Lębork Castle history begins from the first half of the 14th century. It was built and the town founded by Teutonic Knights. The stronghold was built on a square-like plan, with a residential building adjacent to a section from the stronghold’s southern part to the defensive wall, along the entire side of the square. The other two corners were fitted with quadrangular towers. One peculiarity of the Castle design was the division of the courtyard by a watercourse, over which a mill and a brewery were erected, also in the courtyard. The Castle complex also included utility buildings, such as a stable and a granary in the Castle grounds.
Until the end of the 15th century, the Lębork castle remained in Teutonic hands, from time to time conquered and filled with the Polish King’s army. Eventually, it became a fief to the Pomeranian Prince Eric II. Under the rule of the Pomeranian dynasty, the Lębork Castle underwent a significant redevelopment, according to the renaissance spirit. New buildings were erected in its territory, others were repurposed. Eric’s heirs ruled the castle and the town with short intervals until the 17th century, when, with the passing of the family, the fief was returned back under the rule of the Polish King. Since then, a Polish communal head has resided in the Castle. Soon after, during the war with Sweden, better known as “the Swedish Deluge”, the stronghold was severely damaged.
Since the mid-17th century, again as a fief, both the castle and the town fell into the hands of the Brandenburg Hohenzollerns. As a result of the partitions of Poland, Lębork found itself within the Prussian Borders. The 19th century and the interwar period brought significant changes to the shape of the Castle. First, defensive walls were deconstructed, and then the castle complex was adapted as a court. As a result, the original shape of the castle was almost entirely lost. A trained eye would probably notice some relics of the original, gothic structure; however, it is not an easy task. What remains to this day of the Lębork Castle functions as a district court headquarters. While in Lębork, it is worth taking a look at the building and try to find traces of the Castle’s past.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.