Verona Cathedral was erected after two Palaeo-Christian churches on the same site had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1117. Built in Romanesque style, the cathedral was consecrated on September 13, 1187. The structure was later modified by several renovation interventions, although the plan has remained unchanged.
The façade is divided into three parts, with a pediment and a two storied projecting porch or protiro embellished with sculpture, which is the work of the twelfth-century sculptor Nicholaus, who also executed and signed the entranceway at the abbey church of San Zeno, also in Verona, and Ferrara Cathedral. The portico is supported on the backs of two griffins, similar to those from the dismantled Porta dei Mesi at Ferrara. The lunette depicts the Virgin holding the Christ child in high relief, centered between two low relief scenes, the Annunciation to the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Magi. On the lintel in medallions are the three theological virtues, Faith, Charity and Hope. Ten figures of prophets are set in the doorposts and jambs; the four symbols of the Evangelists and the Hand of God are set above in the barrel vault of the first story of the porch. Set into the walls on either side of the portal are figures of Roland and Oliver, who as holy warriors, remind one of the constant need to provide protection to the church.
The Gothic windows in the facade provide evidence of the renovation that took place in the 14th century. The Baroque addition at the upper part of the facade is part of 17th-century additions. On the south side of the church is a second portal executed in the so-called Lombard or Como style. The main apse has retained its integrity and as such is an example of mid-12th-century architecture. The bell tower, begun in the 16th century by Michele Sanmicheli and left unfinished, has two orders of columns with highly decorated capitals, bas-reliefs and traces of 14th-century frescoes. It contains nine bells in the scale of A. The tenor weight is 4566 kg. The bells are rung with the tradition of Veronese bellringing art.
The current appearance of the interior dates from the 15th-century renovations. It has a nave and two aisles divided by tall pilasters in red Verona marble, which support Gothic arcades. The first three chapels on each side are in the same style, and house mostly Renaissance artworks by Veronese artists. The nave ends with the main Chapel (Cappella Maggiore), also by Sanmicheli.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.