Cēsis is a city in Latvia, in the northern part of the Vidzeme Highlands, the administrative center of Cēsis region. Cesis is located 90 km from Riga. The river Gauja flows along the city. Cesis is one of the oldest cities in Latvia, a city of the Hanseatic League and one of the residences of masters of the Livonian Order (1237—1561). Cesis is the birthplace of the Latvian flag. Cesis was one of the Latvian cities that participated in the competition for the status of the European Capital of Culture in 2014, but on September 15, 2009, the jury of the European Commission recommended that this status be granted to Riga in Latvia. Cesis is home to several popular festivals - Cesis Art Festival, Lamp Talk Festival and Cello Cello Festival.



Cēsis was formed on the edge of the Gauja valley between the Latgalian states Tālava and Idumeja. In the 11th century, Vendis arrived in Cēsis and settled on Riekstu Hill. After the Vendis of Cēsis converted to the Christian faith in 1206, the Order of the Brothers of the Sword built its fortress in the Vendis Castle for military expeditions to Estonian lands. In 1237, after the destruction of the sword brothers in the Battle of the Sun, Cēsis Castle became the residence of the master of the newly formed Livonian Order, and extensive reconstruction works began here.

In 1271, the document mentions that Cesis has a seal with the image of St. Catherine. In 1280, the Chronicle of Echoes mentions that the Cēsis bodyguards went to defend the Riga against the Semigallians with a red-white-red flag. In 1284, the Cēsis Church was consecrated as the Dome Church of the Livonian Order. In 1383, Cēsis was already mentioned as a city surrounded by a wall with three towers and four gates. In 1413, the traveler Gilbert de Louan also described Cesis as a large fortified city: and I came to a large fortified city called Cesis (une grosse ville fermée nommée Winde), which is a commandant's office and a castle. " During the Livonian-Moscow wars in 1481, the Livonian archives, stocks of gold, silver, jewelry and other treasures were transferred from the castle of the Order of Riga to Cēsis Castle, and Cēsis again became the permanent capital of the Livonian Order. The prosperity and prosperity of Cēsis continued throughout the reign of Walter von Plettenberg, the master of the Livonian Order - for more than 40 years.

During the Livonian War in 1559-1560. The troops of the Russian Tsar Ivan IV destroyed the city of Cesis, but did not occupy the castle. In 1577, King Magnus of Livonia settled in Cēsis Castle. Although Magnus Cesis had already promised to surrender to the Russian troops, the city's defenders refused to give up. Unwilling to fall into Russian hands, Cesis Castle was blown up by its defenders, including about 300, including women and children, and remained buried under its ruins. In 1578, the castle was again surrounded by about 18,000 Russian and Tatar soldiers, but this time the defenders of the castle won. In 1598, Cēsis became the main city of the Cēsis Voivodeship of the Duchy of Pārdaugava, administered by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

During the Polish-Swedish War, Cesis was occupied in 1621 by King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. During the Great Northern War in 1703, the city and the castle were conquered by Russian troops. In 1748, during a great fire, the town hall and most of the city perished. In 1777, Cēsis manor was purchased by Kārlis Eberhards von Zīvers. In 1785, Cēsis became the county town.

During the First World War, after the conclusion of the Brestlitov Peace Treaty on February 20, 1918, Cesis was occupied by the Imperial German army. On November 18, 1918, after the founding of the Republic of Latvia, the Cēsis Company was founded in the city, which on December 8 became one of the first units of the national army. 6-23, 1919 In June, near Cēsis, Latvian and Estonian troops defeated the attacking German Baltic Landeswehr (Battle of Cēsis). In 1938, the new building of the Cēsis State Friendly Call Gymnasium was built. On July 5, 1941, the city was occupied by the Nazi German army, and on September 26, 1944, the city was occupied by the Red Army. During the Third Awakening, Cēsis became one of the centers of the independence restoration movement. In 1988, the first branch of the Latvian People's Front outside Riga was established in Cēsis.


Cultural and historical monuments

The castle of the Order or Cēsis Castle was one of the strongest fortresses of the Sword Brothers, later the Livonian Order in the Baltics and the residence of the masters of the Livonian Order, the construction of which began in 1207. The castle suffered greatly in the 16th and 17th centuries. wars, and after the devastation of the Great Northern War, it was not rebuilt. Castle guides dressed in the 16th century. middle castle servants in appropriate clothing.
The new castle was built on the site of the old Order Castle gate fortification in the 18th century. the end. Initially, it served as a residential house for the family of Count Zīvers, later it housed a water health resort, an officers' club and after the Second World War about 40 apartments were built here. Since 1949, the castle has housed the Cesis History and Art Museum.
St. John's Church is one of the oldest Gothic stone churches in Latvia. It was consecrated in 1284 as the Dome Church of the Livonian Order. During the Counter-Reformation from 1582 to 1621, it became the residence of a Catholic bishop, but in 1629 it was returned to the Lutherans. The church burned down in 1568, 1607, 1640, 1665, 1671, 1686, 1694, 1746 and 1748. In 1853, the church tower was rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style. In 1907, a new organ was installed.
The construction of Rīgas Street is from the 18th and 19th centuries. a sample of street construction. Remains of the city gate (Rauna gate) and the place of the market square (Livu square) have been preserved from the Middle Ages. The most valuable houses are the Old Town Hall (Rīgas Street 7), the Merchant's House (Rīgas Street 16) and the Harmony House (Rīgas Street 24).