Aglona (Latgalian: Aglyuna) is a settlement in Latgale, the center of Aglona county and parish. Located between Lakes Ciriša and Aglona at the intersection of highways P60 and P62 234 km from Riga. Aglona is home to the Aglona Basilica, which is an important Latvian Catholic religious center.

Aglona consists of three parts: Aglona south of the basilica, Somerset on the Ciriša shore and Jaunciems by the Aglona-Preiļi road. Aglona began to form at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, when monks of the Dominican Order built a monastery and church here. In 1883, Roseters, the owner of the Noviyev manor, founded the village of Somerset, naming it after his wife's family. In 1925, Somerset was granted the status of a densely populated area (village). In 1935, Somerset had a population of 282. In 1968, Aglona and Somerset were administratively merged into one village.

Aglona has county administrative institutions, secondary school, boarding secondary school, Catholic gymnasium, cultural center, open-air stage, Bread Museum, World War II exposition, health and social care center, post office.



Aglona got its name from the word spruce (Latgalian: aglojs, agliena, aglaine). Once there were spruce forests, which together with the rich system of lakes and rivers created a favorable natural environment for the inhabitants of the area in early antiquity.

Aglona has been known as one of the centers inhabited by white peoples since 1800 - 500 BC. Madelāni castle mound with the ancient city was once a significant political and economic center. According to the legend told by Johann Rīvija, in 1263 the Lithuanian nobleman Mindaugas was killed here with his two sons - Rukli and Rupeiki.

In 1929, in a brochure dedicated to Aglona, ​​Aleksandrs Novickis wrote:
"Both in ancient times and in modern times, two hundred years ago this region was very populated. All inhabitants and areas of large lands were in the hands of nobles Dadziboga and Ieva, born in Selicka, Shostovicki. The latter had decided to create one center of spiritual life here. To this end, they chose a teacher, the disciples of St. Dominic, and gave them vast estates and people to build the first monastery and wooden church. ”

In 1697, the nobleman Ieva Justīne Šostovicka, with the support of the then Bishop of Livonia Nikolai Poplavskis, called on the Dominicans of Vilnius to establish a monastery and a parish school in Aglona. Remigijs Mosokovskis, the a priori father of the Vilnius Dominican Monastery, came to Aglona and chose a place for a church and a monastery. One of the legends about the origins of the place is that a Latvian girl Anna (Anita) lived near Šostovicki, who on August 15, 1698, during the evening prayer, saw the Mother of God with the child of Jesus on her right hand. Father Remigijs has also seen the vision - a white church with high towers. A monastery building was built on the hill in 1699, but a year later the first wooden church was consecrated by the Livonian bishop Joseph Dominic Puzina on September 10, 1751, when he visited Aglona for the third time. In 1766, the wooden church burned down, only the icon of Our Lady was saved. From 1720 to 1780, a new monastery building was built, and from 1768 to 1780, the Aglona stone church. The new church was solemnly consecrated in 1800 by Jānis Benislavskis, the assistant bishop of the Mogilev Archdiocese.

The Polish clergyman Zygmunt Łoziński and one of the founders of Belarusian drama, Каятан Марашэўскі, have worked in Aglona at various times.


Legends and traditions

Legend of the grave of the King of Lithuania Mindaugas in Aglona after his death.
The legend about the preserved original of the Aglona Icon of Our Lady (XIII century), which resides in the altar of the Aglona Basilica.
The holy spring behind the basilica.