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(formerly Segewold), a city (since 1962) in Riga Raion, Latvian SSR. Located on the Gauja River and the Riga-Pskov highway. Railroad station on the Riga-Valga line, 53 km northeast of Riga. Population, 9,200 (1975).
From the ninth to the 13th century, a settlement of Livs existed on the site of present-day Sigulda. In 1207 members of the Order of Knights of the Sword captured the settlement and built the stone Segewold Castle, which in the late 14th century became one of the local centers of the Livonian Order. A settlement sprang up around the castle. During the Livonian War of 1558–83, Sigulda was included in the possessions of the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom (1561–1629); after 1629 it belonged to Sweden. As a result of the Northern War of 1700–21, it passed to Russia. From 1714 to 1796 it was part of Riga Province, and from 1796 to 1917 part of Livonia Province. From 1920 to 1940, Sigulda was part of bourgeois Latvia; in the early 1920’s it received its present name, and it became a city in 1928. From July 1941 to Oct. 7, 1944, the city was occupied by fascist German troops.
Sigulda is the center of Gauja National Park and a center for tourism and winter sports. Souvenirs are manufactured in the city, which also has a museum of local lore. The surrounding area is Latvia’s most picturesque region. There are sanatoriums and a tourist center in the city. Ruins of several stone castles have been preserved. They include the Sigulda Castle on the left bank of the Gauja River (1207–09; reconstructed several times), Turaida Castle on the right bank (1214, reconstructed; the round tower has today been partially restored), and Krimulda Castle (mid-13th century; later enlarged). In modern times, a new public center has been constructed in Sigulda, including a department store (1962, architect V. Samtinja) and the Palace of Culture (1963, architect A. Titmane). A monument to A. Kronvalds (bronze, 1938; sculptor T. Zalkaln) is also located in the city.
REFERENCESVetra, R. Sigulda, 2nd ed. Riga, 1960.
Vetra, K.., and A. Velde, Sigulda. Riga, 1963.