The construction of the original Lütetsburg castle dates back to the East Frisian chieftain Lütet Manninga. He lost his ancestral home in Westel to devastating floods between 1373 and 1377. As a consequence, he expanded the family property Uthoff into the moated castle Lützborch.
Further outstanding castle lords and Knyphausen dynasty representatives followed, e.g. Dodo zu Innhausen und Knyphausen (1583-1636), who served the Swedish King Gustav Adolf in the Thirty Years’ War, and Wilhelm von Knyphausen, who in 1776 fought with the British against George Washington in America.The castle itself underwent many changes in its long history: theft and depredation during the Saxonian feud in 1517, ravages during the Thirty Years’ War, destruction by fire in 1893, and finally, partial destruction by aircraft bombs during the Second World War.
The present Lütetsburg castle is a modern, four-wing construction that was built 1956-1962 on the 1517 foundation walls. The family zu Inn- und Knyphausen continues to lives there today.
The simple, monumental brick building, consisting of a four-winged main body and two towers, was designed by Prince Wilhelm Edzard zu Inn- und Knyphausen and implemented by the architect Hans Heinrich von Oppeln.
The basic form of the outer ward goes back to the 15th century, and the impressive gate towers were built in the 17th century. The architectures integrate harmoniously into the landscape and exist in unison with the impressive park complex surrounding it. The castle interior is closed to visitors because it is a private residence.
Edzard Mauritz zu Inn- und Knyphausen (Earl from 1816 onwards) decided to transform the representative Baroque garden with its different parts into a naturally-formed, integrated landscape. He planted new foreign trees and shrubbery, dug canals and other streams and erected earth banks. He later added monuments and sculpted figures, so that the park gradually came to express his personal values and sentiments according to his experiences. We can see this in structures such as the stone pyramid in memory of his mother and his first wife, the friendship temple that he dedicated to a good friend, as well as in the Caroline Island with the Caroline memorial, which he dedicated to his deceased first daughter.
Following his death, Edzard Mauritz zu Inn- und Knyphausen’s children carried out very little structural change in the park. Yet alterations in its character did occur at that time, thanks to the extensive planting of rhododendrons and later azaleas, whose spectacular blossoms transformed the garden of quiet contemplation into a colourful, festive area.
The park continued to be cultivated as a monument steeped in history and picturesque natural space. Only in 1932 was it extensively redeveloped by Fürst Wilhelm Edzard zu Inn- und Knyphausen. After 1945, his commitment focused largely on clearing war damage and reconstructing the castle after a fire in 1956.
Castle Park counts today as one of the largest and most beautiful in northern Germany. Its 30 hectares and several kilometres of walking trails offers everyone, young an old, an oasis for regeneration. It is one of the few preserved examples of early Romantic garden types combining art and history as an integrative way of life.
The variety of over 150 exotic and native plant species, together with the vast expanse of the enclosure, make for the park’s charm. Here every visitor can find his or her own space and discover the park’s beauty for themselves. To this day, many characteristics of historical design have remained intact, so that you can still admire them in the park. For example, the ornate, affectionately inscribed benches invite every visitor to a moment of reposeReferences:
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.