Castles of Latvia - Cesis Pils

Cesis Castle
Since we are in CCP virus lockdown here, I have to take you on a tour of Latvian castles that we visited last summer. The only thing I've seen in the last month is the inside of my apartment or grocery store, neither of which you want to see.

The first castle I'd like to show you is in the town of Cesis. The pils (the word castle in Latvian) sits on a small hill surrounded by the city which, of course, grew up around the castle. 

Model of the castle
Most of the castle today is ruins. It was first constructed of stone around 1209, so it's been around a very long time. When it was completed, it became the seat of the Livonians. The Master of the Livonian Order used it as his residence from 1239 to 1561. The Livonians were the rulers of the territory known as Latvia today.
Altar in the ruins

The ruins sit in a beautiful park now. We wandered around the grounds of the old castle and came upon an ancient altar that was used in the castle hundreds of years ago. My husband was intrigued because he could still make out the crosses on the four corners and in the middle of the stone altar top. 

St. John's Lutheran Church
Not far from the castle another ancient building stands in witness to its long history. St. John's Lutheran Church, built in the later part of the 13th Century, was the cathedral of the Livonian Order. Of course, it was part of the Catholic Church back then but converted to Lutheranism in the 16th Century. 

The church has been restored and renovated many times over the years with the 65 meter tower added in 1853. The burial plates of the Livonian Masters are located within the church. 

Altar of St. John's 

The plain-looking church was built in the Romanesque style with large arches and high ceilings. The pulpit was constructed in 1748 and the altar in 1858.

It truly was amazing to walk around structures that have stood in this city center for close to 800 years. 

Information taken from Latvia Travel Guide. 


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