St. John’s Church in Cēsis



Cēsis St Johns Church is one of the oldest sacral buildings and one of the oldest medieval architectural monuments in Latvia. The church is a three-nave cathedral, with its prominent 65-metre-high Gothic spire towering above the city.

This more than 700-year-old church has survived changing eras, rulers, and denominations; all leaving their unique historical mark.

As the Livonian Order gained strength under the reign of Archbishop Johannes I von Lune of Rīga, the remarkable stone church was built as a testament to the city’s power and wealth. To this day, the church’s walls and interior preserve authentic historical evidence, revealed in architectural elements, stained-glass windows, unique interior and art objects, and perhaps the largest collection of tombstones and plaques in Latvia.

The church has prepared a virtual multimedia guide on all its treasures, informative and engaging for both adult visitors and children alike.

As night falls, the church’s exterior is adorned with sound and light for a breath-taking son et lumière experience.

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Improvements made within the project

As part of this project, Cēsis St John’s Church has undergone the largest renovation in the last 80 years. The church’s whitewashed exterior has been restored to its majestic original appearance.

A drainage and rainwater harvesting system was installed to reduce the impact of humidity on the church walls. The doors and windows were restored. The project restored the altar’s historic stained glass windows to their former glory, and several church windows got a brand new stained glass.

New clay tiles were installed on the roof, and the church’s spire received new metal roofing with fresh gilding on its cross and decorative elements. Following restoration, the tower’s façade is adorned by four clock faces with gilded elements, and the bell tower was tuned to strike the exact time.

The wooden parts of the tower were renewed, too, and the Bell Path inside the church was restored to its historical appearance. A new exhibition and an interactive multimedia guide app have been developed under the project.

The church’s territory development involved laying cobbled paths and installing comfortable benches in the church square. In the dark of the day, the church façade is illuminated by new lanterns installed during the project.

Investments – EUR 1,726,850.59
Of which:
ERDF funding – EUR 1,467,823
church congregation funding – EUR 259,027.59

The project was implemented by Cēsis St Johns Rural Evangelical Lutheran congregation.

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Lielā Skolas street 8, Cēsis.


Working time

The church is open:
May, October: Friday – Sunday 12:00 – 16:00
June – September: Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 – 18:00

The church is closed on Mondays

The church is open 24/7 for outside visits.


Admission fee

Admission to the church by donation.

Admission to the tower:

  • EUR 3 – adults
  • EUR 2 – pupils

Getting there

The church is located in the historical centre of the city, the Old Town of Cēsis, at a 9-minute walking distance from the Cēsis central bus station.


Good to know

The church and the tower are open for indoor visits during certain opening hours: church hall – permanent exhibition in the church hall and virtual guide; tower – permanent exhibition and a panorama of the city and the outskirts.

A virtual guide for the church, the application Heart of Cēsis were developed and can be downloaded free of charge.  Play store and Apple store.




Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, national Development plan 2020 and European Union Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund logo. Investing in your future.