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Lielvārde (About this soundpronunciation ; German: Lennewarden), population 6328, is a town in Vidzeme, Latvia, the administrative centre of Lielvārde municipality on the right bank of the Daugava river, 52 km southeast of Riga.

Lielvārde Lutheran church
Lielvārde Lutheran church
Coat of arms of Lielvārde
Coat of arms
Lielvārde is located in Latvia
Location in Latvia
Coordinates: 56°42′N 24°50′E / 56.700°N 24.833°E / 56.700; 24.833
Country Latvia
DistrictOgre District
Town rights1992
 • MayorSanta Ločmale
 • Total10 km2 (4 sq mi)
 • Rural territory60 km2 (20 sq mi)
 • Total6,708
 • Density671/km2 (1,740/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Calling code+371 650


Prospect of Lennewarden on the Daugava river, 52 versts from Riga in 1792. From Johann Christoph Brotze's book Sammlung verschiedner Liefländischer Monumente.

The area was a contact zone between the Finnic Livonians and the Balts, and many prehistoric artifacts have been uncovered there. A Baltic hill-fort named Lennewarden being taken in fief by Albert of Buxhoeveden in 1201 is mentioned in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia. This site is called Dievukalns (Hill of the Gods) in Latvian. A stone castle was constructed by the Riga diocese in 1229; its ruins are still accessible today.

A parochial school was established when the area was part of Swedish Livonia, but ca. 70% of the population perished in the Great Plague of 1710. The opening of the Riga–Daugavpils Railway in 1861 led to the expansion of the town around the railway station Ringmundhofa later named Rembate. The town was entirely destroyed in World War I but was swiftly rebuilt after Latvia achieved independence.

After the occupation of Latvia and its incorporation into the Soviet Union as the Latvian SSR, Edgars Kauliņš (1903–1979), the local Communist Party secretary, was able to save all of the farmers in the district from deportation during the period of forced collectivization, declaring that there were no kulaks in the area and he would rather be deported himself. In 1948 Kauliņš became the founding chairman of the kolkhoz Lāčplēsis ("The Bear Slayer"), now part of Lielvārde. The kolkhoz became famous for its beer, still brewed in Lielvārde by AS Lāčplēša alus, part of the Scandinavian Royal Unibrew brewing group since 2005. Lielvārde air base was built by the Soviets in 1970; the largest in the Baltic States, it was taken over by the Latvian Air Force in 1994.

Cultural traditionsEdit

A. Pumpura Lielvārde museum

Lielvārde is renowned as the area that inspired the prominent Latvian poets Auseklis and Andrejs Pumpurs, author of the epic Lāčplēsis (The Bear Slayer, 1888), and for the Lielvārdes josta, a traditional woven belt with 22 ancient symbols. Portions of the belt's design are featured on Latvian banknotes, and its symbolism has inspired many artists and folklore enthusiasts, especially those associated with the pagan revival, dievturība.

See alsoEdit

Sketch of Lennewarden Castle (c1880)


  • Arveds Švābe, ed.: Latvju enciklopēdija. Stockholm: Trīs Zvaigznes, 1952-1953.
  • Guntis Zemītis, Ornaments un simbols Latvijas aizvēsturē. Rīga: Latvijas vēstures institūta apgāds, 2004. ISBN 9984-601-20-X
  • Ogres rajona pašvaldību vortāls. Retrieved 25. II. 2006.
  • James A. Brundage, The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1961.

Coordinates: 56°43′21″N 24°48′18″E / 56.72250°N 24.80500°E / 56.72250; 24.80500