Göss Abbey is a former Benedictine nunnery and former Cathedral in Leoben. The nunnery was founded in 1004 by Adula of Leoben, wife of Count Aribo I, and her son, the future Archbishop of Mainz, on the family's ancestral lands. It was settled by canonesses from Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. The first abbess was Kunigunde, sister of Archbishop Aribo. Göss was made an Imperial abbey by Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1020. The Benedictine Rule was introduced in the 12th century.
Göss Abbey functioned for centuries as a centre for the Styrian aristocracy to have their daughters educated and if necessary accommodated, and entry was strictly limited to members of the nobility.
The nunnery, the last remaining Imperial abbey on Habsburg lands, was dissolved in 1782 in the course of the rationalist reforms of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, and from 1786 served for a short time as the seat of the newly founded Bishopric of Leoben, of which the former abbey church, dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Andrew, was the cathedral. The first and only bishop died in 1800, and from 1808 the diocese was administered by the Bishops of Seckau until it was formally abolished in 1859. In 1827 the premises were auctioned off and acquired by the wheelwrights' co-operative of Vordernberg, who were primarily interested in the forests of the former abbey's estates. In 1860 the buildings were acquired by a brewer from Graz (the nunnery had had its own brewer since 1459) and have since then been used as a brewery, the Brauerei Göß.
The former abbey church, briefly the cathedral of Leoben, is now used as a parish church. It is a large late Gothic building containing an early Romanesque crypt beneath the choir, some important early Gothic frescoes in the chapel of Saint Michael and an imposing roof.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.