The construction of Kaunas town hall started in 1542. At first it was a one-storey building with not daubed facade and vaulting cellars. In the 16th century the first floor was build and the eight storey tower was built in the east of the building. The ground floor was adjusted for trading and prison guards, the first floor - for trial, magistrate, treasure, archive and office. Cellars were used to store the goods. The cellars of the tower were used as a prison.
In the year 1638 the renaissance reconstruction was made. In the year 1771 -1775 the second reconstruction was made by architect J. Matekeris. He rebuilt the part of building, which was demolished in the 17th century, replanned the premises and added additional floor to the tower. He decorated the town hall with baroque and classicism style decorations, rebuilt the pediment and erected there the sculptures of Grand Dukes of Lithuania (they survived only until the 19th century).
In 1824 the town hall was used as the premises of the orthodox church and later - ammunition storage. In 1836 the town hall was reconstructed again. The residence for Russian Czars was made there. From the year 1862 and 1869 there was The Kaunas town club, Russian club, firemen office and Russian theatre. In 1869 Kaunas municipality was established in the Town hall. In the year 1944 it was replaced by the archive and in the year 1951 the archive was replaced by Kaunas technical institute.
In 1973 the Wedding Hall (marriage registration office) was opened in the ground and first floor of Town hall. The cellars were used by a Ceramics museum. In the year 2005 the last reconstruction was made, some of damage was eliminated and the Town hall was painted this time not with white color, but with ivory.
Today Kaunas Town hall is used for the wedding ceremonies, official welcome of city guests, signing of agreements and official events.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.