The Neues Schloss in Meersburg was the seat of the Prince-Bishop of Constance from its construction in 1750 until the bishopric was dissolved in 1803. Construction began in 1710 under Bishop Johann Franz II. von Stauffenberg, with Christoph Gessinger designing and supervising the work. It would be two years later in 1712 that the project was finished. The building was, however, a bit unfinished as a symbol of the power of the bishop. The upper story contained a number of apartments for visiting nobles and church leaders as the residence of a Prince-Bishop should, but it lacked a grand staircase and other trappings of wealth and power.
When Hugo Damian von Schönborn, who was already Bishop of Speyer and had already built Schloss Bruchsal there, took over the seat at Meersburg in 1740 he wanted to improve the Neues Schloss. He brought in the master builder Johann Georg Stahl from Bruchsal to turn the Schloss into a more impressive and elegant building. Following plans from Balthasar Neumann, Johann built an impressive staircase and decorated the castle.
From 1741 until 1743 the castle chapel was added, based on plans from Balthasar Neumann. The art and statues are the work of the fresco painter Gottfried Bernhard Göz from Augsburg (1708–1774) and the sculptor Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer (1696–1770).
By 1759 the Prince-Bishop Cardinal Franz Konrad von Rodt had the castle renovated under the direction of the master builder Franz Anton Bagnatos. The already dilapidated stairway had to be restored. The baroque facade of the castle was redone in the Rococo style, with enlarged windows, additional decoration around the windows and new gables.
The interior decoration is the work of the Mainz artist Giuseppe Appiani (c. 1705–1786) and the sculptor Carlo Luca Pozzi (1735–1803). Among the paintings by Appiani are two enormous paintings over the Grand Staircase from 1761 and over the ballroom from 1762.
During the 19th century and until 1955 the Schloss served as a school for girls, a local prison, a sailors' school, a secondary school and from 1865–1937 as the Baden Institution for Deaf-mutes, which moved to Gengenbach after 1937. Following World War II it was used as barracks for French troops.
Today the castle is home to several museums. In addition to the Town Gallery and the Dornier Museum, which take up the 2nd floor, the New Palace is also home to the Palace Museum of the Prince Bishops (Fürstbischöfliche Schlossmuseum) on the 3rd floor. It offers the opportunity to view the residential and representation rooms of the prince bishops refurnished with contemporary appointments from that age.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.