The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary or commonly known as the Dominican Church is the oldest church in Košice. In the first written document from 1303 it is mentioned as an already existing church. It was built around 1290. The oldest part of the church is the Romanesque nave with narrow windows. During the Baroque reconstruction they had been broadened into the present shape. The sanctuary is built in the Gothic style as well as the tower on the northern joint of the nave with the sanctuary. The 68 metres high conical tower is the highest in Košice.
After a big fire in 1556, the damaged church served as a store-house up to the beginning of the 18th century, when it was rebuilt in the Baroque style.
The interior is richly decorated with wall paintings. The ceiling was painted in the years 1750-1758 by Štefan Voroš. The main altar illustrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The altar of the Rosary Virgin Mary is also to be mentioned as it is believed that the Rosary is the idea of Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order. Paintings and statues in the church represent the most famous of numerous Dominican saints: Dominic de Guzman, Catherine of Siena, Thomas Aquinas or the Dominican nun Margaret, daughter of the King Béla IV.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.