St. Francis Church is situated next to the Franciscan monastery. In front of it there is a small square, formerly used as a cemetery. The construction of the church and the monastery reaches back to the year 1301. Despite many restorations, traces of the period in which the church was built can still be seen in the presbytery.
The present interior dates from the 17th century and the exterior from the 19th century. The left corner of the church is decorated in the Lombard style. The baldachin in front of the central altar dates from the 16th century. It was removed in the 18th century and restored to its original dwelling in the 19th century.
The most important painting is “Mary with all the Saints” by Vittore Carpaccio from the year 1518, which adorned the aedicula until 1940, when it was transferred to Italy. St. Francis Church is proud of its authentic gallery of paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries; the most important of which are: the Last Supper, the portraits of Pope Alexander V, Pope George II, St. Magdalena, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, St. Paul and Samaritan Women by a Well.
Next to St. Francis Church is a Franciscan monastery with a gracefully designed atrium, the Cloister, which represents one of the best Cloister atrium designs in the coastal area. Leading to the Cloister there is a half-arched portal adorned with richly carved columns, bearing an architrave with an inscription and coats of arms.
In its entirety as well as its detail, the portal is considered to be the best example of stone carving art from the end of the 17th century in Piran. Due to its beautiful atmosphere and good acoustics, the Cloister has for many decades been the setting for the Musical Evenings of Piran.
The Pinacotheque, in the basement of the monastery, contains a collection of 14 high-quality paintings, painted mainly by unknown Venetian artists who used to decorate the monastery and the church.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.