Valmiera is the largest city in Vidzeme with active business, nature-friendly thinking, lively cultural and sports life, based on ancient traditions. Here the ancient meets the modern, the industrial meets the natural and therefore the residents and guests of the city feel good here.
The witness of Valmiera’s fate is Valmiera St. Sīmanis church, built in 1283. It is one of the oldest stone buildings in Latvia, which combines Romanesque and Gothic styles in its architecture. Measuring the path along the centuries-old stairs to the observation terrace of the church tower, a small exhibition gallery can be seen, but one of the paintings, feeling the presence of guests, begins a kind conversation.
Although the city has endured wars, it has been able to recover again and again. Much historical evidence is provided by the depths of the earth, with archaeologists still discovering ancient stories. But the guide that will bring into the world of Valmiera’s art and architecture can be seen here.
The forerunner of the Latvian state – the red-white-red flag – has been sewn in Valmiera. The red-white-red flag with the sun was sewn in 1916 by Marianna Strautmane, a teacher at the Valmiera Refugee Shelter, after her teacher, later her husband Jānis Lapiņš, and it was the first known Latvian national flag. During the 1917 Vidzeme Land Assembly, it solemnly fluttered over the building of the Valmiera Latvian Society, where important resolutions were passed, including on Latvia’s right to autonomy and right to self-determination. This flag can still be seen in the Cesis History and Art Museum. Meanwhile, nowadays it is possible for everyone to relive Valmiera’s “Freedom Story” by going on a special thematic route prepared by the Valmiera Tourism Information Center.
There is no doubt that Valmiera is one of the greenest cities in Vidzeme. It is said that Valmiera is an industrial city, which is actually a forest. Anyone who has climbed the tower of St. Sīmanis church during the greening or painting of the leaves or tried the Trail in the trees in the Gauja Steep Banks Park of Feelings, the finish of which is a flight over the Gauja, can see for sure. The city is decorated not only with oaks, willows, pines, larch, but also with lindens. It is also depicted in the coat of arms of Valmiera. You can be sure that we live green in Valmiera by going on the Green Valmiera or any other hike or bicycle route.
The most beautiful decoration of Valmiera is the river Gauja, which with its flow winds through the city, marking the beautiful landscapes and intertwining the dynamics of the city with the serious flow of nature. In just a few hours it is possible to measure a scenic walking route on the banks of the Gauja, which connects four bridges of Valmiera. In the summer season, the only river tram in Latvia – the Gauja tram – runs along the city’s main street.
Valmiera residents are great connoisseurs and admirers of art. Every year, in April, the Art days take place in Valmiera. They delight and inspire everyone by inviting them to enjoy the art that is created on the theater stage, in film directing, in music, even in business and on a plate, on canvas and in the urban environment. This is a time when well-known artists in Latvia even paint on benches in Valmiera. These works do not end up in exhibition halls, but have taken their place in the urban environment, and the footprints created during the Art days can be seen every day.
When the Art days are over, Valmiera invites you to go on a new adventure and enjoy a movie evening in cinemas, which at other times is a place that has little to do with cinema. And even more interesting – spectators come to these unusual cinemas by bicycle. This is the essence of the festival “Kino Pedālis” (“Cinema Pedal”).
Valmiera is the cradle of BMX sports, and here you can find the only monument in the world that depicts a BMX bicycle. Not far from it, in the summer of 2019, a newly built BMX cycling track was opened, named in honor of Valmiera resident, currently the only two-time Olympic BMX champion Māris Štrombergs. Shortly afterwards, athletes went on the track, during the high-level Latvian national championship and later also the European BMX cycling championship.
Both historically and nowadays there have been people in Valmiera, who, through their work, ideas and success, have been able to inspire fellow human beings as well as create positive change on a city, national and even global scale. For example, the company SIA “VALPRO” is the largest supplier of fuel cans to NATO armies. The fashion brand “Chanel” is also inspired by the design of the cans and has created such a bag in a golden tone. Meanwhile the fifth largest building in the world (“Lotte World Tower” in Seoul) uses fiberglass fabric produced by “Valmieras Glass grupa”.
Valmiera is a city that creates, inspires and invites visitors!
Information prepared by: Baiba Misiņa, Tourism informationa consultant Valmiera Tourism Information Centre, Mob. pho.: +37125770028