The Xenophontos Monastery is one of the twenty monasteries located on the peninsula of Mount Athos in northeastern Greece. The monastery is on southwestern side of the peninsula near St. Panteleimon's Monastery. Xenophontos ranks sixteenth in the hierarchical order on Mount Athos.
First mention of the founding of a monastery was in 998, while the monk Xenophon is credited with building the monastery that bears his name in 1010. After the fall of Constantinople, Xenophontos began a period of hard times as the monastery was alternatively destroyed by pirates and rebuilt. Each time rulers from eastern Europe would fund rebuilding efforts. Such attacks continued until the 18th century.
In the 16th century a katholikon was built near the entrance to the monastery in the southern part of the monastery precinct and dedicated to St. George the Trophybearer. This church featured frescos painted by Antonius of the Cretan school. In the 18th century the monastery began to prosper again and a new katholikon was built. It was also restored between 1817 and 1837. This church remains the largest katholikon on the Holy Mount. This building was located in the northern part of the monastery precinct.
Within the monastery precincts there are eight chapels. Two of these are associated with the old katholikon where the chapels of St. Demetrios and St. Lazaros are within the katholikon. The other six, St. John the Theologian, St. Euphemia, Ss. Cosmos and Damian, the Dormition of of the Virgin, the Presentation of the Virgin, and St. Stephen, are outside it. There are also six chapels outside the precincts of the monastery. Additionally, the skete of the Annunciation or Xenophontos belong to the monastery.
The library of Xenophontos contains over 4,000 printed books and some 300 manuscripts.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.