Koknese is a historic town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 in Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, the administrative centre of Koknese municipality
Koknese municipality
Koknese municipality is a municipality in Vidzeme, Latvia. The municipality was formed in 2009 by merging Bebri parish, Irši parish and Koknese parish the administrative centre being Koknese.- References :...

 on the right bank of the Daugava River. It has a population of nearly 3,000.


The site of Koknese was originally a Latgalian
The term Latgalians The term Latgalians The term Latgalians (Latgalian: latgalīši, latgali, (also spelt Latgallians and sometimes known as Lettigalls, Latgolans, or Lettigallians) can refer to the inhabitants of the Latgale region in eastern Latvia in general, the ethnic Latvians of Latgale...

 and Selonian
Selonians were a tribe of Baltic peoples. The Selonians lived until the 15th century in Selonia, located in southeastern Latvia and northeastern Lithuania. They merged with neighbouring tribes, contributing to the ethnogenesis of Latvians and Lithuanians....

 settlement named Kukenois. By the late 12th century, the settlement of Koknese had fallen under the loose sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 of Principality of Polotsk as a tributary
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

A principality is a monarchical feudatory or sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or princess, or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince....


At the beginning of the 13th century, the crusading
Northern Crusades
The Northern Crusades or Baltic Crusades were crusades undertaken by the Christian kings of Denmark and Sweden, the German Livonian and Teutonic military orders, and their allies against the pagan peoples of Northern Europe around the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea...

 Livonian Brothers of the Sword
Livonian Brothers of the Sword
The Livonian Brothers of the Sword were a military order founded by Bishop Albert of Riga in 1202. Pope Innocent III sanctioned the establishment in 1204. The membership of the order comprised German "warrior monks"...

 led by Bishop Albert of Buxhoeveden of Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

 began to occupy the shores of the Gulf of Riga
Gulf of Riga
The Gulf of Riga, or Bay of Riga, is a bay of the Baltic Sea between Latvia and Estonia. According to C.Michael Hogan, a saline stratification layer is found at a depth of approximately seventy metres....

. By 1205 in return for protection against Lithuanians and Polotsk, the Orthodox Church prince Vyachko (Vetseka) of Koknese gave half of his land to Albert. By 1209 Koknese had been taken over by the Order, whereupon Albert ordered the construction of a stone castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

 where the Daugava meets the Pērse river to replace the wooden fortification of the Latvians. The formal sovereignty of Polotsk was finally revoked in 1215. The Order then controlled the town until its transference in 1238 to the bishops of Riga. The town became the summer residence of the Archbishop of Riga in 1420 and the primary residence in the 16th century.

The castle was frequently a source of dispute between the bishops and the von Tiesenhausen family, which it had been granted to as a fief in 1269. They were supported by the Teutonic Order
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

, as noble possession of the castle weakened the power of their rivals in the bishopric.

The town, known in German as Kokenhusen, received its town privileges
Town privileges
Town privileges or city rights were important features of European towns during most of the second millennium.Judicially, a town was distinguished from the surrounding land by means of a charter from the ruling monarch that defined its privileges and laws. Common privileges were related to trading...

 in 1277. During the 14th century, Koknese flourished as part of the mercantile Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

. Archbishop John V of Wallenrodt was able to resolve the conflict with the Teutonic Order and restore the territory to the church in 1397.

During the Livonian War
Livonian War
The Livonian War was fought for control of Old Livonia in the territory of present-day Estonia and Latvia when the Tsardom of Russia faced a varying coalition of Denmark–Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.During the period 1558–1578,...

, Koknese was taken by Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 in 1561, which named the town Kokenhuza. Although Russian
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 forces captured the town, it was recovered by Polish
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 forces. During the 17th century Polish–Swedish wars, the town was repeatedly contested. It was the site of the Battle of Kokenhausen
Battle of Kokenhausen
The Battle of Kokenhausen was a major battle opening the Polish–Swedish War . It took place on the 23 June 1601 near Koknese in Livonia . In the battle, Polish forces defeated the Swedish relief force and captured the besieging force, relieving the Polish garrison...

 in 1601, in which the hussar
Hussar refers to a number of types of light cavalry which originated in Hungary in the 14th century, tracing its roots from Serbian medieval cavalry tradition, brought to Hungary in the course of the Serb migrations, which began in the late 14th century....

s of the Polish cavalry
Polish cavalry
The Polish cavalry can trace its origins back to the days of Medieval mounted knights. Poland had always been a country of flatlands and fields and mounted forces operate well in this environment...

 defeated their numerically greater Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 adversaries. However, the town became part of the Dominions of Sweden
Dominions of Sweden
The Dominions of Sweden or Svenska besittningar were territories that historically came under control of the Swedish Crown, but never became fully integrated with Sweden. This generally meant that they were ruled by Governors-General under the Swedish monarch, but within certain limits retained...

 in 1629 and was refortified by the Swedes.

During the Russo-Swedish War (1656–1658) the main Russian forces marched along the bank of the Daugava towards Riga, taking Koknese on their way and renaming it to Tsarevich-Dmitriev. All vessels constructed in a shipyard of Koknese founded by the voivode Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin
Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin
Afanasy Lavrentievich Ordin-Naschokin was one of the greatest Russian statesmen of the 17th century. His career is quite unprecedented in Russian history, as he was the first petty noble to attain the boyar title and highest offices of state owing not to family connections but due to his personal...

) were used for the siege of Riga (1656)
Siege of Riga (1656)
Siege of Riga by the Russian Army under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich was the main event of the Russo-Swedish War . The fortifications of Riga consisted of a wall with ditch and 5 bastions around the old town. In 1652 Swedes had started construction of a new wall with 12 bastions around suburbs, but by...

 and later destroyed according to the Treaty of Cardis
Treaty of Cardis
The Treaty of Cardis was a peace settlement made in 1661 between Tsardom of Russia and the Swedish Empire. This particular agreement ended the Russo–Swedish War . It took place in Cardis Manor in Estonia. Based on the terms of the treaty, Russia surrendered to Sweden all captured territories...

 in 1661.

During the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

 the castle was conquered by Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

 in 1700 and destroyed by the Saxons when they were forced to retreat before the Swedes in 1701. By war's end Kokenhusen was incorporated into Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 with the rest of Livonia. Although the Russians had been calling it Kukeinos from the 13th century, they chose to keep the German name.
A railway line running through Koknese was completed by 1861, allowing the town to become a recreational site. The Baltic German von Löwenstern family constructed a Neo-Renaissance
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 manor castle which was completed in 1894; however, it burned down during the 1905 Russian Revolution.

After Latvian independence from Russia and Germany was declared after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, a hill in the town was dubbed "Professor's Hill" owing to its popularity as a meeting place for intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

. By then the town was known by the Latvian name Koknese.

The Plavinas Hydro Power Plant was commissioned near the town in 1966. Its construction left the foundation of the castle ruins underwater.


The Latvian playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

 Rūdolfs Blaumanis
Rudolfs Blaumanis
Rūdolfs Blaumanis was a Latvian writer, journalist and playwright. He is considered one of the greatest writers in Latvian history and particularly a master of realism...

 lived in the town during the 1880s.
Koknese is a participant in the New Hanseatic League, an association with the goal of developing the economy and tourism of its constituent cities.

The Coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 of Koknese depicts a boat, a key, and a crosier
A crosier is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran and Pentecostal prelates...



The Koknese Manor Park
A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by...

, located over parts of the medieval town and castle ruins, contains the tallest wooden sculpture in the country. The structure, built by Ģirts Burvis, was opened in 2002 to commemorate the 725th anniversary
An anniversary is a day that commemorates or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event...

of the town's foundation.

External links

Municipal website
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