The original structure of Scharfenstein castle was built in 1250. It is suspected that the von Waldenburgs ordered its construction, but only its first owner occupant is known for certain. When, in the 15th century, Greifenstein Castle was destroyed, Scharfenstein also took over the guardianship of Thum, Ehrenfriedersdorf and Geyer. As a result, its value increased, so that in 1439 the Elector acquired the area from the Waldenburgs who were heavily indebted to him. On 26 January 1492 Henry of Einsiedel bought Scharfenstein Castle and its associated villages of Grießbach, Großolbersdorf, Grünau, Hohndorf Hopfgarten and Scharfenstein It remained in the family until 1931.
Following a fire during the night of 1st-2nd June 1921 the entire residential wing and part of the domestic wing was destroyed. From 1921 to 1923 the damaged wings were partially rebuilt to plans by Bodo Ebhardt, based on the old design.
In 1931, a factory owner, Captain Eulitz from Fährbrücke, acquires possession. By his efforts in 1932 in a bird observatory was established. Hundreds of nest boxes were put up throughout the 325 hectares of woodland on the estate; bird-ringing was carried out and scientific reports published, with the support of the Chemnitz Ornithological Society.
In 1945 this forest was seized and made public property, the castle was initially used as the mining school for the state-owned Wismut mining company and, in 1951, a special children's home was established here for maladjusted boys. In 1967, it was converted into a detention centre for juvenile delinquents. Ornithological work was undertaken by the museum at Augustusburg Castle.
In 1993 the castle was taken over by the Saxon Palace Department of the Free State of Saxony. In the period that followed the castle was renovated as a historic monument and converted into a museum. In 1995, on the completion of the renovation work, various exhibitions were opened - and for the first time since 1945, the castle was again open to the public. The bergfried is still used today as an observation tower.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.