Valmiera is the largest city
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 of the historical Vidzeme
Vidzeme is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. Literally meaning "the Middle Land" it is situated in north-central Latvia north of the Daugava River...

 region, 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...

, with a total area of 18.1 km². It is the center of the Valmiera District
Valmiera District
The Valmiera district was an administrative division of Latvia, located in the Vidzeme region, in the country's north-east. Its administrative center was Valmiera. It bordered Estonia to the north and the former districts of Limbaži to the west, Valka to the east and Cēsis to the south...

. As of 2002, Valmiera had a population of 27,323, and in 2008 – 27,569.

It lies at the crossroads of several important roads, 100 km to the north-east from 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,...

, the capital of Latvia, and 50 km south of the border with Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

. Valmiera lies on both banks of the Gauja
The Gauja is one of the longest rivers in Latvia, with a length of and a catchment area of . Its source is in the hills southeast of Cēsis. It first flows east and north and forms the border with Estonia for about . South of Valga and Valka, it turns west towards Valmiera, continuing southwest...



Valmiera and its surroundings have been one of the longest-inhabited regions of Latvia. Archeological evidence indicates the site was inhabited 9,000 years ago. Valmiera was first mentioned as a town in a chronicle dating back to 1323. The actual founding of the town probably occurred at least 40 years earlier when the master of the Livonian Order
Livonian Order
The Livonian Order was an autonomous Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order and a member of the Livonian Confederation from 1435–1561. After being defeated by Samogitians in the 1236 Battle of Schaulen , the remnants of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights...

 Wilken von Endorp constructed a castle (Wolmar) and Catholic church on the banks of the river Gauja. Valmiera was a member of the 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...

 from the 14th–16th centuries. Involvement in the Hansa brought significant trade and movement into the town’s life.

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...

 Valmiera was destroyed and burned down in 1702. Valmiera largely followed the history of northern Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...


The Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

Liepas is an air base located south of Valmiera, a city in Latvia. It was a former attack deployment base during the Cold War. Imagery on Google Earth shows that it has fallen into extreme disrepair....

 air base was located nearby.


Valmiera is the de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

cultural and administrative centre of Vidzeme. It is the only town in the region to have a professional theater, Valmieras teātris, which was established in 1919. In the 1990s, a regional college, Vidzemes Augstskola
Vidzemes Augstskola
Vidzemes augstskola enrolled its first students in the autumn of 1996. It was founded to promote economic, political and social development of the area by providing higher education in the Vidzeme Region of Latvia, and to counteract the brain drain that was occurring as youths left the area to...

, was established.

Valmiera's municipality has been involved a variety of projects to improve the quality of life in the region. One of the largest projects is creating a garbage control system in northern Vidzeme. A project for water supply development and the restoration of sewage systems is being realised to promote the modernisation of the economic system in Vidzeme. The improvement of the payment system, the construction of a thermoelectric station, and the building of a sports hall for the Olympic Centre are also being planned.

Valmiera is an important industrial centre. The dominating economic branches in Valmiera are the food industry (milk, meat, and grain), fibreglass production, metalworking, wood processing and furniture producing.

Twin towns — sister cities

Valmiera is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

Halle (Westf.)
Halle, North Rhine-Westphalia
Halle is a town in the German Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia and belongs to the district of Gütersloh....

, Germany (1994) Høje-Taastrup, Denmark (1995) Marly
Marly, Nord
Marly is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It is southeast of Valenciennes.-Heraldry:-References:*...

, France (1992) Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

, Russia (2001)
Solna Municipality
Solna Municipality is a municipality in Stockholm County in east central Sweden, located just north of the capital Stockholm. Its seat is located in the 'city' of Solna....

, Sweden (1991) Viljandi
Viljandi is a town and municipality in southern Estonia with a population of 19,150 . It is the capital of Viljandi County. The town was first mentioned in 1283, upon being granted its town charter by Wilhelm von Endorpe....

, Estonia (1992) Zduńska Wola
Zdunska Wola
Zduńska Wola is a town in central Poland with 44,671 inhabitants .Situated in the Łódź Voivodeship , previously in Sieradz Voivodeship . It is the seat of Zduńska Wola County.- Famous people from Zduńska Wola :...

, Poland (2002)
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