Álora's castle was first built by the Phoenicians and subsequently expanded under Roman rule. In the 5th century the castle was destroyed by the Visigoths.
The present Álora Castle was built in the 9th century by the Moorish state of Córdoba during a campaign against the Mozarabic rebel leader Umar ibn Hafsun. Later modifications in the 10th century added two enclosures. The inner enclosure was square and used as a fortress. The outer enclosure, with several towers, covered a large area of the perimeter of the hill.
During the 17th century the parish church was built on the old mosque inside Álora Castle also using one of the castle towers. The castle was damaged by the earthquake of 1680 and since then was also used as the village cemetery. The church tower still shows several bullet holes made by a squadron of French cavalry in August 1823.
From the castle you can enjoy breathtaking views of the fertile Guadalhorce Valley and the town of Álora.
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.