Valmiera is a city in Latvia, in the central part of Vidzeme, one of the nine cities of national importance of the Republic of Latvia. With a population of 24,865, Valmiera is the largest city in the Vidzeme planning region and the 8th largest in Latvia. Approximately 7,000 people come to Valmiera from other municipalities every day, who work, study or use services here, but have been declared elsewhere. Valmiera is one of the oldest cities in Latvia, a member of the Hanseatic League.
At different times, the city had different names - Waldemer, Wolmaria, Wolmahr, Vladimirec, Wolmar, Valmiera - all derived from the Vikings - the rustic personal name "Valdemar" or "Vladimir". The most popular version is about Prince Vladimir Mstislavich of Pskov, who collected dung here and judged the court after his expulsion from Pskov in 1214. The second version assumes that the castle is named after King Valdemar II of Denmark, who in 1221 briefly became not only the feudal senior of northern Estonia, but also of Livonia. This version is supported by the fact that the Order of the Sword Brothers, which owned the Valmiera area, became an ally of the King of Denmark at that time. It is unlikely that the Order would have named its new castle in the name of its enemy, but it is quite possible that the names of the two feudal seniors simply merged into one personal name of King Valdemārs.
The settlement on the site of the present Valmiera existed already
in the 11th century and belonged to the territory of the ancient
Latgalian settlement of Tālava. The city was located on a large
trade route, called via Ruthenorum in Latin texts, and walked along
the Gauja to the rust-controlled Pskov and Novgorod. Behind
Valmiera, it was divided into two directions - to Pskov and Tartu.
In 1224, as a result of the Talava division agreement, the Gauja trade route (so-called "Gauja corridor") came under the control of the Order of the Sword Brothers, which laid the foundations of the Order's castle here. In 1283, the master of the Livonian Order, Villeken von Endorp, ruled Valmiera Castle (Wolmar) and St. Construction of Simon's Church on the banks of the Gauja. In 1323, Valmiera was first mentioned as the "City of Valdemara", and soon it became a member of the Hanseatic League. In 1413, Gilbert de Lanua described Valmiera as a fortified city. Until the 16th century, several meetings of landtags and city representatives met here. In 1622, after the Polish-Swedish War, Valmiera came under the rule of the Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxchern, and the bull's forehead still adorns the city's coat of arms.
In 1738, Magdalena Elizabeth von Hallarte opened a seminary teachers' seminar in Valmiera, which became the center of the new revival movement. In 1785, Valmiera acquired the rights of a county town. In the 19th century, the first factories were established in Valmiera, new parts of the city developed on both banks of the Gauja, a Valka-Valmiera teachers' seminar, a women's gymnasium (now Valmiera Primary School) and a trade school became Valmiera's education center.
In the 1906 city council elections, Latvians prevailed (18 out of 24 councilors were Latvians, 5 Germans and one Russian), who elected Valmiera city doctor Georg Apins as the head of the city of Valmiera.
Before the Second World War, the largest company in the city was the
"Bacon Export" factory. During the Red Army's attack on the Red Army
in September 1944 ("Operation Riga"), a third of the city was
completely destroyed, the city center burned down and was rebuilt in
the post-war years. Until the administrative-territorial reform of
1949, Valmiera was the center of Valmiera district, but until the
administrative-territorial reform of 2009, the center of Valmiera
district, now a city of national significance.
Cultural and historical monuments
Valmiera ancient city and the ruins of the Livonian Order Valmiera castle. The castle was built for military purposes in a strategically advantageous location on a hill formed by the bank of the Gauja and the Rātsupīte ravine. The castle was destroyed during the Great Northern War in 1702, when Russian troops attacked the city and set fire to the castle.
Valmiera St. Simon's Church. The congregation returned to the church in 1990, and in 1996 the church was legally returned to the congregation.
Idol island, an ancient place of worship. Located right next to the medieval castle complex and the Lucas castle mound. In the Middle Ages, it was surrounded by water from all sides and overgrown with oaks, in the middle of the island was once a green sacred oak with images of the gods.
Valmiera teachers' seminar building (architect Aleksejs Kīzelbašs).