Real Fábrica de Cristales de La Granja ('Royal Factory of Glass and Crystal of La Granja') was a Spanish royal manufacturing factory established in 1727 by Philip V of Spain. In that year, funded by the crown, the Catalan artisan Buenaventura Sit installed a small oven which manufactured float glass for the windows and mirrors of the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, which was under construction in the 1720s. Sit had previously worked at Nuevo Baztan where a glass factory failed because of inadequate fuel supplies. At La Granja there was an abundant supply of wood for the factory in the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Bartolome Sureda y Miserol, previously director of the Real Fabrica de Porcelana del Buen Retiro, the Real Fabrica de Pano in Guadalajara, and the Real Fabrica de Loza de la Moncloa, became director of the Real Fábrica de Cristales de La Granja in 1822. Glass blowing and glassware production could be viewed at the factory. The wares of the royal factory were exported to the Americas, which caused financial losses to the other countries who exported as well. By 1836, with the royal factory experiencing financial hardship, the Royal Treasury formally took over the facility which, unlike other royal factories, failed to financially support itself.
To revive the traditions of the Royal Glass Factory, the National Glass Centre Foundation was established in 1982 in the eighteenth-century building.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.