The St. Francis Xavier Cathedral was first time mentioned as a gothic chapel at this location in the so-called Königsberger's testament from 1503. It was the only place of Roman Catholic worship during the 16th century, when Banská Bystrica was in the hands of the Protestants.
In 1647 a few Jesuits settled here and started the Catholic reform of the town and its neighbourhood. During the years 1695–1701 they built their own college on the Königberger's site. They started the building of the church in 1702 as a copy of the Church of the Gesu in Rome. The construction came to a halt when in 1703 when the town was occupied by the anti-Habsburg troops of Francis II Rákóczi. The building resumed in 1709 and on 24 September 1715 the church of St. Francis Xavier was consecrated. At that time, the church was a baroque building with a single nave and six chapels. The façade lacked a tower. In 1773 the Jesuits had to leave the church when in July 1773 the Order was suppressed by Pope Clement XIV.
The cathedral has been the seat of the Diocese of Banská Bystrica since 1776. The two onion-shaped towers were added in 1844 during an extensive rebuilding. The nave of the church and the side galleries were lengthened and a consistory was added to the church.
Another modification was performed in 1880. The towers were rearranged and a romantic balustrade was added. In the 1970s the interior was refurbished and, together with the façade, was painted. The exterior was renovated in 1999. In 2003 a new pipe organ was installed.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.