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In the Footsteps of the Hanseatic traders

The street layout of Cēsis Old Town has survived from the Hanseatic times, when the old market places saw the gathering of people from near and faraway lands and from the other cities of the Hanseatic League.

Walking along this route will allow you to enjoy the atmosphere and charm of the more than 800 year old city, as well as to become
acquainted with its architecture and history.

1. The Cēsis Castle Complex
57.3132, 25.2715
The complex is in the very heart of the city, where unique monuments
from various periods of history are located in close proximity. The medieval
castle ruins (13th century) are the most impressive and the best preserved
castle ruins in Latvia. The Count Sievers’ Manor House or the New Castle
(18th century) houses the interactive exposition of Cēsis History and Art
Museum. The towers of both castles offer a breathtaking view of Cēsis.


2. The Old Cēsis Beer Brewery
57.3144, 25.2706
The beer brewing tradition in Cēsis dates back to the 15th century, whereas
the brewery was built in 1878. It is included in the list of State-protected
cultural monuments. At the moment, the brewery can only be viewed from
the outside; however, in summer it acts as a contemporary art exhibition
hall. The famous “Cēsu Alus” beer, on the other hand, is brewed in a new
and modern factory.


3. The Castle Park
57.3144, 25.2690
The romantic landscape garden, created in the early 19th century by the
Sievers family, has an artificial pond, a pier and romantic gazebos, and is
a favourite place for walks of both the inhabitants of Cēsis and visitors of
the city. In summer, concerts take place on the open-air stage, whereas in
winter you can enjoy a sleigh ride in the park and skate on the frozen pond.


4. Riekstu (Nut) Hill
57.3137 25.2686
In the 11th–13th century, the ancient Wend castle mound Riekstukalns
was an inhabited place. A wooden castle was standing there, around which
the city of Cēsis or Wenden later took shape. There is a piece of the fortification
of the old Cēsis Medieval Castle at the top of the hill, as well as a
wonderful view of Cēsis St. John’s Church.

5. Cēsis Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Church
57.3140, 25.2670
This church (1845) was built on the foundations of the former St. Catherine’s
Church (14th–18th century). It is a Byzantine style building. The Estonian
painter Johann Köler started his professional career here by creating
the ceiling paintings for the church. The church garden is the resting place
of von Sievers, the owners of Cēsis castle manor.


6. Monument for Students in Cēsis Regiment
57.3120, 25.2660
The monument was unveiled in 1938, marking the place where in 1919
the Cēsis Students Regiment, formed of 14–18 year old youths, went on
their way to participate in the Freedom Fights for Latvia. In 1950, it was
dismantled, as the Soviet regime deemed the monument adverse to it, but
in 1992, the monument was created anew.


7. The Cēsis Mint
57.3115, 25.2666
During the time of Master Wolter von Plettenberg (1494–1535), Cēsis saw
a marked boom. The city joined the Hanseatic League, and it had its own
mint where Cēsis shillings were made. Unfortunately, the mint itself has
not survived; only its location is known.


8. Prayer House
57.3112, 25.2671
The prayer house (1876) was originally built as a school for Cēsis low-income
children that, in the end, was not established. In 1878, it was turned
into a prayer house for the St. John’s Church congregation.


9. Līvu Square
57.3106, 25.2677
Līvu Square (early 13th century) is the first market place of the city. The
cobblestone bears a mark, noting where the Rīga Gate stood during the
Middle Ages. The fountain is located in the place where “Lejas Šķimbēgs”,
the first well of the city, once stood. Despite the stories that Russian ladies-
in-waiting that were exiled from the court lived in the Princess or
Countess House (late 18th century), it was actually home to one of Count
Sievers’s five unmarried sisters – countesses.


10. Rožu Square and Sculpture “Ancient Cēsis”
57.3116, 25.2706
The former city market place (mid 13th century) has become the main
gathering place of the inhabitants of Cēsis and its guests. There is a refreshing
fountain there in the summer, and the square is surrounded by
cafés. “Ancient Cēsis”, a model created by the sculptor M. Jansons, adorns
the square. When the touches of people create an image of a knight on the
coin worked into the sculpture, Cēsis will mint its own money again!


11. Harmony House
57.3116, 25.2713
This is one of the oldest stone houses in Cēsis (first half of the 18th century).
In 1789, the cultural association “Harmony” was established there, consisting
of the local German nobility, doctors, lawyers, and clerks. In 1879,
the Latvian composer Alfrēds Kalniņš, father of Latvian opera, was born in
this house.


12. Merchant House
57.3119, 25.2725
This is the most lavish residential building (1778) of Cēsis historical centre,
as well as a unique example of 18th century town architecture. The
Merchant House is a symmetrical baroque building, preserving the shapes
characteristic of the 18th century. Inside the building there is a wooden
parade staircase and a unique first floor ceiling finish.


13. City Hall
57.3122, 25.2737
Architectural monument of State significance (1767). In 1861, it became
the City Hall. On its wall, the old coat of arms of Cēsis can be seen. Since
2018, the centre of non-governmental organisations is located there.


14. Vanadziņš House
The landed estate was marked in the city’s plan as early as 1693. The present
day building is a copy of the house that in 1923 became the property
of Doctor Kārlis Vanadziņš, the Mayor of Cēsis (1922–1933) and a Bearer
of the Order of the Three Stars. Its courtyard contains a medieval city wall
piece.

15. Rauna Gate
57.3128, 25.2746
Nowadays the Rauna Gate (14th–15th century) is the main entrance to
Cēsis Old Town. The reconstructed foundation and surface pieces of the
gate help to picture the medieval walls, as well as the size and solidity of
the gate. During the Middle Ages, merchants went through them either
heading to or returning from Russia.


16. Vienības (Unity) Square and the Monument of Victory
57.3132, 25.2748
The Monument of Victory is the central part of the main parade square of
the city. It was erected in 1924, commemorating the Estonian and Latvian
soldiers who fell during the Freedom Fights for Latvia (1918–1920). The
monument was blown up during Soviet times and restored in 1998.


17. 6 Skolas Street
57.31236 25.2726
In the 1665 inspection protocols, the place was marked as an abbey-owned
landed estate, where the Chapter of Cēsis Bishopric and the residence of
the Jesuit Order were located. The current building was built in 1778 as a
school; nowadays it houses a co-creative centre for entrepreneurs along
with various creative workshops; the Cēsis History and Art Museum collection
is also available there.


18. St. John’s Church
57.3122, 25.2718
St. John’s Church (consecrated in 1284) is one of the oldest and most
impressive sacral buildings in Latvia. It houses a significant collection of
tombstones, an altarpiece by the Estonian painter J. Köler, as well as one
of the most sonorous concert organs in Latvia. There is a panoramic view
of the city from the tower (rebuilt in 1853).


19. Sculpture “Through the Centuries”
57.3123, 25.2716
This sculpture (nicknamed Old Man Time) by Matiass Jansons was created
as a tribute to the 800th anniversary of Cēsis. The ancient monk depicted
in it carries a lantern – the symbol of the city. There is a belief that rubbing
it will illuminate your way to good thoughts, dreams and deeds.


20. May Park
57.3145, 25.2739
The former Alekša Park was created in the early 19th century. The park
is particularly well-suited for recreation with children: it has a specifically
designated area for children’s activities, a skatepark and a cycling park. In
summer, the illuminated fountains and a pair of black swans delight the
visitors of the park.


21. Sculpture “Battle With Centaurus”
Maija parks, Cēsis, 57.3147, 25.2734
The sculpture “Battle With Centaurus” is a gift to Cēsis by the famous Latvian
sculptor Kārlis Jansons. This sculpture was his graduation work when
Jansons graduated from the Academy of Art in 1925.


22. Cēsis Exhibition Hall
57.3132, 25.2715
The old stable and cart house have an unusual architectural layout. The impressive
two-storey rooms, made of wooden constructions, make it possible
to display various exhibitions there, whereas the outstanding acoustics
allow one to regularly hold concerts there.

 



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