Sarriod de la Tour Castle was originally a typical of the style built between the 10th and 12th centuries, and was greatly expanded by Jean Sarriod in 1420 and his son, Antoine, in 1478. The north wing's ground floor features a wooden-ceilinged 'Hall of Heads', named for its decorative motifs.
The Sarriod de la Tour Castle was the family residence of the Sarriod family since its founding. The Sarriods were politically linked to the powerful Bard family in the County of Savoy. The oldest part of the castle included a chapel and square tower, or donjon, surrounded by the castle walls. In 1420 Jean Sarriod expanded upon the 'turris Sariodorum', as the donjon was known. The 'Hall of Heads', built in 1430, features 171 corbels of grotesques of mythological monsters and animals bearing coats of arms.
In 1478 Jean's son, Antoine Sarriod de la Tour, refurbished the chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist, by having painted the external frescoes of the Crucifix and Saint Christopher and caused to be built the small bell tower. The castle wall's circular and semi-circular towers were added sometime in the late 15th century, when a new entrance was created on the eastern side. In the 16th century a west-facing wing was added, then, in the 17th century, a north tower. The Sarriod family inhabited the castle until 1923. In that year the castle went to the Genoese Bensa family. Since 1970, it has been property of the autonomous Region Aosta Valley.
Sarriod de la Tour is open to visitors year round.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.