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a river in the Latvian SSR. Length, 460 km; basin area, 8,900 sq km. It originates in the Vidzem Highlands, where it flows through numerous lakes and empties into the Gulf of Riga. It is used to float timber. The cities of Strenči, Valmiera, Cēsis, and Sigulda are located on the Gauja. In the vicinity of Valmiera and Sigulda the river runs through a deeply etched and picturesque valley. The ruins of 13th- and 14th-century castles in Sigulda, Turaida, and Krimulda have been preserved.