When you book into a budget hotel in Cesis, you will find yourself in one of the oldest and prettiest towns in Latvia. This community of winding hillside streets, lovely gardens, and medieval ruins has long been a favorite destination for painters. Cesis is also known for its school of music, and its excellent local beer.
Cesis dates back to at least the 11th century. It was an important trading center and a strategic military site. The Roman-Gothic Jana Church (St. John’s) was built in 1281. Its vaults are the tombs of several Teutonic Knights. The altar painting was done by Estonian artist J. Keler. The town center of Cesis is an open square with buildings that have a Scandinavian design. Many of the streets are cobblestone, and they lead to castles both old and new; the “new” meaning 18th century. The Tower of the Cesis Art and History Museum offers a panoramic view of the city. Next door are the ruins of a castle where archaeological digs are underway. Number 14 Lielas Street was once the home of the writer Andrejs Pumpurs. The center of the Old Town is a protected historical site. Here you can see such 18th century buildings as the former town hall and guard house, the Traders’ Guild Hall, and the Harmonija Building. In Vinterparks you can visit Latvia’s deepest cave.