Sigulda is located in the Vidzeme region (Livonia), 50 km
north-east of Riga, on the high left bank of the Gauja River. This
is a cozy and very clean town, more reminiscent of Western, not
Eastern Europe. The combination of historical and natural
attractions, as well as opportunities for active recreation make
Sigulda one of the most popular weekend destinations in Latvia.
Historically, the Gauja Valley was inhabited by the Baltic tribes of the Livs. In the 12th century, the Christianization of Vidzeme began and at the same time the expansion of the Order of the Swordsmen, later called Livonian, began. The founding of Sigulda is considered to be the construction of the castle by the swordsmen in 1207. The fortified place on the high bank of the river proved to be an important stronghold in almost every war in the Baltic over the next 800 years.
In the second half of the 19th century, most of Sigulda belonged to the princes Kropotkin, and one of them, Nikolai Dmitrievich Kropotkin, became an enthusiast for the development of tourism in Sigulda. As the vice-governor of Livonia, he lobbied for the construction of the Riga-Tartu railway through Sigulda, which gave Riga residents the opportunity to spend time outside the city. The area of Sigulda, Krimulda and Turaida quickly became a popular summer holiday destination and was nicknamed Livonian Switzerland, which stimulated the opening of hotels and shops, and Kropotkin sold land plots for summer cottages. The locals organized the production and sale of walking sticks, which made it easier to climb the steep banks of the Gauja - thus, walking sticks became a traditional trade in Sigulda.
Now Sigulda confidently claims to be one of the most popular places in Latvia. Both Latvians and foreigners who visit Riga love to travel here, so during the season the city can be somewhat crowded, although if you wish, you can easily find untouched places, and the prices after Riga will please you. Sightseeing Sigulda and its surroundings will take at least half a day. For leisurely walks and outdoor activities, you can safely lay the day, and if you decide to spend the night in Sigulda, then the next day you can go to Cesis, Ligatne or explore the sandstone cliffs in the Gauja National Park.
Sigulda is located on the left bank of the Gauja. On the right bank, directly opposite Sigulda, there is the Krimulda manor, and a couple of kilometers upstream - the village of Turaida. Both points are must-see, along with Sigulda itself. It is difficult to get lost in Sigulda, as there are signs to the main attractions at every corner.
Raiņa street leads from the railway and bus station to the banks of the Gauja River, passing through the beautiful Raiņa parks. After about a kilometer, you can turn right onto Baznīcas iela, walk past the white Lutheran church and go to the Sigulda castle complex, or turn left and go to the Festival Square and to the cable car station. Gaujas iela goes down to the bridge over the Gauja, going further into the road to Turaida.
Tourist Information Center, Ausekļa iela 6 (in the station building). ☎ +371 (67) 97-13-35, Skype: Siguldastic. Open from May to October: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm, November to April: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm.
Castle and surroundings
Castle of the Livonian Order (Zegevold), Pils 16.May to September: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm, other times: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. € 2. The castle was built in 1207 by the knights of the Livonian Order in opposition to the Turaida castle on the opposite bank of the river, which was controlled by the Riga clergy. During the Northern War, it was destroyed and was no longer rebuilt. The southwestern building with huge Gothic windows and a gate tower have survived to this day. In the restored northern tower, wooden stairs and even an elevator have been built: from above there is a magnificent view of the Gauja valley and Krimulda manor. One of the bastions also has an observation deck. During business hours, you will be charged a small fee to enter the castle grounds. In the early morning or late evening, the ticket office is closed, you can walk freely, but they are not allowed to enter the tower either.
Sigulda Palace (1878). The neo-Gothic manor is in perfect harmony with the nearby ruins of the Livonian castle. The large stones at the base were taken from the remains of the previous buildings of the 17th-18th centuries. The palace was built as the residence of the Kropotkin princes, now it is occupied by the council of the Sigulda region. There should be interesting interiors from the 1920s inside, but how to inspect them is not entirely clear. In addition to the palace, the outbuildings of the estate of the second half of the 19th century have survived. and the entrance gate.