Tyrol Castle was the ancestral seat of the Counts of Tyrol and gave the whole Tyrol region its name.
The castle hill has been inhabited since ancient times. Several artefacts and one field of graves from the early Middle Ages have been identified. Archeologists have excavated a church with three apses dating from the early Christian period.
The first castle was built before 1100. The second construction phase including the keep dates to 1139-1140. A third phase of construction took place in the second half of the 13th century under Count Meinhard II of Gorizia-Tyrol. In 1347 Meinhard's granddaughter Countess Margaret of Tyrol was besieged here by the forces of the Luxembourg king Charles IV. The castle remained the seat of Tyrol's sovereigns until 1420, when the Habsburg archduke Frederick IV moved the administrative seat to Innsbruck north of the Brenner Pass.
In modern times parts of the castle fell into the so-called 'Köstengraben', a steep gorge. It was even sold in order to be used as a quarry. In the 19th century the castle was restored; the keep was rebuilt in 1904.
Regarding art history, the frescos of the castle's chapel are of special interest as well as two Romanesque portals with opulent marble sculptures showing legendary creatures, religious themes, and geometric ornaments.
Today, Tyrol Castle houses the South Tyrolean Museum of History. Next to the castle there is a falconry with a nursing ward for birds of prey.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.