Victoria Tower is a monument erected in honor of a visit by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to the island in 1846. As the 1846 royal visit was the first time a reigning monarch had ever visited the island, a small granite stone was laid to mark where the queen had first stepped ashore in St Peter Port harbour. The following year, the architect William Colling was asked to draw up plans for a tower to commemorate the monarch"s visit.
The site chosen for Victoria Tower was an earthen mound opposite the Arsenal, where Guernsey"s militia were housed. On 27 May 1848 the first foundation stone was laid by the Governor of Guernsey, Major General John Bell, during a large ceremony. In the foundations of the tower was a time capsule containing Guernsey and English coins.
A public garden was later created, in which were placed two cannons captured from the Russians during the Crimean War these now sit on the ramparts of Castle Cornet. Years later, other guns were displayed in the garden, but these were scrapped or buried as the Second World War approaced, so that the invading German forces would think the island was not fortified. Two German guns that were buried were excavated in 1978 and are back in the garden.
In 1999 structural problems led to the tower"s being closed to the general public; it was re-opened on 24 May 2006, the birthday of Queen Victoria, during a re-enactment of the ceremony accompanying the laying of the foundation stone in 1848. The Lieutenant Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Fabian Malbon KBE, re-opened the tower in the presence of the Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland.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.