Svaneholm Castle (Svaneholms slott) was initially erected in the 1530s by the Danish knight and royal advisor Mourids Jepsen Sparre. Original murder-holes in the oldest castle walls are still preserved.
During the Middle Ages the residence was called Skurdorp (Skudrup), which was fortified and situated next to the parish church, where remains still can be seen. During the mid-15th century it was owned by guardsman Henning Meyenstorp (Meinstrup) and through marriage it later came to the possession of the Sparre-family. Approximately 1530 the residence was moved from Skurup to an islet in the Lake Svaneholmssjön, after that it was called Svaneholm. Through inheritance and purchase Svaneholm Castle came to the possession of Prebend Gyllenstierna in 1611.
At the death of his great-grandson Axel Gyllenstierna in 1705, the castle went to the nephew Axel Julius Coyet via testament, but 1723 his aunt Sofie Gyllenstiernagained half of the properties via trial. Her half was 1751 bought by baron Gustaf Julius Coyet. 1782 it was inherited by Coyet's nephew, baron Rutger Maclean — "The reformer of Scanian agriculture". At Maclean's death in 1816, Svaneholm Castle was inherited by his nephew Kjell Christoffer Bennet and his three siblings, 1839 it was sold to chamberlain Carl Johan Hallenborg and belonged to his son and grandchild until 1902 when it was redeemed bycount Carl Augustin Ehrensvärd, married to a Miss Hallenborg.
A year after the death of Ehrensvärd in 1934, Svaneholm Castle, the park, the garden, most of the lake and the surrounding forest was purchased by the Svaneholm Castle Cooperative Society. The castle now houses a museum run by Wemmenhög Hundred's Momuments and Home District Society.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.