The first hill fort overlooking the valley of Wolfach was built by Count Rapoto I von Ortenburg around 1120. Due to the power of Ortenburg house there were many conflicts with neihgbor states in the late 12th century and early 13th century. The castle was destroyed in one of these wars in 1192 and subsequently rebuilt. The medieval castle was sacked and almost completely destroyed in Landshut War of Succession in 1504.
The current Ortenburg castle was built in its current form as a renaissance castle in 1562. The interior furnishing of the halls had been first completed in 1800. Therefore, the castle holds interior decoration and art dating back over the course of two centuries. The precious coffered ceiling of the castle chapel is particularly worth noting. The ceiling, which had been made with five different types of wood, is among the most significant renaissance wood ceilings in Germany. Further art treasures included the knights’ hall and the renaissance inner courtyard. Today, the castle is home to the Ortenburg Castle Museum.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.