern nave with carved wood furnishings in the neo-gothic style.
There is also a Neogothic mausoleum of one of the most famous Lithuanian romantic poets Maironis near the wall of the chapel. Kaunas Cathedral Basilica was included into the Registry of Immovable Cultural Heritage Sites of the Republic of Lithuania in 1996. Lithuanian Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevičius was also buried in the Kaunas Cathedral Basilica in 2000.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.