Begun in 1525, the construction of Segovia Cathedral was ordered by Charles V to replace an earlier cathedral near the Alcázar, which had been destroyed during the War of the Comuneros, a revolt against that king.
The designs for the cathedral were drawn up by the leading late-Gothicist Juan Gil de Hontañón but executed by his son Rodrigo, in whose work can be seen a transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance style. The cathedral was finally completed in 1768 and consecrated on July 16 of that year.
The building's structure features three tall vaults and an ambulatory, with fine tracery windows and numerous stained glass windows. The interior is characterized by unity of style (late Gothic), except for the dome, built around 1630 by Pedro de Brizuela. The Gothic vaults are 33 meters high by 50 meters wide and 105 long. The bell tower reaches almost 90 meters. The current stone spire crowning the tower, dating from 1614, was erected after a major fire caused by a thunderstorm. The original spire, entirely Gothic, was built of American mahogany, had a pyramidal structure, and was the tallest tower in Spain.
Entrance is through the north transept. The interior, illuminated by 16th-century Flemish windows, is light, bare and uncluttered, with a large Gothic choir (15th-century, predating the cathedral) placed in the center. Across from the choir in the east end is the high altar, with an 18th-century altarpiece by Sabatini.
The walls and apse are lined with more than 20 chapels. The third chapel on your right from the entrance has a lamentation group in wood by the 17th-century Baroque sculptor Gregorio Fernández.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.