The Valmiera St. Simon’s Church is one of the most important monuments of medieval architecture in Latvia, with valuable art monuments – medieval tombstones, an altarpiece by the painter Karl Christian Fogel – Fogelstein, the chancel made in 1739, the organ of the famous European artist Friedrich Ladegast and others.
During the working hours of the church, visitors can climb the church tower, where on the way they can see both the church bell and the clock mechanism, as well as the small exhibition hall built into the tower, where one of the paintings “comes to life” when met by guests. The viewing area of the tower offers an impressive view of the town and the river Gauja, but if the sky is clear, you can even see the Zilaiskalns hill. If climbing high towers is not tempting, you can watch the panorama through an interactive screen in the church hall, which broadcasts live from the tower.
The construction of the church began in 1283, and to this day almost completely preserves the medieval appearance of the church.
Since the site of the church was consecrated and the foundation stone was laid on October 28, on Simon’s Day (“Simon’s day”), it was named in honor of this disciple of Christ.
As a reminder of the Livonian War, there are two stone bullets buried in the north wall of the church, which had destroyed the church. Meanwhile at the entrance to the church is a fragment of a chain of shame, to which people who had not obeyed the laws of their time were punished until the beginning of the 19th century.
In 1883. Jānis Neilands (1840-1915) became the first Latvian to be elected as the pastor of the St. Simons Church. He participated in the preparation of new editions of Bible and Vidzeme songbooks. A monument by the sculptor Andris Vārpa to commemorate this occurrence has been erected near the main building of the church..
The church is one of the stops on the Strenči-Valmiera section of the Camino Latvia route, where it is possible to receive both healing and a stamp in your Pilgrim’s passport.
TICKET PRICES FOR VISITS TO THE TOWER
- Adults 2 EUR
- Pupils, students and pensioners 0.50 EUR
- Family ticket 4 EUR (2 adults and children)