Saint Nicholas Cathedral (Nikolo-Dvorishchensky Cathedral), founded by Mstislav the Great in 1113 and consecrated in 1136, is the oldest surviving building in the central part of Veliky Novgorod after the Saint Sophia Cathedral. It is on the World Heritage list as a part of object 604 Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings.
The cathedral is located outside of the kremlin walls, on the right bank of the Volkhov River at the Yaroslav's Court. It was founded by Mstislav, the prince of Novgorod, in 1113, however, the construction took over twenty years, and the cathedral was consecrated in 1136, when Novgorod was already a republic. Presumably, the cathedral was supposed to serve the residence of the prince located at the Yaroslav's Court and was connected to the residence. Mstislav was the Prince of Novgorod between 1097 and 1117, and during his tenure he founded a big number of churches. The completion date for the cathedral is not known precisely, however the cathedral was completed and consecrated by 1136. Chronicles mention that in this year Prince Sviatoslav Olgovich was betrothed in the cathedral.
Since the 13th century, the cathedral belonged to the city of Novgorod rather than to the prince, andveche was held near the cathedral. It was mentioned as cathedral in the 17th century. The cathedral was renovated several times in the 18th and the 19th centuries, as well as in 1913. Since 1933 it was open both as a church and as a museum. During the German occupation of Novgorod in World War II, it served as a barrack and was badly damaged. In 1945 the cathedral was returned to Russian Orthodox Church, however, since 1962 it was functioning only as a museum. In 1994–1999 the cathedral was extensively restored.
The cathedral is roughly squared in cross-section and has one dome. The roof is supported by four pillars. It is known that in the middle of the 17th century the cathedral had five domes. Apparently, the roof was considerably altered during one of the restorations in the end of the 17th century. Additional volumes were built at the northern (in 1822) and the western (1809) sides of the cathedral. Fragments of original frescoes from the 12th century survived. The best preserved fragment depicts Job.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.