Gauja National Park

The biggest NP in Latvia (920 square km) founded in 1973. Its situated on the banks of Gauja river, 60 km long and some 10 to 30 km wide. Marvelous combination of nature (forests, rivers, caves) and cultural sights (cities of Sigulda, Cesis, Valmiera, castles of Sigulda, Krimulda, Turaida). Quite good and cheap railway connection with Riga.

Cesis: 20000 inhabitants, fonunded 1205; the oldest North-European brewery (1590); ruin of medieval castle; Chateau Jauna pils with a museum; large gothic church of St. John.

Sigulda: 12000 inhabitants, name from Segewald (castle of German crusaders, you can visit the ruins). Pseudo-gothic Jauna pils nearby. Picturesque Lutheran church from 1750. You can reach the other bank by cableway (40m above the river) and visit the castle of Turaida (1214) built from red bricks on the place of former wodden fort. Between Sigulda and Turaida you may see the Gutmana cave, the biggest in Baltic, with old scraped signs.

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