Aastrup Church dates from c. 1200. Built in the Late Romanesque style, it has frescos from the 13th and 15th centuries. The church was dedicated to St Anne although this was probably not its original patron as Anne was not generally known in Denmark until the late Middle Ages. The Crown, which enjoyed clerical appointment rights since before the Reformation, sold the church in 1767 to the parish priest, C. H. Biering. In 1810, Peter Hersleb Classen, director of Det Classenske Fideikommis, transferred the church's ownership to the local landowners and in 1919 it became autonomous.
The brick chancel and the nave both have round arch friezes below the cornice. The south door, partly bricked up, is still in use but the north door, whose remnants were uncovered in 1984, is completely closed. The nave was extended at the end of the 15th century when cross-vaulting replaced the flat ceiling. The remains of the priest's door can be seen on the south wall of the chancel. The east gable contains a rounded Romanesque window while traces of the other Romanesque windows can be seen in the masonry. The tower with stepped gables, built in the Gothic period, fills the full width of the nave. The porch dates from the same period.
On the nave's eastern gable there is a relief of two heads and on the chancel's east gable, there is a head above the window. These have given rise to a legend about three virgins who had been to church in Horbelev and were murdered when returning home: one in Horbelev, one in Aastrup and the third in Grønsund. The three murderers were the women's brothers who were taken by robbers when they were small children. According to the legend, the three heads in Aastrup are those of the virgins while those on the tower at Horbelev are those of the robbers.
The Neoclassical altarpiece from 1838 has a painting of Christ at Emmaus by Fritz Westphal. The pulpit carved in the auricular style by Jørgen Ringnis (1645) is similar to those inToreby and Væggerløse. The 55 cm high crucifix from around 1400 used to hang above the chancel arch but is now above the door to the porch. It depicts a thin figure whose thorn-covered head falls to his right shoulder. The arms are long and thin and the hands unnaturally small and stumpy. The church's limestone font is Late Gothic.
The frescos in the chancel and the nave from the late 15th century are probably the work of the Elmelunde Master and his workshop although they also appear to have been influenced by the nearby Brarup workshop. Rediscovered under the whitewash in 1901, they cover the Creation and the Passion. There are scenes depicting Christ bearing his cross, the suicide of Judas and the rich man and the poor man. In 1943, even older frescos (c. 1275) depicting a Majestas Domini were discovered on the wall above the chancel arch.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.