Marienkirche (St. Mary's Church) was built opposite of the Reinoldikirche, for the town's council and jurisdiction. It shows elements of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and houses notable Medieval art.
The church was built on the Hellweg, a main Medieval road connecting the free imperial town Dortmund with others. It was erected between 1170 and 1200 in Romanesque style to serve the town's council and jurisdiction. It is the oldest extant church in Dortmund's inner city. Around 1350, a choir in Gothic architecture was built. It served as a model for the Reinoldikirche, which was built opposite of the road.
The Marienkirche houses notable Medieval art, such as the Berswordtaltar from 1385, named after its patron, and the Marienaltar by Conrad von Soest from 1420, with scenes of the life of Mary. The central panel of the Berswordt-Altar dating from 1397 depicts the Swoon of the Virgin, an imagery which gradually disappeared from paintings of the Crucifixion after Molanus and other theologians of the Counter-Reformationcondemned its use. The Marienaltar now contains only fragments of von Soest's original masterpiece. In 1720 a new reredos was installed, and workmen took hammers and saws to the paintings to make them fit into the new frames, losing over half of the large central panel and a quarter of each of the two side panels.
Since the Reformation, it has been a Lutheran parish church of St. Marien. The church was almost completely destroyed by bombs in World War II. However, both the Marienaltar and the Berswordtaltar had been evacuated to the Cappenberg Castle at the outset of the war and thus survived. The church was rebuilt, beginning right after the war and completed in 1959. The swallow's nest organ high above the nave, was reconstructed in the same position by Steinmann Orgelbau. The glass windows were restored in subdued colours after designs of Johannes Schreiter, completed in 1972. The church serves as a concert venue for sacred music.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.