The National Museum of Slovenia has an extensive collection of archaeological artefacts, old coins and banknotes and displays related to the applied arts.
The museum was founded in 1821. After the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the name was changed to National Museum. In 1923 the ethnographic collections possessed by the museum were removed and placed in the new Slovene Ethnographic Museum and in 1933 much of its fine artwork was moved to the National Gallery of Slovenia. In 1944 the Slovenian Museum of Natural History became independent despite being located in the same building. In 1953 the majority of archives were moved to the Gruber Palace.
Renamed to National Museum of Slovenia in 1992, today the museum is divided into Archaeological Department, a Numismatic Cabinet, a Department of Prints and Drawings and a Department of History and the Applied Arts.
The main building of the National Museum is located close to the Slovenian Parliament building and the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, while the Ljubljana Opera House stands just opposite to it on the same square. It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style by the master builder Wilhelm Treo in collaboration with Jan Vladimír Hráský between 1883 and 1885. Treo mostly followed the plans by the Viennese architect Wilhelm Rezori.
The building was solemnly opened on 2 December 1888. In the Slovene Lands, this was the first building used solely for cultural purposes. A bronze monument to the Carniolan polymath Johann Weikhard von Valvasor, designed by the sculptor Alojz Gangl, was placed in front of the museum in 1903.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.