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Jelgava, the centre of former Kurzeme Duchy, is a hospitable city situated on the banks of the River Lielupe, only 40 km from Riga. It is a city which is both willing to and capable of receiving guests. It has architectural, cultural, historical and natural monuments as well as contemporary buildings and attractive recreation facilities.
Jelgava can cater to a wide array of wishes, be it relaxation, new impressions or cultural enrichment.
Jelgava is most willing to share its gems. Entertainment and recreational spots, muesums and cultural events are all there waiting for you!
It is no accident that Jelgava is called Zemgale’s Jewel. It is located in the very heart of Zemgale Plains — only 40 km from Riga, 46 km from Jūrmala and 55 km from Bauska, which makes it a suitable destination for a one-day visit or longer trips.
Jelgava is one of the oldest Latvian cities, the city rights were granted in 1573.
From 1578 until 1795, Jelgava Palace served as the main residence of Kurzeme and Zemgale dukes. Jelgava is also known by its historical name Mītava (Mitau).
Being the fourth largest city in Latvia, Jelgava has been an economic, educational and cultural centre of Zemgale region for many centuries. Metalworking, mechanical engineering and food industry are well-developed.
It is a city which is constantly changing and expanding while still being able to retain its historical heritage and mission. Growth is what characterises the city and its inhabitants best.
For city guests
Jelgava’s most beautiful and valuable sightseeing objects:
- Jelgava Holy Trinity Church Tower — every tour of Jelgava will be incomplete without visiting this most impressive sightseeing object. Here you will see three historical expositions with interactive elements, a sightseeing platform offering a panorama of the city and restaurant “La Tour de Marie”.
- Jelgava History and Art Museum of Gedert Elias — the museum’s exposition comprises turning points of the history of Jelgava and its vicinity all the way from antiquity up to nowadays. The most valuable part of the museum’s exhibition is the collection of paintings by Latvian master painter Ģederts Eliass (1887-1975). The museum offers exhibitions, educational programs and excursions for different age groups.
- Jelgava Palace Museum and Latvian University of Agriculture – the Jelgava Palace, designed by the famous Russian court architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, is the biggest architectural monument in the Baltic states. The museum explores the history, architecture, history of construction, interior and decor of the Jelgava Palace within the context of Kurzeme Duchy history of the same period. Upon previous appointment, the guests can enjoy cup of hot chocolate in the company of court ladies or visit ”Dorothea’s Love Letters’ Workshop".
- Lielupe floodmeadows — the island behind Jelgava Palace, part of the floodmeadows of the River Lielupe, is a pasture for more than 40 wild horses. The meadows have been granted the status of a Special Protection Area according to Natura 2000 network, due to their impressive variety of flora and fauna.
- Memorial Museum of Ādolfs Alunāns — the memorial house of Ādolfs Alunāns is a place where the father of Latvian theatre spent the last two years of his life in 1910-1912. His creative heritage, furniture, his library and the household items have been preserved. The museum also offers educational tours.
Jelgava and its vicinity is suitable for the adepts of active tourism. In summer everyone is welcome to take a bicycle ride around Jelgava and its closest surroundings, comfortable enough due to the cycling paths that have been laid out both in the city and its neighbouring districts.
Walking tours and hikes
Nature lovers can take a walk in the Lielupe floodmeadows and observe the wild horses grazing there. Springtime is perfect for visiting Svēte floodplain, which is a noteworthy resting and feeding spot for migratory birds.
In the vicinity of Jelgava there are several stables and horse breeding facilities offering horseback tours and riding lessons.
Go-cart competitions, paintball games as well as air balloon flights and gliders are available.
Culture and art
Jelgava has a very active cultural and art life, hosting theatre performances, concerts and art exhibitions.
Jelgava Holy Trinity Church Tower offers an opportunity for creative expression in its various creative workshops.
A popular recreational spot in Jelgava is the recently renovated Pasta sala (Post Island), offering among other things a playground for children and an open-air stage.
Water lovers can take a leisurely ride by boat or water bike along the Rivers Driksa or Lielupe, or relax on one of the city’s beaches.
Jelgava is easy to reach for any traveler going by car, train or bus. The city is connected to Riga by the A8 motorway and Riga–Jelgava railway.