St. Urban Tower is originally a Gothic prismatic campanile with a pyramidal roof. It was erected in the 14th century. A church bell installed in the tower has been dedicated to Saint Urban, the patron of vine-dressers. The bell was cast in a mould by the bell-founder Franciscus Illenfeld of Olomouc in 1557. Its weight is 7 tonnes.
In 1775 the pyramidal roof was constructed with annion in the Baroque style with an iron double cross. An archade passage was erected around the tower in 1912. There are 36 old gravestones (coming from the 14th and 15th centuries, one of these comes from the Roman Empire and dates back to the 4th century) bricked into the exterior walls of the St. Urban Tower.
In 1966 the tower was damaged by fire and the St. Urban Bell was destroyed as well. The reconstructed tower was reopened in 1971. The renovated bell was located in the front of the tower and a copy of the bell (made by employees of VSŽ Steel Works Košice in 1996) was installed in the campanile.
The East Slovak Museum set up an impressive exhibition of foundrywork in the tower after the reconstruction in 1977. It was removed in 1995. Today, there is a unique wax museum exhibition in the tower.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.