Prince Bishops of Brixen commissioned the construction of their fortified castle (called Hofburg) in Brixen in the 13th century. The following centuries brought about numerous revisions to the structure. Around 1600 the splendid renaissance-style interior courtyard was created and decorated with bronze-overlaid terracotta statues by Hans Reichle, the celebrated sculptor from Augsburg. During that same period, the meeting rooms of the grand chancery were decorated with ample heraldic adornments.
Around 1706 Caspar Ignaz began the Baroque style renovation of the palace. It was then that the bishop’s chapel and the imperial wing with its majolica stoves were built; and the ceilings adorned with either paintings by Kaspar Waldmann and Antonio Gresta, or lavish plaster embellishments. Tapestries and the historic furnishings were added as well. In keeping with the fashions of the time, one room was converted into a Chinese cabinet.
Today Hofburg houses the diocesan collection of sacred artworks from the Romanesque period to the Modern age, the treasures of the cathedral of Brixen/Bressanone, works by 19th century Tyrolean artists, a collection of cribs and special exhibitions.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.