You are here
The magnificent Jelgava Palace, which can be seen from the bridge across the Lielupe River. At present, the Latvia University of Agriculture is located here, but earlier it was a residence of the Duke of Kurzeme. For some time, it provided shelter even to the King of France when he was a refugee.
Jelgava Palace history
The foundations of the current building were laid by the Duke of Kurzeme Ernst Johan Biron, who in 1737 ordered the Russian Court architect Rastrelli to design a new residence in the baroque style. Rastrelli also designed the famous Rundāle Palace, the Peterhof Palace and the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. In 1919, the Jelgava Palace was burned down by soldiers of the Bermont-Avalov army troops who fought against the independence of the young Latvian Republic.
The palace was restored, but later destroyed again in the flames of World War Two. After the war, the palace was restored and now the Latvia University of Agriculture is located here. Excavations have been done in the palace, during which coins, Dutch pipes, tiles and cast-iron columns have been found. Although the palace was handed over to students, the former owners rest in peace here as well – one of the palace buildings is the Dukes’ sepulchre, where 24 persons from the Ketlers dynasty and six persons from the Biron dynasty are buried.
This is also the burial place of the first Duke of Kurzeme Gothard Ketler – the sarcophagus made in 1587 that houses his remains is the most precious object in the sepulchre. The sepulchre has been restored and is open to visitors.
The Jelgava Palace Park was started in 1817 in the place of the former palace ramparts. The park set up on the palace island has romantic canals, bridges, palace buildings and the Governor’s islet, making it one of the most beautiful parks in Jelgava. Some old trees also grow in the park – horse chestnuts, an oak and a grey aspen.
Hot chocolate in Duke's residence
Jelgava Palace invites you to have some hot chocolate in the company of Duchess and court ladies.
Already in the 18th century hot chocolate drink was enjoyed in all European royal houses, also in Mītava.
The 21st century recipe of hot chocolate was invented by the Faculty of Food Technology of the Latvian University of Agriculture. Enjoying the chocolate visitors can also learn the secrets of construction of the largest Baltic Baroque palace, find out more about the daily life of dukes, as well as listen to breath-taking adventures of students.
Taste the sweet offer of Jelgava Palace together with family, friends or colleagues!
Entrance free - EUR 4.00 EUR per person. (Offer available to groups of at least 20 persons.)
To taste our special chocolate please call +371 63005617, [email protected]
Love letters from Dorothea
"Dorothea's Love Letter Workshop" is an educational programme for all ages, where Princess Dorothea of Courland and Zemgale will help guests create the atmosphere of the 19th century, explore the secrets of calligraphy and prepare a surprise for their loved ones by sending a letter written in Jelgava Palace in candlelight and sealed with the special seal lacquer. You can also write a letter to Dorothea, who will respond personally and give advice to questions concerning love.
Entrance free - EUR 3.00 EUR per person. (Offer available to groups of at least 15 persons.)
Please apply for the programme at least three days in advance calling + 371 63005617 or sending an e-mail to [email protected]
Jelgava can be conveniently reached from Riga (44 kilometres) by train, bus or car.
May 15 - August 31:
Adults - EUR 2,00
Pupils - EUR 1,00
September 1 - May 14:
Admission by donation