Little Castle (Mali grad) in Kamnik was constructed in the 11th or early 12th century at the strategic site above the narrow passage near an important trail. The Romanesque chapel of St. Eligius is one of the most important Slovene medieval monuments, despite later alterations, and is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. The chapel features a wooden ceiling and exquisite fresco paintings.
Archaeological evidence indicates a cultic centre here in pre-Antiquity. The castle was first mentioned in 1202, but is of older origin. At the end of the 13th century, the castle burned; the northeast part was demolished and never rebuilt. The remainder of the castle was torn down in the 16th century after the earthquake of 1511, leaving only the three-storey Romanesque chapel built between the 11th and 15th centuries. One can still see the remnants of defensive walls and the recently restored defensive tower.
The first chapel of St. Margaret with a crypt, the presbytery of today's lower chapel, was built around 1100. When the nave was added, the Romanesque portal with a lunette was displaced. In the 13th century the chapel's second floor was built, dedicated to Bartholomew the Apostle, with a Gothic vault build after 1470. The lower chapel was than dedicated to St. Eligius, decorated again after 1771 with frescos by Janez Potočnik. The entire chapel was rebuilt in Baroque style around 1700. Inside there are also remnants of Gothic and Baroque frescos.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.