Kuldiga, formerly Goldingen is a city in western Latvia, in the historical region of Kurzeme. The administrative center of the Kuldiga region.



Kuldīga was first mentioned in written sources in 1242, which is considered to be the day of the city's founding. 1242-1444 In the year after the march on the Course, the Livonian Order built a stone castle of the Order of Kuldiga Commander at the Venta Rumba, which was first called Jesusburg, but later Goldingen. In 1355, Kuldiga was first named a city, one of its districts was called the "Curonian city", but in 1368 Kuldiga was mentioned in the documents of the Hanseatic League. In 1378, Kuldīga was granted the rights of the city of Riga (ius Rigense).

In 1561, after the collapse of the Livonian Confederation, Kuldīga Castle became one of the residences of the Duke of Courland. When 1587-1617. The Duchy of Kurzeme and Zemgale was divided in 2006, Kuldiga was the capital of the Duchy of Courland ruled by Duke Wilhelm Kettler. 1642-1682 During the reign of Duke Jacob, Kuldiga experienced economic prosperity, a shipyard, a saltpetre factory, brick kilns were built. Kuldiga had trade relations with many countries.

In 1795, Kuldīga, together with the rest of Kurzeme, joined the Russian Empire. 1860-1885. The city underwent rapid economic development, the needle factory "Meteors" (1860), the leather factory (1875), the match factory "Vulkāns" (1878), and the wool carding factory (1885) were established. In 1874, one of the longest brick bridges in Europe was built across the Venta River (architect Oto Dīce). In 1886, the Baltic Teachers' Seminary was moved from Riga to Kuldiga (founded in 1870 in Riga). 1915-1918 The city was occupied by Imperial German troops. Before that, a large part of the population was forced to flee. The Duchy of Courland, which was planned to be colonized with German immigrants, is formally restored under Prussian rule.

In 1935, the narrow-gauge railway line Kuldīga-Alsunga was opened. During the Second World War 1941-1945. The city was occupied by Nazi German troops. 1944-1945 The headquarters of the German army group Kurland in the Kurzeme fortress was located near the Kuldīga Pelči manor house. 1945-1991 Kuldīga was the center of the district, where local industry was developed since the 1960s (wood processing plant, reinforced concrete factory, knitwear factory).



Order castle ruins and sculpture garden
The castle mill, the castle guard's house and the old city park on the right side of Pils Street are located on the site of the former castle of the Order Commander or on Rumba Hill.

To this day, fragments of the cross column have survived from the castle, which are the oldest remains of stone buildings in Kurzeme. Now, here sculptor Līvija Rezevska, an honorary citizen of Kuldīga, has created a sculpture park, where 15 of her stone and bronze works of art can be seen.

Castle guard house
While the castle of the Livonian Order existed on the banks of the Venta, the guards of the castle also lived there. Their task was to take care of the safety of the castle and its inhabitants. At the time when a bridge was built across the Venta (14th-17th centuries) and traffic was passing through the courtyard, the castle guards collected a fee for the use of the bridge, as well as customs duties for the transported goods. After the duke's court moved to Jelgava, the old castle, which was badly destroyed and looted during the wars, was forgotten. The last guardian of the castle, Bofemel, complained to the duke about his dilapidated apartment in the castle and asked permission to use the stone stones to build a house for himself in the castle yard. It was also allowed, and in 1735 the house was ready. The collapse of the castle was not delayed, the untidy gardens were overgrown. Courtyards and squares, ramparts and bastions were overgrown with grass, bushes and trees. The inhabitants of the city used the stones of the castle ruins as a cheap building material for the construction of their residential houses. As a typical 18th century building, in the center of the house there is a chimney - the former place of the fireplace. For forty years, the castle guard's house was used by the Kuldīga County Museum - at first the exposition was located on the first floor, but over time the house became a museum repository, where collections of photographs, documents, photonegatives and objects were stored. After the change of owners in 2004, the museum's collection was moved to other premises and the house remained empty. Since 1998, the building has been an architectural monument of national significance.

Town Hall Square
The Town Hall Square is located in the city center and is an ancient gathering place, first mentioned in documents from the 17th century. Until 1937, there was a marketplace here. The peculiarity of the town hall square and the special architecture of the houses encouraged several film directors. A large part of the art films "Krasts" and "Emīla nedarbi" were shot here.


In the southern corner of the Town Hall Square rises an Italian Renaissance-style building - the New Town Hall, built in 1860. In 1905, the Kuldiga Revolutionary Action Committee functioned here. In 1980, the old town hall clock was reactivated. Kuldīga New Town Hall is home to Kuldīga County Council.

City square
Kuldīga City Square was opened on September 26, 1936 as the new market square in Kuldīga.

The old houses of Baznīcas Street
The old town hall is located on Baznīcas Street 5. From the 17th century, the vaulted rooms of the basement have been preserved, where there was a city prison. The town hall was established at the beginning of the 14th century. In 1368, the City Council was granted the right to collect taxes from citizens. The town council consisted of a mayor, a bailiff, 5 councilors and a conveyor. After the restoration, the building was handed over to the house of culture. Opposite the old town hall on the side of the square was the Kaunas pillar, at which the disobedient residents were punished.

The oldest building in Kuldiga is located at 7 Baznicas Street. It was built in 1670, rebuilt in the 18th century, it belonged to a town councilor. The ornately carved wind indicator of this house with the image of a mythical unicorn and the numbers "1670" and "1742" can be seen in Kuldīga St. Catherine Evangelical Lutheran Church. Since 1998, the house has been an architectural monument of national significance.
Former Duke Jacob's court pharmacy building at Baznīcas Street 10 is a rectangular two-storey building built in a wooden lattice technique, with a basement, mantle chimney and attic roof. The building was renovated in 1986. In the 17th century, the duke's court pharmacy was located here. Since 1998, the house has been an architectural monument of national significance.

Kuldīga Castle Mill is located at 36 Baznīcas Street. Since 1998, the house has been an architectural monument of national significance.

Liepājas Street
Liepājas Street is the central street of Kuldīga, which is organized as a pedestrian street. It is surrounded by various trading companies, banks, institutions and entertainment venues. Every year, during the Kuldīga City Festival, the national anniversary, the Winter Solstice, the Summer Solstice and other celebrations, Liepājas Street is thematically decorated, creating a festive mood for the citizens and guests of the city.
Until 1941, Liepājas Street was accessible, but a couple of carts drove along it during the day. In 1948, it was planned to transform Liepājas Street into the main city transport highway. In order to expand it, it was planned to demolish several buildings, as they are worn out and hinder the development of the city. Only three historic buildings were demolished. There was a lack of money for the rest of the plan. Until 1991, Liepājas Street was used for transport as intensively as the parallel Mucenieku Street. After that, part of the street was opened only to pedestrians and cyclists.

One of the largest buildings in Kuldiga (1905 Street 6) is a synagogue. It is known for its interior, which was dominated by marble and gilded details. A document describing the construction of the building in 1875 in Hebrew is in the Kuldīga Regional Museum. It was built during the reign of Russian Emperor Alexander II and housed an active center for the Jewish community. The synagogue is part of a larger community building complex that has survived to the present day and includes a house of prayer, a building that housed the deceased members of the community, and a Jewish school. The Jewish community has been active since settling in the Duchy of Courland in the 16th century. Most of the first Jewish immigrants came from western Germany, but in the 17th century, unrest in Poland led to an influx of Jews into the region. In the 18th century, the Jews of Kurzeme played an important role in the economic life of the region. Kuldīga Synagogue became a Jewish prison in the summer of 1941, when the occupiers imprisoned all the Jews living in the city and held it for several days before shooting them into smaller forests in small groups. Shortly after the extermination of the Jews, German troops set up a food depot in the synagogue. During the first years of Soviet rule, a grain warehouse was established in the synagogue, but after a while it was moved and the building was not used for several years. In 1958, the cinema "Kurzeme" was opened in the synagogue. It had 450 seats and a reading room. The cinema was in the synagogue until 2003. There was also a café and a nightclub. After the reconstruction, the former library of the synagogue houses the Kuldīga Main Library, but the former prayer house houses the Kuldīga Art House, where professional art exhibitions can be seen regularly in the exhibition hall.


House of Culture
At the intersection with Mucenieku Street, on the right side, there is a square that adjoins the district culture house. The building was built in 1909 and served as the house of the Kuldīga Commonwealth Society. Workers' meetings were organized here in the 1920s. Writers Leons Paegle and Linards Laicens, deputies of the Saeima from the workers 'and peasants' faction, spoke here.

The Folk Theater (1974), the Folk Choir "Vārtava" (1977), the Folk Dance Ensemble "Venta" (1970), two Folk Applied Art Studios - "Rainbow" (1974) and "Ķocis" (1982) and the Folk Dance Ensemble operate in the District Culture House. Photo studio "Kuldiga" (1983).

Hotel "Metropole"
The metropolis was built in 1910. Since then, the building has burned at least three times. The last fire destroyed almost everything in November 1997. For five years, no investor showed much interest in the building, and previous attempts at privatization were unsuccessful. In 2002, the Ezernieki farm, owned by businessman Valentin Kokalis, privatized the historic hotel. Valentīns Kokalis bought a completely burnt out house for a symbolic price - one lats - from Kuldīga city municipality in 2002, paying 2000 lats for the land under it. 1,500,000 lats have been invested in the construction of the hotel, of which 700,000 is a loan, but the rest is Valentins Kokalis' own investments. In 2006, the restoration of the Metropolis was completed and it was opened as a recreation place for Kuldīga residents and as a hotel for Kuldīga guests.

Ventas rumba
Venta Rumba is the widest waterfall in Latvia and one of the widest in Europe. Its width depends on the amount of water, on average it is 100-110 m, during floods it reaches up to 270 m. The height of the hub is 1.6-2.2 m. The gas consists of a rather interesting zigzag line. Venta Rumba is a natural monument and belongs to the Venta Valley Nature Reserve.

Alekšupīte is a tributary of the left bank of the Venta. About 70 m from the brick bridge over the Venta in Kuldīga Alekšupīte flows into the Venta, before winding through the old town of Kuldīga. The shores of Alekšupīte have long been built. Natural or artificial waterfalls have formed in several places. At the mouth of the Venta is the last waterfall of Alekšupīte, which is 4.15 m high and 8 m wide.

Virka manor
The manor house of Virka manor was built as a summer manor and later became part of the Kuldiga city building. Next to the manor house is a 19th century. a small park has been created. 18th century At the end of the 19th century, the first Lutheran school in Kuldiga district operated in Virka manor, but at the beginning of the Second World War it housed a hospital for Russian soldiers. Architectural style - historicism. Today Virkas manor is managed by the company SIA “Virkas muiža”, which provides hotel and entertainment services. Virka Manor is located today at 27 Virkas Street.

Kuldīga has developed larger and smaller green recreation areas or squares, including four parks in the city center - Castle Park next to the Venta River and the old brick bridge over it, 1905 Park next to the Synagogue, City Stage Park and Kuldīga Orthodox Church Park next to the Baltic Teachers' Seminary building (current Kuldiga Technology and Tourism Technical School).

1905 park
The origins of the park can be traced back to the Second World War. On May 8, 1945, after the bombs dropped by the Soviet Army, part of the wooden buildings on the site of the current park burned down. After the war, a park was established on the site of the burnt quarter. At that time, the ruins of houses were removed, but the old gardens have survived. Regular paths to the park were erected after a monument to the 1905 fighters, created by the sculptor Livija Rezevska, was placed in the park. Around the same time, a fountain made by L. Rezevska was installed - a girl with a mug or Annina.

Within the city of Kuldiga, three large cemeteries have been established - the Old Cemetery at the end of Liepājas Street, the Anna Cemetery near the Castle Park and the Jāņkalns Cemetery at the south-western border of the city.

Kuldīga Old Cemetery Park occupies an area of ​​37,066 m2 at the end of Liepājas Street at the beginning of Ēdoles Street. These cemeteries began to be built in the 18th century. Each city congregation in this area, west of the city, was assigned its own area and place. On the side of the current Liepājas Street closest to Kuldīga - the Russian cemetery, further German burials, but on the other side of the road that now connects Parka and Ēdoles streets was a Latvian cemetery, but to the west of them - the eternal resting place of the Jews. It can be assumed that these territories were not always strictly observed in the case of mixed marriages, but in any case all nationalities met here in a friendly manner.

Today, the Old Cemetery is more like a park than a cemetery. Over the years, the tombs have disappeared and most of the monuments have disappeared. In the Russian and German part of the cemetery, several art monuments included in the list of state protected objects have been preserved. There are also some damaged (also artistically high-quality Art Nouveau) iron forged and cast iron fences around the burial sites. A memorial stone has been erected on the side of Liepājas Street to Juris Bārs (1808—1879), a doctor, poet and researcher of the Latvian language, whose real burial place was destroyed in a German cemetery.