Claudium Virunum was a Roman city in the province of Noricum, on today's Zollfeld in the Austrian State of Carinthia. Virunum was founded under Emperor Claudius as the capital of the province of Noricum. The new Roman foundation was situated on the main route from the Adriatic to the Danube, with a branch through south eastern Carinthia connecting Virunum with the Amber Road.
From AD 343 Virunum is known to have been a bishop's see. Little is known about the decline of the city. Being unfortified and situated in a flat valley, during the Migration Period the city was probably partly or totally evacuated by its inhabitants, who left for the surrounding hills such as Ulrichsberg or Grazerkogel.
The city proper covered an area of about 1 km². Extensive and systematic excavations took place from end of the 19th century until 1931. Further excavations were not undertaken until the end of the 20th century culminating in the excavation of the amphitheatre.
Apart from the city capitol, a Dolichenum for the military god Jupiter Dolichenus was excavated, inscriptions have been discovered proving the existence of two Mithraea, and in 1999 two votive relief plates were found from a Nemesis temple near the amphitheatre. Proof of an early Christian church, whose existence had been presumed for a long time, has recently been found in the northern section of the city.
A proper Roman theatre with a stage, the only one known in all Noricum, as well as elliptic amphitheatre were situated on the slope of Töltschach Hill. A large building further east is believed to have been the palace of the Praeses or provincial governor.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.