The first mention of Sanok is found in 12th-century chronicles. The stronghold was destroyed in the 13th century during the Tatar invasion in 1241. In the 14th century the town of Sanok became fortified and a defensive castle was built.
During the reign of King Władysław Jagiełło, his wedding with Elisabeth of Pilica took place at the castle on May 2, 1417. The town and district authorities with a castellan at the top had their seat at the Sanok castle. In 1425, it was established the Higher Court of German law at the Sanok Castle. It was also a residence of the King's fourth wife Sophia of Halshany until her death in 1461.
Queen Bona Sforza ordered the rebuilding of the Gothic castle in the Renaissance style between 1523-1548. Between 1555-1556, the castle was the seat of Isabella Jagiellon, Queen of Hungary, after her escape from Transylvania. At the end of the 16th century, the castle underwent further expansion: the south wing was built at that time. At the turn of the 18th century the north wing was added. During the Napoleonic Wars, the castle was successfully defended against the Austrian forces by General Franciszek Ksawery Krasicki, who was the leader of the anti-Austrian uprising in the Sanok Region.
In 1915, after the Russian invasion, the South wing was demolished. In the interwar period the castle served as the Museum of Sanok. The Museum, established in 1934 by the Society of Friends of the Region of Sanok, had at first collections of the Sanok region, weapons and arms — the history of the town and castle of Sanok, furniture, artistic craftsmanship. With the beginning of World War II in September 1939, the castle was ransacked. In August 1944, the local German authorities looted the oldest surviving monuments of Polish culture, some of which were retrieved by the Polish Government after the war. Its collections were transferred to the castle where, since 1945, they have formed part of the Historical Museum, added to the latter's collection are some 200 icons from Lemko villages.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.