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Placed on: 2010-10-27 12:50   Updated on: 2010-10-27 13:06   Comments: 2   Views from 2009-08-25: 0

A Trip to Sigulda - the Most Visited Place in Latvia
2010-10-27 12:48


Sigulda - is a town found 53 kilometers away from Riga. It is the most visited place by tourists in Latvia. You can admire not only a wonderful view of the river Gauja here, but you can also visit some historical and cultural monuments.  

The surroundings of Sigulda earlier were called "Switzerland of Vidzeme". There are more than 250 oaks in the park of the town with the floating river Gauja through it. The width of the oaks is about 2-3 metres, there are also a lot of unique exotic trees. The National Park of Latvia (649,9 ha) was founded in the time between the wars in the territory of Sigulda, Turaida and Krimulda.

The tribes of Finno-Ugric had been living in 3-2 millennium B.C. here, in the territory of nowadays Sigulda. Sigulda was near the important road, which led from the lower reaches of the river Dauguva to the city of Tartu, so the town became a center of the marketing. The tribes of Livonians had been living till the beginning of the XVIII century in the lands of Dauguva, Turaida, Metsipola, Idumeja. But German feudalist expansion to these lands started in XVIII century. The stoned castles were built in Sigulda, Turaida, Krimulda. Gradually near the castle of Sigulda the settlement of trades people and merchants grew up, consequently Sigulda was started to call a town in XV century.

The development of Sigulda, as a resort started in 1887 when the railway connecting Riga and Pskov was built. 

The owner of the Sigulda estate a duke Kropotkin had been selling the lands for the propertied classes of Riga for the construction of the boarding-houses and the country-houses. Gradually not only the aristocrats of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Warsaw started to commend Sigulda, but also a family of the emperor enjoyed to have a rest there. About a thousand of people lived here permanently in 1909. Sigulda received the rights of the town in February in 1928.

A railway station, the most modern building of that time in the entire Latvia was built in 1925 in Sigulda. A strong ferroconcrete bridge over the river Gauja was built in 1934-1937. Unfortunately both buildings were destroyed during the World War II. The town trippingly recuperated after the war. A new bridge over the river Gauja was built in 1950, a new building for the railway station appeared in 1951, and a tourist base was founded in 1955. The towns of Turaida and Krimulda were affiliated to Sigulda in 1953.

Today Sigulda is a centre of tourism, recreation and sport. For the convenience of the tourists there is a bridge for pedestrians through the river Gauja, a ferryboat, a Ferris wheel is built in the town. A castle of Turaida was started to renovate in the year of 1953. Commemorating the 150-year anniversary of the Latvian folklorist  Krišjānis Barons in 1985, the monument was opened in the park of Sigulda. Sigulda is famous all over the world by its track of bobsleigh and the complex of sport.

The track of bobsleigh in Sigulda, Latvija

The track of bobsleigh in Sigulda, Latvija

Castle of Turaida

You should visit the castle of Turaida (built in XII century) when you first come to Sigulda. A bishop used to live in this castle years ago, nowadays guides tell a beautiful and tragical love story about the Rose of Turaida.

Turaida Castle

Turaida Castle

Greif, the scribe of Turaida castle near the body of a killed woman found an alive infant girl just in her age of a couple months in 1601 in the battle field of the Polish and Swedish militaries. Greif took her home - otherwise she would have died of hunger. He raised her as a daughter. Years were passing by, the girl became a beautiful lady and she was christened in the name of Maja. A fascinating young man - the gardener of Sigulda castle Heil fell in love with Maja. She also wasn't indifferent to him. A wedding day was set, so the loverbirds didn't have any feelings of fear and used to meet each other almost every evening at the Cave of Gutmanis. In 1620, on the 6th of October Maja got a message from Heil to come to the cave after the noon, because in the evening he won't be able to meet her. She took together the real Greif's daughter 8-year old Lenta and they went donwn the hill. The infant Lenta got tired and sat to have a rest. Heil came in the evening to Turaida and found out that his beloved was dead. At first everybody suspected Heil himself. The governor of Turaida Sildheim who was in a sickbed didn't believe in the guiltiness of Heil and suspected two Polish defectors Adam Jakubowski and soldier Peter Skudritz, who served for him for a couple of years. They were drunkards and whoremongers. Peter Skudritz came to the governor himself and told everything what have happened. He said, that Adam Jakubowski was in love with Maja from the moment he had come to Turaida. Three months ago he proposed to Maja his heart and a hand, but she told him she was already engaged with Heil. Jakubowski got insulted, but he was persistent and treacherous. He called Skudritz, suggested him to inveigle Maja to the Cave of Gutmanis so that both of them could rape her. In the name of Heil he sent the message to Maja. Both defectors came to the cave earlier and hid in the shrubbery. When Maja came to the cave Jakubowski stopped her way and in the crude expressions told her his intentions. The lady resisted him, but Jakubowski was a vigorous man and laid her low on the ground. Maja started begging him to let it be his will, but she will indulge to him only when she will give him as a present her miraculous kerchief, which saves the one, who carries it, from all the badness. If he doesn't believe her, let he sabre her. Jakubowski had his sword with him, because he was a sub-commander in an army. He sabred the girl through the neck, which was swathed by the kerchief. Maja fell down on the ground and her blood was spurting on the wrongdoer. At the same moment Skudritz alongside heard the infant's Lenta scream. He got frightened and ran away. Jakubowski also heard Lenta's scream. He dived in to the forest and Skudritz didn't see him anymore. Jakubowski was found in the morning hanging in the forest, it was the reason why Skudritz came to tell what have happened in the cave. Not guilty Heil was discharged out of the prison, but Skudritz took his place, he served his time in a hoosegow for four months. Maja was buried in the old cemetery near the church of Turaida, the lime was planted on her cave. The old lime is already at the end of its days, but near it the new one was planted in 1985, which lasts the memory of the nation about a wonderful story of love.

The Biggest Cave in Latvia and the National Park

The tourists should visit the biggest cave in Latvia, which is found in Sigulda. The capacity of the cave is 500 m3 , the height is 10 m, width 12 m, length 18,8 m. In the ancient times the source, which streams in the cave of Gutmanis was considered to be sacred, the healing powers were subsumed to it. The cave was called in the name of a man who has lived in this place years ago and healed a lot of people.

Cave of Gutmanis Cave of Gutmanis

After a visit to the cave you should find some time for a walk in the National park of Latvia. The park was founded for the purpose of creating a zone of an active recreation and of saving the unique treasures of the nature. You can't find another such a place in Latvia where would be so many caves, scars and streamlets. The travelers admire wild, primordial nature here.

The author of these lines swam in the river of Gauja, walked in the National park and visited the castle of Turaida, so he can surely affirm, that such a unique nature and a wonderful landscape, which Sigulda and its surroundings are famous for, you should really hardly look for anywhere else.

By the way, Sigulda is also attractive by the fact, that you can visit it and don't get bored in all the seasons. What can you do on summer I have already written.  You don't get bored if you come here in autumn too, because the National park not only still remains with its charm but also dights in "gold". This town in winter is a centre of the mountain's skiing. Sigulda is overflowed by the amateurs of the sculls and canoes in spring. You can find an accommodation in a hotel "Sigulda", which is mentioned in all the traveling guides. A day for a single room will cost you 42 euros (about 150 litas), the price for a double room will be 54 euros (about 190 litas).

Categories: Tourist information centre in, Museums, Castles, Church, Parks, Attractions in, Travel, Tours, Routes in, Hotels in, Top places in , Best things to do in, Countryside and Nature tourism, farmsteads in, Sightseeing, Walking tours in
Turaida Castle
Turaida Castle
Cave of Gutmanis
Cave of Gutmanis
Turaida Castle
Turaida Castle

A view to Gauja
A view to Gauja
The track of bobsleigh in Sigulda, Latvija
The track of bobsleigh in Sigulda, Latvija

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