The Bonn Minster (Bonner Münster) is one of Germany's oldest churches, having been built between the 11th and 13th centuries. At one point the church served as the cathedral for the Archbishopric of Cologne.
Castra Bonnensia was a fortress on the site of current Bonn built by the Romans in the 1st century AD. It survived the breakup of the Roman Empire as a civilian settlement, and in the 9th century it became the Frankish town of Bonnburg.
Around 235 AD, two Christian Roman soldiers stationed in Castra Bonnensia, Cassius and Florentius, were martyred for their faith. Tradition has it that a small memorial shrine was built over their graves in the 4th century by St. Helen, mother of Constantine. There is no surviving evidence of this first structure, but archaeological excavations have shown that the basilica stands on the site of a Roman temple and necropolis.
The original memorial hall was expanded into a larger church in the 6th and 7th centuries, and many people were buried near the martyrs inside and outside the building. Further extensions were carried out in the 8th century.
Around 1050 the church was demolished and construction began on the present Romanesque building, which dates from the 11th to 13th centuries. By the end of this period Bonn had grown in importance, becoming the capital of the Electorate and Archbishopric of Cologne, which was then a sovereign state. The new basilica appeared in the city's coat of arms. In 1643, Cassius and Florentius were officially declared the patron saints of the city of Bonn.
The basilica suffered significant damage in 1583-89, 1689, and in World War II, but each time it was fully restored. In 1956, the Bonner Münster was granted the status of Papal Minor Basilica.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.