Because of its location at the crossroads of the biggest trade routes Straupe was one of the most significant Hanseatic towns for 300 years. However, during the Polish-Swedish War the town was completely destroyed. According to the Swedish Plough Inspection in 1638, only two residents had survived.
Nowadays, Straupe is the largest village in Pārgauja County, located in the centre of the most beautiful region of Latvia – Vidzeme. Straupe is a small town with dynamic development and active inhabitants.
Hanseatic City Traditions
The dairy farmers’ cooperative ‘Straupe’ is one of the most successful rural cooperatives in Latvia. It is known especially by „Straupe butter”, made following an original recipe, traditional Latvian caraway cheese, and other dairy products without preservatives.
In 2008, the tradition of Straupe Farmers’ Market, offering local products, was renewed. The Market takes place on every 1st and 3rd Sunday of a month and offers fresh and seasonal vegetables, fruits, cheese, honey, smoked meat, and many more products grown by the local farmers and prepared by craftsmen.
Lielstraupe Medieval Castle is one of the most outstanding valuables of Latvian cultural and historical heritage. It is unique as the castle and the church are one building. The castle has survived to this day thanks to its current owner - Straupe Narcological Hospital.
Mazstraupe Castle, built around 1400, is where the current school is located. The building has remained after several reconstructions and fires. The walls of the oldest part of the building are up to two metres thick.
The Manor House ‘Ungurmuiža’ is a harmonious ensemble of wooden buildings with unique wall and cell paintings.
Education and Sport
The Pārgauja schools provide four educational programmes, including a pedagogic correction programme for adolescents suffering from addiction to psychoactive substances. Among school graduates’ achievements in sports are the world champion’s title in orienteering and floor-ball. Gerda Krumina a has participated in the biathlon at the Olympic Games.
Straupes choir, founded in 1864, is one of the oldest in Latvia. There are folk dance groups and an amateur theatre troupes.
In Pārgauja are rather many nongovernmental organizations for different ages and interests: Vidzeme Rural Partnership ‘Brasla’, the Straupe Branch of the Latvian Red Cross, the Straupe Tourism Association, the Straupe Savings and Loans Association, Sports Clubs ‘Pārgauja’ and ‘Mārkulīči’, Bowmen Club, Association ‘Healthy in the City and Countryside’, Women’s Association ‘Dzirkstelīte’ and several Hunters’ Associations.
There are cafés and hotels on A3 road in Straupe parish. Taverna Braslas Krogs offers delicious Latvian National Cuisine.
Look for the famous Straupe confectionery, especially for bacon pies and pastries, as well as for the self-made sausages from the ‘Zemzari’ farm in local shops. In the shop of Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative ‘Straupe’, search for ‘Straupe butter’ and other dairy products.
The Pārgauja County is placed in Gauja National Park, close to the area, known as Little Switzerland. The nature and lakes are attractive both to beauty lovers and anglers. The only underground lakes in the Baltic States are located here. Excursions to these lakes are organized by the tourism enterprise ‘Vējiņi’, whereas farms and campings offer a stay for families in a lovely cottages near the River Brasla, River Gauja or lakes.