Alameda Castle is one of the scarce remains of military architecture from 15th century and one of few castles that have survived over the time and now arises once more after a restoration process and being converted into a museum.
The origin of the castle dates back to the late fourteenth century or the beginnings of the fifteenth century, and is linked to the Zapata family, who were holders of the seigniory which included the villages of Barajas and La Alameda. Its site has great archaeological value as it is a proven location of human settlements since Prehistoric times.
Refurbished during the sixteenth century, when it was transformed into a Renaissance palace, the fortification is one of the few remains of military architecture of that era preserved in the city.
As has happened with other historical buildings, after falling into disuse in the eighteenth century, the castle was used as a source of building materials for the population in the area, which contributed to its great deterioration, particularly noticeable during the nineteenth century. Years later, the enclave resumed its military function, being used as a small stronghold in the Spanish Civil War, when a rifle cache was also built in the area.
The Castle of Barajas ensemble is structured around two premises that include the main body of the building and the space surrounding the barbican. Of a rectangular design and rounded corners, the castle surface barely exceeds 200 square meters. The walls are made of limestone masonry and include the remains of two towers. One of them, the keep tower, has a quadrangular design and lies on the northeastern angle of the castle, while the second one, of a cylindrical layout, lies on the southeastern side. Inside, the castle structure was designed around a courtyard with ancillary rooms, complemented by the said keep tower.
The barbican remains may be found some four meters away around the castle, but only sections of wall fillings half a meter high have been preserved. The ensemble was completed with a moat surrounding the small stronghold; however, only the eastern and western flanks have reached our times.
Next to the castle itself and the prehistoric remains, the historic ensemble is completed by the Guard House, a rifle cache from the Civil War and the pantheon that the Fernán Núñez family built around 1898 and which is still in use.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.