Jelgava is the fourth largest city in Latvia. The ancient name Mītava, which comes from the words “mīt, change”, was used until 1940, when the official name Jelgava appeared in the documents. The beginning of the city dates back to 1265, when Konrad von Mandern, the master of the Livonian order, ordered the construction of the order’s palace on the island between Lielupi and Drix. Jelgava got city rights and a coat of arms in 1573, and its symbol – the moose – has been preserved in the coat of arms until today. Jelgava experienced prosperity during the Duchy of Kurzeme – Zemgale, becoming its capital, economic and cultural center. During the Second World War, most of the historical buildings of Jelgava were destroyed, but in the years after the war, architecture corresponding to that time was formed, nowadays the city combines ancient and modern. Jelgava is called the city of students, because Jelgava Castle is the home of the Agricultural University of Latvia. Not far from Jelgava Castle is the nature reserve Lielupe floodplain meadows, which has been granted the status of Natura 2000 as a specially protected natural area of European importance. Here you can find a significant diversity of plants and birds, and wild horses live here. Jelgava is a venue for international festivals – the Ice Sculpture and Sand Sculpture Festivals take place here every year, as well as a unique milk parcel boat regatta in Lielupe.


The Jelgava region is notable for its eventful history and significant cultural and historical values. One of the brightest pages of history tells about the times of the Duchy of Kurzeme-Zemgale and the barons, leaving as evidence the buildings of manors, where today guests can enjoy a leisurely rest, learn about history, attend events, celebrate weddings, enjoy the special atmosphere of each manor, as well as explore manor parks in various seasons.

The value of the county is its creative and enterprising people. Many outstanding personalities in science, politics, literature, art and culture were born and worked in the county.

In addition to the cultural and historical heritage, there is an opportunity to visit open farms with an offer that is binding for visitors of various ages and interests, as the vast territory of the county offers both animal viewing and the opportunity to get to know the work and production of home food producers and artisans.

Among the historically significant places, the Christmas Battles Museum should be highlighted, where you can get acquainted with the Christmas Battles that took place during the First World War. Not far from the Museum of Christmas Battles is the Ložmetējkalns observation tower, which offers a scenic view of the surrounding area. The oldest churches in the region – Lielvircava, Līvbērze, Kalnciem, Sesava, Zalenieki, etc. are also worth visiting.

Jelgava county is crossed by the second largest river in Latvia, the Lielupe, with approximately 20 tributaries. Rare species of plants, birds and animals can be found in the river bays and meadows, which indicate a clean environment. There are several Natura 2000 protected natural areas in the county.

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