Explore the Hanseatic city Cesis

Cesis one of the most picturesque medieval towns in Latvia is situated in the middle of Gauja National park, on hills surrounded by green forests, wrapped by Gauja River meanders. Cesis and region attract visitors by varied cultural life and wide possibilities for active recreation. Latvian flag on the top of the tower, misterios Medieval age castle, cobbled streets of Cesis Old Town holding 800 year history,  romantic parks and the Baltics biggest ski resorts are greeting visitors.

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Cesis was founded in 1206 and it is the third oldest city in Latvia. The hill Riekstu kalns (Nut hill) is consiteded as cradle of city because of Libyan tribe  - vendi - wooden castle (11 13 centuries). Name vendi is reason why ancient German name of town Cesis was Wenden.

Cesis Castle complex

The Cesis Medieval castle (13 17 centuries) of the Livonian Order is the most impressive and best preserved set of castle ruins in Latvia, and it is certainly the most popular attraction in the old part of Cesis. The Cesis Stone Castle was one of the strongest Livonian Order fortresses. The Castle has suffered all sorts of damage over the course of history. After the damages during the Northern War (1700 1721), the castle has not been restored again.

In the Cesis Medieval castle Garden in The Smithy of Ancient Jewellery visitors have an opportunity to get to know more about ancient Latvian jewellers and their work in the past, as well as try ornaments by themselves. Here one can look at replicas of jewellery sets and listen up the narration about meaning and wearing traditions of ancient bronze and silver decorations.

A panoramic view of Cesis can be enjoyed from the tower of the The Cesis Manor - House or Cesis New Castle (18th century) built by Count Sievers family. The flag, which flutters proudly above the castle tower, testifies to the fact that Cesis is the place where the Latvian national flag was born. At present days, The Cesis History and Art Museum is located in the buiding. Thanks to carefully performed restoration works the high quality rose motif, an artistically highly valued freehand drawing was discovered in the Big Salon. Interior exhibitions are arranged in several rooms of the castle allowing imagining the appearance of the castle during the period of Count Sievers family.

Cesis Old town

Cesis is characterized as a typical European medieval town and you can see it strolling around the old town. The emblem, a defensive stone wall, Town Hall and other characteristic elements of the medieval city, in Cesis can be dated back to at least the 14th century. Narrow, cobblestone streets are still keeping planning from the Middle Ages. Small, one and two floor buildings with red tile roofs, noiseless courtyards create the atmosphere of the old town in the most remarkable way. In the beginning of Rigas Street the Rauna gate the only surviving part of the Medieval gates to the city of Cesis is situated. Characteristic wooden buildings of the old city from the 18th to 19th centuries have, for the most part, survived to this day. Night walks through the old town for every romantic and admirer of the ancient spirit will bring true pleasure. Here everyone will be convinced that Cesis is still called a pearl in the crown of Vidzeme region (North Latvia).

Significant building in old town next to old market square (today Square of Roses) and the highest building in Cesis is St. Johns Church. It was built at the end of 13th century, became the largest church in the Northern Vidzeme, witnessing the wealth and self-confidence of the medieval town. Nowadays as well as being a place of worship it also serves as a concert venue for choirs and organists, and hosts festivals. The evangelical Lutheranic congregation functions in the church. Visitors can climb the tower of the church and enjoy a wonderful view over the town Cesis.

Cultural life in Cesis

Cesis Town is famous for its cultural traditions. During summer “Cesis” becomes synonym of “art”. Cesis Art festival in July and August is well known with a rich program featuring a diverse range of art forms included classical music concerts, visual art exhibitions, opera and drama performances. Medieval festival in Cesis Castle with thematic workshops, field battles as well as music and dances of those times is great chance to have a glimpse in the past and find out commonalities and the differences with nowadays. “City festival” includes wide range and diverse historical and cultural program for all family. All year long enjoyable culture program organize The Vidzeme Regional Concert “Cesis”, Cesis Exhibition hall and Art space “Mala”.

Active recreation in Cesis

In addition to the cultural events and charming old town, Cesis offers active recreation possibilities all year long. The city itself is completely surrounded by the Gauja National Park named after the Gauja river, meaning lush, green meadows and serene forest trails are only moments away, for example, Nature trail Cirulisi. In summer it is possible to rent a bike or boat, but in winter enjoy time in ski resorts Zagarkalns and Ozolkalns.

Cycling Marathon is an integral part of towns life and one of the biggest sport events. Cesis Cycling Marathon is traditional sport event in Vidzeme region for whole family. Route goes through Cesis old town and green are, including territory of Gauja national park.

Neighbors of Cesis

In a picturesque landscape 7 km from Cesis Araisi is located. On the top of the hill there is the Araisi Windmill (built in the middle of 19th century). In Araisi Lake on a small island there is a reconstruction of Araisi Lake Fortress, visitors can look at reproductions of the wooden buildings of ancient Latgalians of the 9th century.

Manor Ungurmuiza is located in 12 km distance from Cesis on the way to Hanseatic town Straupe. It is unique example of 18th century wooded baroque architecture. It is possible to see interior paintings, enjoy ambience of the manor by having a cup of warm drink at the Tea House.

Cesis is developing continuously and offers new and colorful events and traditions all year long for couples, friends and whole family. You are welcome to visit us!

See you in Cesis, where past meets future!

Hansestadt Cesis

Spürbares Mittelalter

Virtuelle Tour

Virtuelle Tour durch Cesis Hier geht's zur Tour


Cesis Tourism Information Center
Baznīcas laukums 1,
Latvia LV-4100