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Southern Latvia (Zemgale)

The largest part of Zemgale is flat, which makes it different from the other regions that have both uplands and deep river valleys. Zemgale boasts one of the most fertile grain fields in Northern Europe, something that has ensured the prosperity of the region for many successive centuries.

The largest part of Zemgale is flat, which makes it different from the other regions that have both uplands and deep river valleys. Zemgale boasts one of the most fertile grain fields in Northern Europe, something that has ensured the prosperity of the region for many successive centuries.

Zemgale’s castles and manor houses offer an opportunity to see the remaining evidence of luxury and prosperity of older times. And it is Zemgale in which is located one particularly significant baroque architecture monument - Rundāle Palace.

Nature

Zemgale’s landscapes are characterised by extended cultivated fields, since Zemgale’s soil has always been particularly fertile. You will see grain and rape fields, operating windmills and modern wind generators on the plains of Zemgale.

Part of Ķemeri National Park, which is known for its healing mud, sulphur waters and mineral waters, is located in the northern area of Zemgale.

Several of Latvia’s rivers cross Zemgale - the Daugava, Lielupe, Mūsa and Mēmele. The Mēmele is one of those rivers that is actively used for boat trips that offer an opportunity to see the interesting river bank strips in the area of Skaistkalne.

Castles in Zemgale

Zemgale’s castle mounds, manor houses, castles, parks and secular trees evidence the rich cultural history of the region, as well as making this region an attractive destination for anyone who is interested in architecture and art.

The most splendid eighteenth century Baroque and Rococo architectural monument in Latvia is Rundāle Palace, which was designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli and which is enclosed by a park which contains both French and rose gardens. Zemgale houses another masterpiece by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli -Jelgava Palace, the residence of the former dukes of Kurzeme and Zemgale. It is the largest rococo style palace in the Baltics and houses the castle museum.

Other important places of interest in Zemgale include Bauska and Mežotne castles, Classical fifteenth to eighteenth century architectural monuments, as well as the ancient Krustpils Castle. What’s more, when you visit Zemgale, be sure not to miss the neo-Gothic Augstkalne and Vecauce castles, Duchess Dorothy’s favourite -  Vircava Manor House - and also Blankenfelde Manor House in which even the French King Louis XVIII has resided.

Some architectural evidence from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries has also been preserved such as, for example, Koknese Castle ruins that are partly sunken in the River Daugava, and the ruins of Dobele Castle which was built by the Livonian Order.

Cities and towns

The old centre of Jelgava is the oldest part of the city to have survived the Second World War. This is the right place in which to feel the city’s atmosphere and to stroll along its streets. If you pay a visit to Jelgava, make sure you don’t miss the tower of Jelgava Holy Trinity Church.

Not far from the border with Lithuania, between the Mēmele and Mūsa rivers, the charming town of Bauska is located. Its oldest building is Bauska Holy Spirit Church.

Tourism Sights

It is really worthwhile paying a visit to Tērvete Nature Park which has more than a hundred wooden sculptures featuring heroes and heroines of the well-known fairy tale plays of Latvian writer, Anna Brigadere, which are an especial point of interest for children.

Near to Dobele is Pokaiņi Forest with its stories about the magical powers of boulders that are located in the forest, as well as the Tīreļpurvs and Ložmetējkalns, one of the best preserved First World War  battlefields in Europe, in which you can see memorial spots for the Christmas Battles.

Gastronomy

Zemgale’s women are known to be very hardworking and hospitable and have never lacked the skills to be able to provide a filling meal for their household and a good welcoming meal for their guests. Zemgale’s local foods are Karaša, or barley grout, and sour milk porridge, along with fish.

A trip to Zemgale will allow you to flip through the pages of history and to observe modern life alongside its historical antecedents.

Rundāles pils
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Rundale Palace and Museum

The Rundale Palace is set amidst the fertile Zemgale Plains in the south of Latvia. Most of the interior decorations were created between...
Viesnīca Mežotnes pils
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Mežotnes pils

A 4 star hotel is one the third floor of the palace. It features elegant rooms furnished in 19th century style – "Sleeping Beauty", "Rose...
Tervete Nature Park
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Tervete Nature Park

The Tervete Nature Park with its wooden sculptures, winding pathways, bridges and plankways spanning the valley of the Tervete River will...
Pokaiņu mežs
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Pokaiņi Forest

Pokaiņi Forest is an ancient, exceptionally powerful holy site with stone piles of various magnitude. It is a place of yet undiscovered...
Jelgava Palace
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Jelgava Palace

On an island between the Driksa and Lielupe rivers is Jelgava Palace, which was once the seat of the Duke of Courland and Zemgale, now home...
Blankenfeldes muiža
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Blankenfelde Manor

Blankenfelde Manor is located in a picturesque area of Vilce rural territory in Jelgava Municipality, almost near the very border of...
Bauska Castle
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Bauska Castle

Bauska Castle is situated on a picturesque spit of land where the Mūsa and Mēmele rivers converge into the Lielupe.
Koknese Castle ruins
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Koknese Castle ruins

Once upon a time, Koknese Castle stood majestically on a hill where the Perse River flows into the Daugava. Nowadays, after the...
Likteņdārzs
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Memorial Site "Liktendarzs"

With support of the entire Latvian nation a memorial site “Liktendarzs” (Garden of destinies) is being created on an island in Koknese....
Last updated: 
22.10.2015