One of the oldest churches in Genoa, San Siro occupies the site of a former church originally dedicated to the apostles. In later centuries, the church was renamed after St Syrus of Genoa, a beatified bishop. Originally the cathedral of Genoa, it stood outside of the original walls, and was vulnerable to attacks from Saracen pirates; the title of Cathedral was transferred to San Lorenzo. There is another church dedicated to San Siro, San Siro di Struppa, outside the city center.
Legend holds that the bishop was able to banish a Basilisk that dwelt in a well adjacent to the church; a plaque on a nearby house recalls the miracle. This event is represented in a medieval bas relief on the portico arcade next to the church, as well as a fresco by Carlone in the apse.
From the tenth to 12th centuries, building of the original Romanesque structure of the church and bell-tower proceeded. In 1478, a fire destroyed much of the church. Nearly a century later, prodded by Cardinal Vincenzo Giustiniani and the Pallavicini family, reconstruction was begun following the demands of Counter-Reformation architecture, with a main central nave. That nave was frescoed by Giovanni Battista Carlone with Conversion of St Peter, Martyrdom of St. Peter, and Death of Simon Magus. Paolo Brozzi completed the quadratura decoration. The chapel of the Pietà was commissioned by Taddeo Carlone in 1595 (and completed by 1606 by the marble-carvers Santino Paracca, called Valsoldo, and Alessandro Ferrandino). In 1904, the romanesque bell-tower, due to its perilous situation had to be demolished and was never rebuilt.
Other works of art include the Triumph of the Cross in the cupola by Carlone, and canvases of the Annunciation, Birth of Mary, and St Anthony by Orazio Gentileschi (the brother of Aurelio Lomi). Other artists with paintings in the church include Domenico Fiasella, Giovanni Domenico Cappellino, Andrea Semino, Giacomo Lomellini, Cristoforo Roncalli, Gregorio De Ferrari, Domenico Piola (2nd chapel on right), and a Decapitation of Saint by Carlo Bononi . The church contains a number of sculptures by Taddeo Carlone. The main altar design and sculpture were completed by Pierre Puget.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.