Dobele is a city on the banks of the Bērze River in Zemgale, the administrative center of Dobele region. Dobele Castle was the last ancient Latvian castle in the territory of Latvia, which carried out armed resistance to the Livonian Order until 1290. Dobele is the 18th largest city in Latvia.


Origin of the name

In 1254, a place name Dubelene or Dubelone was recorded in a German document; later also Doblene, Doblenen, Doblen. The original place name can be reconstructed as Dobelene or Dobeliene, but its origin is related to the Latvian words duobe ('pit' or 'plank') and duobele ('maza pitre', 'gramba'). Most likely, the reconstructed place name Dobelene has meant 'a settlement in a small hollow'.



The city of Dobele has formed on the site of the huge Dobele meteorite crater. Dobele Castle with the ancient city was first mentioned in April 1254 in the Zemgale division agreement, when the Dobele castle district received manure depending on the Livonian Order. The treaty signed in Riga on July 6, 1272, provided that the brothers of the German Order were recognized as chiefs, but the Semigallians retained their rule and rights. Master of the Livonian Order Conrad from Fehtwangen 1280-1281. in the winter of Jelgava went on a crusade against Dobele Castle, but was unable to occupy it. In 1290, the brothers of the order resorted to other tactics and repeatedly devastated Dobele region until "they became naked and poor" and famine ensued. Finally, the people of Dobele left their castle and moved to Raktė castle mound in Žagarė and other counties, which are now located in the territory of Lithuania. After the destruction and emigration of the Semigallians, the county was sparsely populated for a long time. In 1335, Eberhard, a master of the Livonian Order from Monheim, fortified the Dobele castle mound and began to build a castle for the war against the Samogitians. In 1376, Dobele Castle became the administrative center of the castle district or commander. In 1495, a church for the Latvian congregation was built in Dobele.

In 1561, in the treaty of surrender of the Livonian Order (Vilnius Union), the Dobele Command was included in the Duchy of Kurzeme and Zemgale, however, only in 1566 did the Duke's troops expel the last Dobele Commander Tīsa von der Reki from the castle, who refused to submit to the Duke. In 1579 and 1613, the Landtags of Kurzeme took place in Dobele Castle. 1642-1682 During the reign of Duke Jacob, Dobele operated a watermill, a wool carder, a vinegar boiler and a sawmill. In 1710, Duke Friedrich Wilhelm wanted to move his residence from Jelgava to Dobele during the Great Mayor, but this was not possible due to the poor condition of the castle. In 1775, Dobele Castle and the settlement were so dilapidated that the Duke moved all administrative institutions to Jelgava, and a park was established on the castle mound. In 1870, the Song and Dance Festival of 1870 took place near the ruins of Dobele Castle, it is believed that it was the first Song and Dance Festival in Latvia. In 1917, Dobele was granted city rights


1870 Song Day

The Song Day of 1870 in Dobele was the first Latvian Song Festival in the Kurzeme Province, which took place on June 26, 1870 in Dobele. It was attended by 15 choirs from Dobele, Ārlava, Bauska, Bērzmuiža (Jaunbērze), Bukaiši, Durbe, Džūkste, Iecava, Irlava, Jaunpils, Kalnamuiža, Ķevele, Līvbērze, Sesava and Strutele with about 400 participants. The orchestra of the teachers' seminar arrived in Dobele, Irlava, about 50 kilometers away, and a symphony orchestra of about 40 men took part in the song day.

Dobele Song Day gathered about 4,000 listeners, the total income was about 400 gold rubles, which was bequeathed to the Latvian school for the deaf.


The coat of arms of the city

The coat of arms of the city of Dobele is one of the official symbols of the city of Dobele. Approved on October 31, 1925.

The shield of the coat of arms forms the principle of the color distribution of the national flag - a red background divided by a silver band. Across all three bars, facing the upper left corner of the shield, is a white sword with a blue shadow and a golden handle, symbolizing the Semigallian struggles against the German crusaders.