Smiltene is a city in Vidzeme, the administrative center of Smiltene region. Located 134.5 km from Riga, 46.5 km from Valka, 37.5 km from Valmiera, 43.5 km from Cesis and 56 km from Ape. The Abula River flows through the city, on which three artificial reservoirs have been created: Tiltley Lake 84 m above sea level, Central Lake 93.5 m above sea level and Teper 109 m above sea level. The city is located on the border of the northern slope of the Vidzeme highlands with the Vidusgauja depression. The climate does not have the characteristics of the Vidzeme Highlands (significantly lower rainfall). Due to the hilly terrain, the climate here is colder than in most of Latvia. In the D-SW part of the city the absolute height reaches 150-155 m above sea level, but in the Z part 85-100 m above sea level. Sand is characterized by hilly terrain. The average height of the hills is 10 m, their slopes, with some exceptions, are flat and built-up. In some places the depressions between the hills are swampy.
A witness to the ancient history of Smiltene is the Cērtene castle mound on the outskirts of the city, which is located by the Cērtene river, near Klievezers, but archeological excavations have not yielded results here. During the Livonian Crusades, when the Crusaders subjugated the land here, in 1207 the Smiltene area became part of the Livonian Diocese. Smiltene Castle (later Smiltene Manor, now Kalnamuiža) was first mentioned in writings in 1359 during the reign of Archbishop Fromhold of Riga. Castle from 1367.-70. It was built by the master of the Livonian Order Wilhelm von Frimsheim, but it still belongs to the archbishop, and in the following years the archbishops of Riga often spend their summers here. A small church was built in the castle, consecrated on Mary's Day, and named after Mary's Church. In 1427, it was first mentioned that there was a small settlement of merchants and craftsmen near the castle, which in 1523 was called a town. In February 1481, during the Livonian-Moscow War, Russian troops roamed Vidzeme for four weeks, attacking the castles of Smiltene, Piebalga, Cesvaine and Koknese.
In 1530, Smiltene Castle and the county became the property of
Wilhelm of Brandenburg, a member of the Hohencollern dynasty. During
the collapse of the Livonian Confederation in 1556, Heinrich von
Gallen, master of the Livonian Order, arrested Wilhelm of
Brandenburg, who had become archbishop, and held a year in prison at
Smiltene Castle for insulting the transfer of Protestant Livonia to
the Catholic Polish-Lithuanian war. During the Livonian War,
Smiltene Castle and the town, which had once again become the
residence of Wilhelm of Brandenburg, were destroyed in 1559 and 1560
by Russian Tsarist troops and its Tatar vassal troops. In 1561, the
present-day Vidzeme became part of the Polish-Lithuanian union. In
1577, Smiltene was invaded again by Russian troops. During the reign
of the Livonian Duchy of Pardaugava, Smiltene and its surroundings
came under the possession of the star Kaspars Mlodecks. Catholics
are trying to counter-reform here, but Protestantism is already
entrenched here. The settlement is formed on the lands of Smiltene
rectory and Smiltene castle manor. In 1613, the Smiltene Lutheran
Church was united with the congregations of Trikāta, Palsmane and
Aumeisteri. During the Polish-Swedish war, between 1601 and 1621,
Smiltene was controlled by both Poles and Swedes. During the Swedish
Livonia (1620-1710), there was a parish school in Smiltene, as well
as a brick and lime kiln. During the Great Northern War on August 9,
1702, Russian troops burned down Smiltene Church, a castle manor, 19
town houses, nine surrounding manors and 204 peasant houses. Russian
troops take the church bell to Pskov, 23 people and 143 horses were
taken prisoner of war. In 1708, a new church was built on the site
of the current Lutheran church. A cemetery is formed around it.
Several houses, 4 pubs were built again. After the Great Plague
epidemic, only about half of the population survived in Smiltene
parish. The school building of Smiltene parish was built in 1745.
From 1745 to 1771, Jēkabs Lange, the author of the first Latvian
dictionary, served as a pastor in Smiltene. Lange is buried in the
old cemetery of Smiltene.
The Queen of the Russian Empire, Catherine II, presented the Smiltene manor to the Governor General of Vidzeme, George Brown, who from 1763 to 1771 had the Smiltene manor buildings preserved to this day. After Brown's death, Smiltene manor is inherited by his daughter, who sold it to the Riga merchant J.S. Bandava, whose family ruled it for almost 100 years. During Bandava there is one church and 7 pubs in Smiltene - Žīgurs, Dobelnieks, Kubliņš, Sprugulis, Naužēns, Ādiņa and Kliebats. Each of the pubs has served as its own berth for the people of the parishes around Smiltene. In 1853, during the reign of Pastor Guleck, the present Smiltene Lutheran Church was built. During the gangs, farm buildings were built in the castle ruins. There is also a post-telegraph office here. In 1893, the town has 7 shops of various goods, a bookstore, a pharmacy, 3 bakers, 3 butchers, 2 watch workshops and various craftsmen. Order is maintained by the police and the magistrates' court.
During the Russification, an Orthodox church was built in Smiltene, which was consecrated on September 8, 1896. Its construction was initiated in 1889 by Justice of the Peace Vasily-Alexander Savelev, and most of the funds needed for the construction were donated by Savelev's father, who lives in Moscow.
In 1893, the Smiltene manor was bought from the heirs of Bandava by Princess von Līvena living in Krimulda, who presented it in 1895 to her son, Prince Paul von Līven, who created a new building plan with the main streets, dividing the land around the manor into land plots and leasing it for life. population. In 1901, Līvens built the Vidusezers HPP. In 1903, he built Smiltene Hospital, a sawmill, and a steam-powered power plant by Lake Tiltleja. In 1913, the HPP with a derivation channel was built (now the Abula HPP is located here). After several years of planning, in 1911, with the financial support of Līvens, the narrow-gauge Smiltene-Valmiera-Ainaži railway was built, which gives a positive impetus to the growth of Smiltene's economic life. Līvens largely controls the appearance and construction of many new houses, participating in the construction at his own expense. The largest Smiltenes street at this time is Daugavas street. The central square and major streets are paved and lit by electricity.
19th century At the end of the 19th century, as Latvian wealth and social activity increased, many associations were founded in Smiltene. The largest building in the city center is the house of the Smiltene-Palsmane-Aumeisteru-Gaujene Agricultural Society, founded on June 2, 1881. Smiltene Music and Singing Society was founded in the autumn of 1887. The Volunteer Firefighters Association was founded in 1895. It owns a fire station and John's Park. Smiltene Dairy Association, founded in 1910, was located at Mūrnieku Street 2. Smiltene Consumable Society was founded in 1907 and has a shop in the city center. In 1919, the Latvian Red Cross Smiltene branch was established, located at Pils Street 4.
World War I and the Latvian Freedom Fights did not destroy
Smiltene. On January 2, 1920, Smiltene was granted city rights, and
a wave of construction of new private houses began. In 1919, the
Smiltene branch of the Latvian Red Cross, located at Pils Street 4,
was established. The floods of the spring of 1922 destroyed the dam
of Lake Teper, which will soon be restored. In 1925, the Mutual Fire
Insurance Society was founded. In 1935, there were more than 400
residential houses in Smiltene, many commercial and industrial
enterprises, the largest of which were flax and wool processing
enterprises, several sawmills, carpentry and mills. Gustav Adolf
Square is located in the city center. During the parliamentary
republic of Latvia, Smiltene City Council consists of 25 elected
councilors. Education is provided by the State Smiltene Gymnasium at
Zaķu Street 2/4. 1. Smiltene city 6th grade primary school is
located at Krāsotāju street 1, but 2. Smiltene city 6th grade
primary school at Dārza street 8. Smiltene parish 6th grade primary
school is located at Pils street 3. Smiltene city Jewish 6th grade
primary school was located at Raina street 16, but synagogue at
Galdnieku street 1 As a result of the agrarian reform, the State
Smiltene Agricultural Educational Institutions were established in
the buildings of Smiltene manor. On the banks of the Abula there was
the Old Park, the New Park, but in the Gauja, Audēju and small Vaļņu
streets, Jānis Park, where there was also a tennis court and a
concert hall. There are 39 streets in Smiltene at this time: Abula,
Avotu, High, Weavers, Blaumanis, Daugava, Garden, Doctor, Druva,
Mill, Carpenters, Gauja, Gustav Adolf Square, New, Small New,
Blacksmith, Mountain, Lime, Cliff, Quiet, Painters, Lower, Big,
Curved, Maria, Mint, Mezols, Forest, Masons, Park, Swimming, Castle,
Castle mound, Rainis, Industrialists, Sand, Ramp, Small Ramp, Rabbit
There is a weekly market in Gustav Adolf Square. The fairs take
place on February 2, March 18, May 11, July 15, September 2, October
26 and December 10.
In 1935, there were 410 houses in Smiltene, of which 51 were masonry and 278 wooden. During the battles of World War II, on September 22, 1944, at least 297 buildings were destroyed in Smiltene, including the Smiltene-Palsmane-Aumeisteru-Gaujene Agricultural Society House, two primary schools, a gymnasium, a station, a dairy, a mill, and more than half of the buildings. From 1950 to 1959, Smiltene was the center of Smiltene district.
There are regional roads P18 Valmiera - Smiltene, P24 Smiltene - Valka, P25 Smiltene - Strenci and P27 Smiltene - Velena - Gulbene, as well as several local roads, the most important of which are V234 Smiltene - Rauna and V235 Smiltene - Valka.
Intercity bus service
The main routes Smiltene - Riga; Smiltene - Valmiera; Smiltene - Valka; Smiltene - Cesis; Smiltene - Madona; Smiltene - Aluksne; Smiltene - Rauna; Smiltene - Gulbene - Balvy; Smiltene - Gaujiena; Smiltene - Strenci - Evele.