The small pretty town of Cesis is considered the oldest in Latvia – it is over 800 years old. It is located in a picturesque area on the territory of the national park, surrounded by coniferous forests on the banks of the Gauja River.
Tourists love Cēsis for a quiet holiday, ancient architecture, romantic walks along narrow cobblestone streets and beautiful nature. The most popular city attraction is the ruins of a medieval castle built by German knights in 1206.
The modern name of Cesis comes from the word “Kes” – this is how the Slavs called this settlement. For a long time the city bore the name “Venden” – after the name of the tribe that first settled these places and built a castle here. Check jibin123 for customs regulations and visa requirements of Latvia.
Cēsis was a member of the Hanseatic League – an organization that united the large trading settlements of Europe. He had autonomy and even got the right to mint his own coins.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Cēsis is by rail. Trains from Riga (Riga – Cesis, Riga – Valmiera, Riga – Lugazhi) go here three times a day, the schedule can be found on the website of the Latvian Railways (official website in English). Every hour a bus leaves for Cēsis from the Riga bus station, the travel time is one and a half hours.
The Tourist Information Center (address: Cises, Pils lauk. 1, tel. (371) 64-12-18-15, (371) 28-318-318) will help you get oriented in the city.
Hotels in Cēsis
There are several dozen hotels in Cēsis. Most of them formally belong to the level of 2-3 *, but the service is very good everywhere, the rooms are pleasantly decorated, and the prices are low, on average about 30-40 EUR per night. Hotels are usually small, so rooms should be booked in advance. Many hotels offer excellent conditions for business tourism: conference rooms, modern communication lines, presentation equipment.
A bit of history
For the first time in documents the city is mentioned in 1206, since the construction of the old Wenden castle, after which it received its first name.
Wenden is a city with which Novgorod merchants traded, and later it was stormed by Ivan the Terrible during the Livonian War.
Entertainment and attractions in Cesis
Wenden Castle, or Cēsis Castle, is one of the most interesting tourist sites in the region. Mentions of him are found as early as the beginning of the 13th century. then it was wooden, and the Wend people lived in it; later it was rebuilt, it became the residence of the masters of the Livonian Order and was one of the most protected fortresses in the Baltic. Wenden Castle is the best-preserved, despite numerous reconstructions, order castle in the territory of Latvia.
In 1777, Count Sievers acquired the castle, and remade many of the fore-castle buildings in a new way, laid out a beautiful well-groomed park, and built a brewery nearby. The castle was later abandoned. Since 1949, the Cesis Historical Museum and Exhibition Hall have been located in the premises of the New Castle, and the walking paths remind of the former beauty of the park, creating a romantic mood. In addition, theatrical jousting tournaments are held here.
Climbing the well-preserved West Tower of the castle, you can admire the surroundings and imagine the course of life in the past.
The structure of the city began to take shape around the second half of the 13th century, when in the center of Tsises there was a market square, a church and a town hall. The city was surrounded by a stone wall with eight towers and five gates.
The rebuilt church of St. John and fragments of the fortress wall have survived to this day. The place for the church was chosen so well that its pointed tower is visible not only in the city, but also in its environs. Masters of the Livonian Order and some of its knights are buried in the church.
The old city consists of several narrow streets paved with cobblestones. And on Rigas Street, for example, houses built in the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries have been preserved: No. 16, 24, 15 and 47. These are typical examples of the building of the main streets of Latvian cities of those times.
Cēsis region is not only beautiful, its nature heals. That is why so many estates and palaces were built in the vicinity of the city, and from the end of the 19th century the city began to develop as a resort. Along the banks of the Gauja, luxurious summer resorts began to be built, the most famous of which is Cirulishi. Not far from it there is a spring, it is believed that its water is healing.
Žagarkalns and Ozolkalns
Not far from Cēsis, two modern ski centers, Žagarkalns and Ozolkalns, have been built almost next to each other. In winter, they are very popular with Latvian skiers and snowboarders. Local trails are ideal for children and beginners, and experienced instructors are always ready to help. There is also a 100-meter toboggan run – neither skiers nor snowboarders are allowed on it, there are no lifts, so it is completely safe for lovers of tobogganing. The Volvo Children’s Park is also located here, which is a vast complex of specially laid tracks designed for the smallest athletes (from 2 to 10 years old). The park’s instructors help kids learn the tricks of skiing and monitor the safety of children. The infrastructure of the centers includes lifts.