Aldersbach Abbey was founded in 1127 by Saint Otto, Bishop of Bamberg, as a community of Augustinian Canons. It is located on a site near a church consecrated in 880 by Englmar, Bishop of Passau, in honour of Saint Peter. In 1146 Egilbert, the successor of Otto, gave the foundation and a new church of Our Lady to the Cistercians, and after the departure of the canons, Abbot Sefried, with monks from Ebrach Abbey, took possession.
Under Cistercian rule Aldersbach flourished for more than six centuries. It was famous for the rigour of its religious discipline and exerted a wide influence. From here were founded the religious houses of Fürstenfeld (1263), Fürstenzell (1274), and Gotteszell (1285). The monks cultivated the soil and devoted themselves to the pastoral work of their own and in the neighbouring churches dependent upon the abbey. Nor did they neglect the pursuit of learning: the first abbot, Sefried, formed the nucleus of the library to which valuable additions were made by his successors.
During the Thirty Years' War which followed the Reformation, the abbey was pillaged and almost entirely abandoned. The library however escaped destruction, and under the abbots Matthew and Gebhard Horger the old régime was restored. Abbot Theobald II repaired the injuries sustained during the wars of the Spanish and Austrian Successions.
The abbey was suppressed on 1 April 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria; the monks then numbered forty. The buildings were sold, and the abbey church was converted into a parish church, while the monks engaged in parish work or teaching. The library became a part of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek at Munich.
Brewing was first recorded in the monastery in 1268. The abbey brewery passed in 1811 into the hands of Johann Adam von Aretin, and the abbey still produces the beer brand Aldersbacher.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.