Churburg Castle (Castel Coira in Italian) is one of the best preserved castles of South Tyrol. In 1259 this building was mentioned for the first time under the name “Curberch” in a document of the archbishop Heinrich von Monfort, which had the castle built around 1250. However, already in 1297 the castle passed to the Lords of Mazia, which were in constant feud with the prince-bishopric of Chur. At the beginning of the 16th century, after the death of the last representative of the Lords of Mazia, the castle again changed hands and passed on to the Counts of Trapp.
The most ancient nucleus of the Romanesque period is represented by the donjon, the great hall and the circular wall. Up until the 16th century the castle was able to preserve its Mediaeval appearance. Only when it passed into the hands of the Counts of Trapp, substantial renovations and extensions were made. In the course of this period, residential buildings, Zwinger palaces, chapels, bays and garden terraces in gothic style were annexed. Only in the second half of the 16th century the castle was converted into a Renaissance castle.
Today the castle, which has never been destroyed, offers a rich variety of well-furbished rooms. Particularly interesting for those who love arts are the Madonna sculpture, the funeral shields in the castle chapel and the decorated arcades with Renaissance vault made of the typical marble of Lasa in Val Venosta. Moreover Castel Coira offers the largest private armory worldwide, including an almost complete collection of armaments for the entire castle crew with more than 50 suits of armour, thrustings and swords.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.