St. George's Church belongs to the most significant historical monuments of North German brick Gothic architecture. It was constructed in a long period spanning the Late Middle Ages and the Reformation, undergoing several design changes before its final completion in 1594. The colossal nave and transept is testament to the last great parish church constructed in the Middle Ages in Northern Germany. After extensive damage by an air raid in April 1945, the church could no longer be used.
Until January 1990 the church remained a dangerously insecure ruin in the town, and a great storm that month lead to the collapse of its North gable. This event however provided the impetus to secure and then restore the church with help from the Deutschen Stiftung Denkmalschutz (German Foundation for Monument Protection).
The efforts of the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz alongside funding at municipal, federal state and national level as well as numerous private donors have made it possible to not only rebuild this Gothic monument but provide greater public access to it and enable it once again to be used by the Lutheran Church.
In total more than 40 million Euros have been invested in the reconstruction. Despite the building activity, St. Georgen has established itself as an attractive cultural venue, with well-received congresses, exhibitions, concerts, readings and church events having all taken place there.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.