Jelgava is a city in Zemgale, 43 km from Riga near the Lielupe and its tributary Driks. In the middle of the 13th century, the master of the Livonian Order, Conrad of Mandern, ordered the construction of a castle of the Crusaders on the Long Island in the land of Upmala, in order to establish a support point for the Crusaders to fight the Semigallians. The construction of the castle in 1265 is considered to be the moment of the founding of Jelgava. Jelgava gained city rights in 1573 and for a long time was the duchy of Kurzeme and Zemgale, later the capital of Kurzeme province. During the Second World War, almost all of the city's historic buildings were destroyed.
Jelgava Museum of History and Art named after Gedert Elias
Jelgava Museum of History and Art named after Gederta Elias (Latvian: Ģederta Eliasa Jelgavas Vēstures un mākslas muzejs) is a history, local history and art museum in Jelgava, located in the former building of Academia Petrina - the first university in Latvia. The museum also includes the house-museum of the Latvian playwright Adolf Alunan on st. Philosophus, 3.
The predecessor of the museum is the Museum of the Courland Province, founded in 1818 by the Courland Society of Literature and Art Lovers. After the eviction of the Eastsee Germans in 1940, the museum was liquidated, and its collection was transferred to the ownership of the State Historical Museum.
In 1952, the museum returned to Jelgava, housed in the restored premises of Academia Petrina and received about 6,500 archaeological exhibits from the museum of the Courland province, which were taken from Riga to Germany during the war, and later returned to the USSR.
After the death of Gedert Elias in 1975, the museum was named after a revolutionary painter and, by a special decree of the Ministry of Culture of the LSSR, almost all of the artist's creative heritage was transferred.
House-Museum of Adolf Alunan
The idea of creating a museum arose in the 1960s against the backdrop of the approaching 120th anniversary of the birth of the playwright and the 100th anniversary of the theater in Latvia. With the active participation of the director of the Jelgava National Theater Lucia Nefedova and Adolf Schwanberg, the grandson of Adolf Alunan, a number of memorial exhibits were removed from Alunan's apartment in Riga and handed over to Jelgava. It was also established that the playwright spent the last years of his life in house number 3 on Filosofou Street.
The Memorial Museum was opened on the second floor of the building on June 6, 1968. Initially, the museum was subordinate to the People's Theater, but later moved to the subordination of the Museum of History and Arts. In 2010, the museum underwent a significant restoration with funds from the European Union.
The historical name of Jelgava is Mītava (German: Mitau).
It is a word of Latvian origin, which denotes a place of living or
changing. From the 17th century, the name of the city in Latvian is
The name "Jelgava" is most often associated with the term "city". According to older linguists (including Jānis Endzelins), the name Jelgava comes from the Liv language, which means the city. Modern linguists admit that the word must be in the Liv language is derived from the Latvian word "jelgava". According to the most common view, "jelgava" meant a fortified, hard-to-reach place, as opposed to "city", which meant a large, open settlement. Other place names in Latvia are also associated with "jelgava" - Jelgava hill (Turaida, Kalncempjos), Jalgava hill (Sēlpils), Jelgavkalns (Rencēni), Jelgavkrasti (Liepupe), as well as Jaunjelgava.
Jelgava got its coat of arms at
the same time as the city law in 1573, it depicted a red deer, later
an elk. In 1579, the coat of arms was supplemented with the coat of
arms of Stefan Bathory, the ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth. In the description of 1925, the animal of the coat of
arms is called a deer, on its neck there is a shield with the small
coat of arms of Latvia. During the Soviet era, instead of a small
shield in Latvia, a wavy stripe was placed in the lower part of the
coat of arms, as in the flag of the Latvian SSR.
On July 11, 2002, the Heraldry Commission changed the description of the coat of arms of Jelgava: "In a purple field, the head of a moose in natural color, on the neck is the small coat of arms of the state (without stars)".
The settlement has been known since 1226, the castle of the
Livonian Order was founded in 1265. At this time, he received his
first, German name - Mitau (German Mitau), in Russian and Polish
spellings - Mitava (Polish Mitawa). In 1573, Mitava received the
rights of the city and its coat of arms. In the same year, the first
Lutheran church was built - the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, and a
little later the second Lutheran church of St. Anna. In 1640, the
King of Poland ordered the Duke of Courland to build a Catholic
church. During the reign of Duke Jacob Kettler, Mitava reached its
heyday: the only mint in the duchy operated in the capital, a
printing house, a hospital, a pharmacy and several industrial
factories were built. In 1648, earthworks were erected around the
city, ditches were dug and bastions were built, and in 1664 a canal
was dug connecting the Driksa and Svete rivers and providing the
city with fresh water. In the 17th-18th centuries, a Jesuit mission
and a school operated under the only Catholic Church in Mitava.
In 1578-1795, Mitava was the capital of the Duchy of Courland, later (1796-1920) the main city of the Courland province. In 1705, during the Northern War, the city was besieged and taken by Russian troops. In December 1792, riots broke out in Mitava - the "rebellion of the millers", the uprising of the urban lower classes, suppressed with the help of artillery. In 1795, the city became part of the Russian Empire, and was administratively part of the Doblensky district. During this period, the exiled king Louis XVIII lived in Mitava for a short time. In 1799, he was paid a visit by Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov, who was following through Mitava to Vienna, where he was supposed to take command of the Russian-Austrian army.
On the bank of the river stands the Mitava Palace, built for Ernst Biron by the architect of Empress Anna Ioannovna Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1738-1740. The city is home to the Orthodox Cathedral of Sts. Simeon and Anna, built by the order of the widow of Duke Friedrich-Wilhelm Anna Ioannovna in the 18th century and rebuilt in the 19th century.
Mitava was the first foreign city that N. M. Karamzin saw during his trip to Europe (1789), described in the "Letters of a Russian Traveler" as lands that left ambiguous and contradictory impressions on the author.
During World War II, from June 29, 1941 to July 31, 1944, Jelgava was occupied by German troops. During the fighting in 1944, the city was almost completely destroyed and the historical buildings were not restored (90% of the pre-war city was lost). After the war, a complete reconstruction of the city was carried out, new multi-storey buildings, a new self-government building (the old town hall building of the 18th century was destroyed during the bombing), and a house of culture were built. Of the old buildings, only the largest ones have been restored, such as the Mitava Palace, the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Lutheran Cathedral of St. Anne and the faculty buildings of the LSU.
With the support of the EU, food processing plants and
woodworking enterprises are being built in Jelgava. At the beginning
of 2015, more than 3000 commercial enterprises and companies were
registered in the city.
The traditional spheres of production are the food industry, the production of metal and metal products, mechanical engineering, woodworking and furniture production. The development of these areas is also facilitated by such a factor as the presence in the city of the Latvian University of Agriculture, which trains specialists in these areas of production.
Since 1926, a sugar factory operated in the city, which ceased production in 2007. In 2013, in its place, with the participation of Uralvagonzavod, a carriage building plant was laid, but its construction was suspended due to complications in international relations.
Until 1997, minibuses and trucks under the RAF brand were produced in Jelgava.
Since 2010, the production of buses has been launched at the AMO Plant. In 2015, the company was declared bankrupt; most of its production area was acquired by the German engineering company AKG Thermotechnik Lettland.
There are branches of more than a dozen different banks in Jelgava, industrial enterprises Evopipes, food industry enterprises - “Rīgas miesnieks”, “Trikatas siers” and others, as well as supermarket chains Maxima, Rimi, Iki, Elvi.