Līgatne (also Lejas Līgatne) is a city in Vidzeme, on the left bank of the Gauja, the center of Līgatne region. The city is also called the "cave city". It is located at the mouth of the Līgatne River in the Gauja, from which the name of the city derives.

Līgatne is one of the oldest paper production centers in Latvia. Paper production began here in 1815 in the flour mill of Paltmale manor, which was adapted for paper production, but the paper factory, which still operates today, was built a little later. After the construction of the paper factory, Līgatne began to develop into a settlement, which acquired city rights in 1993.

Līgatne is located in the territory of the Gauja National Park. Near Līgatne there are Līgatne nature trails - a forest massif with more than 5 km long trails and paths for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as for horseback riding, where wild animals and birds typical of the Latvian fauna can be observed in the aviaries. There is also a ferry across the Gauja in Līgatne. In the vicinity of Līgatne, the banks of the Gauja are rocky and of unusual shape.



The name Līgatne (Ligat) first appears in Swedish Vidzeme documents in the first half of the 17th century. In 1630, the book of vacuums shows that it was called the Latvian vault of a house in the Sigulda castle district, and that was the name of the pub, which was located by the Riga-Cēsis road, on the bank of the Līgate River.

The decisive factor in the development of Līgatne was 1815, when the Riga silk merchant Konrads Justus Štorhs bought a plot of land from Paltmale manor to build a paper mill on it.

Initially, paper was produced in the adapted flour mill of Paltmale manor, but already in 1816 a new paper mill was built, i.e. handmade factory (Handfabrik, also called Anfabrik or Anfabrik). The handmade paper was produced by hand until 1871. In 1830, new so-called Construction of the main or medium - sized factory building. The Līgatne paper mill operated in this building until 2014.

The end of the 19th century is associated with the heyday of Līgatne. During this time, the paper mill undertook extensive construction - it built workers' and administration dwellings, as well as a hospital, maternity hospital, factory club, school, home for the disabled and a pharmacy. The factory had a unique social model of its time: workers are given a free apartment, electricity, heating, medical care, education for children, provision for the elderly.

Due to the relatively good living conditions, the time of the 1905 revolution passed peacefully in Līgatne.

During the First World War, the paper mill was partially (1915) and then completely (1917) evacuated. Paper production resumed in 1921. In 1925, a paper mill village named Līgatne was granted the status of a densely populated place (village). In 1935, the village of Spriņģukalns on the opposite bank of the river was added to Līgatne and it was renamed the Līgatne paper mill to distinguish it from the village of Līgatne station, which was established at the 6 km distant railway station.

During World War II, the paper mill continued to operate until 1944, when the retreat was partially blown up by the German army. The damage was not severe and production resumed in 1945.

In 1949, Līgatne was granted the status of a workers' village (from 1961 - an urban village). In 1993, Līgatne acquired city rights. Since 2009 - Līgatne district center.


Nearby attractions

Līgatne paper mill

Līgatne Paper Mill was a paper production company located in Līgatne and operated from 1815 to 2016. In recent years, one paper machine was in operation, which could produce up to 45 t of paper per day, reaching a speed of 200 m / min; could produce up to 12,000 tons of paper per year.

1815 - 1915
On November 13, 1814, the merchants of Riga, Justus Štorhs and Kārlis Kibers, rented the Patmale manor mill and a plot of land by the Līgatne River, and named it Conradsruhe. During the year, the mill was rebuilt to produce paper. A master of paper production and seven zels began to work in the mill, who in 1815 made the first 1,050 pieces of paper by hand.

After the death of Dietrich Karl Kiber (Kyber, 1771-1823), the owner of a paper mill, Kyber und Co was taken over by his widow Margaret Jakobine Kibere and three sons. In 1827, the manor housed 33 manors and 18 freelance Latvian workers, 11 Russian workers, one German master and one blacksmith. Chemicals began to be used in the production of high-end writing paper.

In 1830, the main or middle factory started operating. An ironing machine with copper rollers and a paper grinding machine were used to iron the paper. In 1849, the first water turbine-powered paper machine began operating.

In 1856, the Paltmale manor and paper mill (Papierfabrik Ligat, genannt Conradsruhe) was bought from the sons of Kibera for 42,000 silver rubles by Kārlis Georgs von Grothuss, the assessor of the Vidzeme Land Court, who installed the second paper machine and founded the joint-stock company Līgatne paper mill. In 1863, the Līgatne paper mill was bought by its shareholder and director Artūrs von Freitāgs-Loringhofen, in 1864 by the Riga merchant John Armitsteds, and in 1865 by JSC "Rīgas rakstāmpapīru fabriku kompānija", which started producing pulp in Līgatne, until then the paper was obtained from rags. The company was renamed "Rīgas papīrfabriku AS" (Aktien-Gesellschaft Rigaer Papierfabrike), whose main production plant was Jugla paper mill, which had three directors - John Armitstead, N. Kimmel and Alexander Mencendorf.

In 1879, Līgatne Paper received a silver medal at the All-Russian Manufactory Exhibition in St. Petersburg. In 1876, the Menzendorf family acquired a controlling stake in the joint stock company. In 1884, the paper mill burned down, but within a year he bought a new paper machine from the German company Hemmer. In 1892, the second paper machine started operating, and in 1895, the third paper machine. In 1894, at the All-Russian Exhibition in St. Petersburg, Līgatne Paper received the Grand Gold Medal. In 1896, at the industrial and art exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod, the Līgatne paper mill was granted the right to display the national coat of arms on its products. Until 1913, Līgatne produced especially high-quality paper for important state documents.

In 1914, a factory guest house was opened, which had been designed and built by architect and construction contractor Pēteris Menņelis. After the beginning of the First World War in 1915, paper machines were exported to Russia.

In 1920, the Latvian government allocated 20 million Latvian rubles for the resumption of paper production in Līgatne. In 1920, Emīls Fāle, the general director of the joint-stock company "Ziemeļu papīra un pululoses fabrikas", bought a controlling stake in the joint-stock company "Rīgas rakstāmpapīru fabrikas kompānija". His brother Wilhelm Fal became director of the factory. In May 1921, production resumed the first paper machine, in 1923 a second paper machine was installed, and pulp production resumed. In 1924, the production of crepe paper began. As a result of the economic crisis that began in 1929, Emīls Fāle sold a controlling stake in the Riga Writing Paper Factory Company to the German and Belgian banker Mendelssohn in 1930. In 1936, the third paper machine started operating. In 1937, in the production of paper, the Līgatne paper mill reached the maximum production - about 6,200 tons of paper per year. At that time, about 100 different types of paper were produced in Līgatne, about half of the products were exported abroad. After the beginning of the Second World War and the repatriation of the German-Baltics, the Līgatne paper mill was nationalized.

During the retreat of the German army in early October 1944, several factory buildings were blown up. In February 1945, paper production resumed with three paper machines, in the first year 421 workers produced 2,103 tons of paper. The fourth paper machine was installed in 1952. In 1957, 1,057 workers produced 11,253 tons of paper and 2,203 tons of wood pulp. Old paper machines were replaced with new ones in 1974 and 1978. In 1977, the Līgatne paper mill became a structural unit of the "Latvian Paper Industry Association".


1990 - 2013
After the collapse of the USSR, only one paper machine continued to operate in the factory. Initially, the mill mainly produced packaging paper from waste paper, recycling about 16,000 tons of secondary raw materials per year. On November 5, 1993, the Līgatne paper mill was partially burnt down, and it was restored with donations from residents. Gradually, the company began to produce more valuable products: drawing paper, shell paper and shells. The paper machine, which had an originally planned capacity of 20 t per day and a paper production speed of 120 m / min, was upgraded and reconstructed.

On March 22, 1997, the paper mill was privatized and its controlling stake (74%) was acquired by the mill's director Andris Segliņš. On August 9, 2001, it was renamed AS Papīrfabrika "Līgatne". In 2011, the paper mill had a turnover of EUR 5.13 million and suffered a loss of EUR 292,030, in 2012 it reduced the production of unprofitable paper products. The factory employed 150 people. In 2012, the volume of paper produced reached 9154 tons, including 7735 tons for export markets. In 2012, the company's turnover was 4.49 million EUR and a profit of 10,741 EUR.

In 2013, the company had accumulated debts, the boiler house collapsed and there were no funds to restore it. Paper production was suspended. In August 2013, venture capital firm BaltCap sold Jersey-registered Baltic Investment Fund III C.V. (49.23%) and Baltic Investment Fund III L.P., registered in the Netherlands. (8.79%) owned shares of JSC Papīrfabrika "Līgatne" (58.02%) to the companies JSC Valsts papīru spiestuve and JSC Riga stamp factory

In November 2013, the legal protection process of JSC Papīrfabrika "Līgatne" was initiated in the Riga City Center District Court and on February 10, 2014, the court appointed an administrator of the legal protection process, on May 23, approved the plan of measures of the legal protection process. The recovery plan is for two years. On June 17, the Paper Factory "Līgatne" terminated the legal protection process and declared insolvency proceedings. The building and land owned by the paper mill were purchased by its creditor Norvik banka. On March 2, 2016, the company was liquidated.


Līgatne cellars.
Līgatne ferry.
The Soviet government's underground bunker - a refuge and command post in the event of a nuclear war.
Līgatne nature trails.
Gudu limestone.
Vienkoči Park.