Clam castle was built in 1149 by Otto von Machland who owned all of Upper Austria. At that time it was a fortress consisting of two towers over 30 meters high. These two impressive buildings, one round and one rectangular, still exist in the very same shape today.
Soon after Otto von Machland died, the castle fell into the hands of robber barons. They were feared by the people of Upper Austria and excommunicated by the church. During the middle ages the ownership and construction of the castle changed several times until in 1454 the forefathers of the counts of Clam arrived
During the 30 year-war the Clam family had their own private army to defend the castle. In these times of turmoil and revolts Clam village also suffered a lot and was burned down several times. Clam was besieged many times but no hostile troops ever managed to capture the castle. However, in the mid 17th century when the war was over, the castle was in a very bad condition.
Under the regency of Johann Gottfried of Clam it was possible to renovate the entire castle. He started to transform the functional fortress into a comfortable castle as we see it today. He also built a church, a hospital and water pipes for the citizens of the village.
In the 18th century the wings housing the administration, the coaches and the horse stables were built. Today these wings form the outer yard.
Fortunately Clam castle also survived both world wars unharmed. Only the nuclear shelter, built in one of the castle’s cellars is a reminder of the 20th century.
Besides the Castle the estate includes several farmhouses, a riding school, a hydropower plant, farmland and forests.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.