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Cēsis

You shall see the treasure of Cēsis — its Old Town; living the medieval life shall be a new experience, and the culture events and the primeval valley of the River Gauja shall inspire you.

Cēsis is an ancient town with a history of 800 years. Mound Riekstu, which was inhibited by the first-known inhabitants of Cēsis — the vendi — in the 9th century, is deemed the origin of the town.

Later Cēsis became the central town of the Livonia, but nowadays, for more than hundred years, the town is an important centre of art and culture.

It is deemed the flag of Latvia comes from Cēsis. According to the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle, the armed forces of Cēsis Castle had carried a maroon-white-maroon flag in the battle near Riga in 1279. The first flag of Latvia is exhibited in the Cēsis New Castle.

During the warm days, one can walk along the cobblestone-paved streets of the Old Town and parks decorated with flowers. Other marvellous feelings can be experienced while watching the greenish nature of the primeval valley of the River Gauja, or paddling along the royal and curvy river.

In the summer, the castle park is often filled with music because of its concert performances. In the warm season in the park pond you can also take a boat "Karlis" and watch the white swans and ducks there.

All through the year there are exciting excursions in the Cēsis New Castle and Medieval Castle, where one can also have a try of the medieval crafts and games.

During the winter days, downhill skiers and snowboarders spend their time on the tracks of leisure centres “Žagarkalns” and “Ozolkalns”. And the Vidzeme Regional Concert Hall “Cēsis” welcomes its guests to enjoy multiple music, arts, theatre, and cinema performances.

 


Trails and parks

An exciting adventure is the walk along Cīrulīši Nature Trails, which shall demonstrate you the development of the primeval valley of the River Gauja up until nowadays, and shall show you the local flora.

Cēsis Castle Park can be studied not only during the walk, but also from the ride with the vessel “Kārlis”. Whereas the Maija Park allow watching the majestic life of the black swans.

The walking route “Let’s meet at the River Gauja in Cēsis” will lead you beyond the borders of the town and shall demonstrate some of the things off the beaten track. The walk will reveal the panoramic view of the town, while the primeval valley of the River Gauja — the marvellous wooden villas bearing extraordinary names like “Baltica”, “Carola”, and “Henriette”. (Route map is available from the Cēsis Tourism and Information Centre.)

“Lanterns of the Cēsis Old Town” is a walking route leading to the majority of the most beautiful sites and most important buildings in the Old Town. The special feeling will be created by the lanterns lit at night. (Route map is available from the Cēsis Tourism and Information Centre.)

Mobile guide “Stories of the buildings in the Cēsis Old Town” is dubbed by locals and will surprise you with old stories about eighteen special houses and interesting historic events. Which of the houses is appealing to you the most? Maybe the old photo atelier of the master Anderson, or the house of doctor Adolfi, or probably the small boutique of the skilful salesmen Platers’ family with the luxurious doors? (Route map is available for download from www.turisms.cesis.lv or from the Cēsis Tourism and Information Centre.)

Another interesting object of sightseeing shall also be the Sarkanās Cliffs and the spring Rūcamavots emerging from the ground with such power one can even hear it slightly roaring (spring’s name in Latvian means “the roaring spring”).


Architecture

The town Cēsis conceals true pearls of architecture and history —  St John’s Church, Cēsis Medieval Castle, and Cēsis New Castle. You can walk along the cobblestone streets and watch the old wooden and stone buildings.

The contemporary and bright Vidzeme Regional Concert Hall “Cēsis” (opened in 2014) permeated with the touch of nature is also impressive. The brown brick walls at the ground level form the trunks of trees, while the glass structures above them are the crowns, and the yellow sun screens — the leafage. Inside of the concert hall there are elements preserved from the old club house, which once stood where the concert hall is standing now.

The facilities of Rucka Manor, the present looks of which and the park date back to the 18th century, conceal also the centre of craftsmen and artists.

The primeval valley of the River Gauja  is full of the energy of nature and reveals the filigree wooden villas, bringing one back to the life of Cēsis many years ago at once. Several villas are seen while on the route “Let’s meet at the River Gauja in Cēsis”. (Route map is available from the Cēsis Tourism and Information Centre.)


Art and culture events

Since the late 19th century, Cēsis has become the centre of art, culture, and leisure events not only in Vidzeme Region, but also in Latvia. Every summer it hosts the contemporary art festival “Cēsis”, which covers several tens of culture and arts events: exhibitions, concerts, and theatre performances.

Vidzeme Regional Concert Hall “Cēsis” puts various events on stage — exhibitions, classical music concerts and pop music gigs, dance and theatre performances, movies, and many other culture events with local and foreign artists participating.

The Medieval Day presents the medieval lifestyle allowing visitors to try various games and crafts, taste medieval dishes, watch tense fights of knights, listen to the medieval music and watch dances.

And in summer, the open-air stage in the Castle Park hosts various concerts and performances.

 

 

 
  • During the Night of Museums in May visitors are welcome to the Cēsis Medieval Castle and Cēsis New Castle, which accommodates the Cēsis History and Art Museum.
  • In July the town invites to celebrate the Worldwide Days of Cēsis gathering locals from all around the world. Each and everyone is welcome to take part in lectures, sports activities, creative workshops, and various discussions and talks about improvements in the
  • The contemporary art festival “Cēsis”, which is hosted in July, covers very many culture and art events — exhibitions, concerts, and theatre performances.
  • July is also the month when the town festival with concerts, games, fairs, and other events is celebrated.
  • The Medieval Day in August is celebrated in the Cēsis Medieval Castle, and it introduces visitors with the medieval activities, music, dances, and meals.
  • Cyclists have grown fond of the Cēsis Cycling Marathon, which is hosted annually by the town in August and is suitable for the whole family and cyclists of different levels of skilfulness.
  • In September the town hosts the Culture Heritage Days or the so-called Riga Street Celebration with a various programme on history for both adults, and children.
  • The Lāčplēsis Day is celebrated on 11 November. All are invited to lit a candle and place it on the windowsill and to join others in the Castle Park, where the lit candles are used to form the shape of Latvia. There is also an organised procession with lit candles, and visitors can also watch spectacular video installations.
  • On 18 November, which is the Latvian Independence Day, Cēsis hosts concerts, topical exhibitions, and other events.
  • And do not to forget about the New Year celebrations, and Midsummer Night celebration — Jāņi.

 

Brochures

 


Facts and figure

  • Area of the town Cēsis — 19.28 km²
  • Population — 17,005
  • The town and Vaive rural territory is part of Cēsis Municipality
  • The name Cēsis was first mentioned in written sources in 1206, which is deemed the year of its foundation.
  • Most rapid growth was experienced during the Livonian Era, when the town became the Livonian capital and the key development centre of Vidzeme Region.
  • Cēsis is deemed the home of the Latvian flag; here one can see the first flag of the State of Latvia.
  • Many famous Latvian artists and celebrities are related to the town Cēsis. Andrejs Pumpurs wrote his epic poem “Lāčplēsis” here, the founder of the national opera, composer Alfrēds Kalniņš was born here, and many significant individuals have studied and worked here. Cēsis is also the home of the sculptor family Jansons’ (their house is called “Siļķes”).

Other information

  • Guided excursions around the Cēsis Castle facilities and Park, as well as in the vicinity are announced at the Cēsis Tourism and Information Centre (address: Pils laukums 9, Cēsis; ph.: +371 64121815; +371 28318318; e-mail: info@cesis.lv).

 



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