Rodez Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez) is a national monument and is the seat of the Bishopric of Rodez. The closed west front once formed part of the city wall of Rodez.
Rodez was Christianized in the 4th-5th century AD, and the first mention of a cathedral dates from around 516. This structure was rebuilt c. 1000; almost nothing remains of it after the decision to rebuild it from scratch in 1276.
The works were halted for many years by the Black Death and the Hundred Years War, and were restarted only in the early 15th century with the completion of the choir and its vault, as well as the transept and of the first sectors of the nave. After the fire of 1510, bishop François d'Estaing had it rebuilt in 1513-1526 under the direction of Antoine Salvan with a new majestic bell tower. The cathedral was completed around 1531.
In 1792–98, Pierre Méchain and Jean-Baptiste Delambre used Rodez Cathedral as the central surveying point for their calculation of the circumference of the earth. This was used in the definition of the metre.
Despite the long construction process, the cathedral is characterized by a remarkable unity of style, which is mostly the Gothic one imported by architect Jean Deschamps into the Midi from northern France.
The cathedral is constructed of red sandstone. It has a severe façade, flanked by two sturdy towers, which betray its defensive function: the west front once formed part of the city walls of Rodez. The belltower, standing at 87 m, is surmounted by a lantern carrying the statue of the Virgin with a choir of four angels.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.