About Valmiera city
Valmiera is the centre of Vidzeme region in culture, education, sports and entrepreneurship. There are many things to do for travelers – for those who love history, nature and leisure activities.
Valmiera city was founded in 1283 when the building of Valmiera St.Simon’s church started and the Master of the Order Villikinus de Endrope (Vilekin fon Endrop) founded the castle of Valmiera. There was economic boom in the 14th and 15th Century when Valmiera as an important trade centre became a member of the Hanseatic League. Valmiera was almost destructed during the wars of Russia, Sweden and Poland, there was also the plague and fire. Valmiera started to recover again only in the beginning of the 19th Century. The growth period for Valmiera was when Latvia gained independence for the first time – in the beginning of the 20th Century. Then Valmiera became the regional centre in economic matters and culture. Almost one third part of the city was destroyed during World War II so the city centre was rebuilt during the post-war time. There were several large industrial enterprises built in Valmiera.
We recommend seeing
Valmiera St. Simon’s church is one of the symbols of Valmiera, together with Livonian Order castle ruins, Valmiera Museum buildings and Valter’s Hill shaping the historical centre of Valmiera. Although Valmiera St.Simon’s church was built in 1283, it has preserved its medieval appearance up to nowadays. Experts notice Roman and Gothic style in the architecture of Valmiera St.Simon’s church. We advise paying attention to the church interior – the church has memorial plaques of the most distinguished city dwellers from the 15th–16th century, a pipe organ (1886), pulpits and pipe organ paintings (1730). The church tower serves as an exhibition hall, and its vantage platform provides a panoramic view of Valmiera, you can see “the main street” of Valmiera - the river Gauja that divides the city into two parts. Next to the church you can see Livonian Order castle ruins and a little bit of the medieval fortification system. The castle was started to be built in 1283 during the Northern War. It was burnt down in 1702.
The Old Pharmacy at Bruninieku Street is the oldest wooden building in the city and the second oldest pharmacy in Latvia. It was built in 1735 above the cellar of the Livonian castle. Permission to set up a pharmacy was received in 1755. In that particular building it operated for 210 years – up to 1965. Currently the building houses an exhibition hall of Valmiera Museum. The complex of Valmiera Museum is situated in 8 buildings, built from the beginning of the 18th Century up to nowadays and it is situated in the territory of the historical centre of Valmiera. Valmiera Museum offers excursions, educational programs and participation in several thematic programs.
The Valmiera Drama Theatre – the only professional theatre in Vidzeme region and one of the best theatres in Latvia – offers various theatre performances and concerts for the spectators of all age groups. If you wish to have a closer look at what is going on in the theatre building you are welcome to join the excursion through the backstage.
You can also have a walk along the Millpond. Historically it used to be a part of the medieval fortification system of Valmiera. During the celebration of the city’s anniversaries, the promenade of the Millpond was opened with various recreation facilities, including the Sundial, the children’s playground and the cobblestone labyrinth.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see the Medieval Riga Gates. To preserve the fragments of the Medieval Riga Gate, it has been glassed and lightened in a special sarcophagus. You can also see a part of the fortification system with an arrow slit and a fragment of the medieval cobbled street.
The most beautiful adornment of Valmiera is the rapid and ever changing the Gauja River. During a walk along the Gauja you might meet not only a roe family that has wandered into the city but also the “hardworking managers” of the riverbanks – the beavers. The Steep bank of the Gauja is a natural preserve.