In the year 1196, the Archbishop of Cologne summoned monks from the Cistercian Abbey in Hardhausen to establish a new abbey in a former Premonstratensian convent nearby that had been founded in 1170 but disbanded shortly thereafter. As abbey and landholder, the Zisterze Breidelare would go on to spur the economic, intellectual and spiritual growth of the northeast Sauerland region.
The Bredelar Abbey thrived for a good 600 years. In the 13th century its distinguished scriptorium produced the three-volume, richly illuminated Bredelar Bible, which is today kept in the Hessian State and University Library in Darmstadt. Other manuscripts from the abbey's library are preserved today in Wiesbaden, Berlin, Boston, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Paris and Washington. The remaining building fabric of the abbey is based on a construction plan from 1726.
In 1804 the abbey was disbanded in the course of secularisation. From 1828 to 1932, the monastery was home to an ironworks and foundry called Theodorshütte. Theodorshütte was initially set up as both smeltery and foundry of iron, with the first of its three blast furnaces erected in the former abbey church. From 1876 the iron foundry formed the centre of operations, producing extremely large machine parts, building components, iron window frames and stoves. In the latter half of the 20th century, the building progressively deteriorated and fell into disrepair. In 2000, the friends' society Kloster Bredelar e.V. was founded with the aim of restoring the complex for use as a community and cultural centre.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.