top of page
Līgatnes centrs

Līgatne - the city of 9 wonders

Līgatne papermill

The first and the last papermill in Latvia.

In the paper mill in the centre of present-day Līgatne, paper was produced by hand from around 1770.

1816. A new paper mill is built, which was later called "Handfabrik" or "Ānfabrika", because until 1830 paper was still made there by hand. The buildings are partially preserved today.

1830. "Vidusfabrika" or the main factory starts working. It operated until 2014 and the buildings are still in good condition.

1895. The factory continues to expand and completes the "Beiwerk" or lower factory. Its buildings have not survived to this day, only the chimney remains

Līgatnes papīrfabrikas vārti

Papermill water supply system

Ānafabrikas akvedukts

One of the reasons why the territory of present-day Līgatne was chosen for the construction of a papermill was the river Līgatne. Its rapid flow and clean water were ideal for paper production. In order to supply this water to the factory, a system of canals was built so that the water would flow in by a stream. The total length of this canal system was about 3 km. Its central element - the pond, still pleases us in the centre of Līgatne.

Narrow-gauge railway

Initially, all of the papermill's cargo transportation to Riga and back was carried out by horse-drawn carts. In the 1880s, the Riga-Petersburg railway was built, so now only 6 km had to be traveled by horse to Līgatne station. 

The first narrow-gauge railway in Līgatne was built in 1905 to connect Handfabrik with Main factory.

However, the railway from the factory to Līgatne station was built only in 1942. 

The railway operated daily until the end of 20th century. In the 90s, the factory was no longer financially able to maintain the tracks and dismantled them. Today we can see only the embankments where the railway used to be and in some places fragments of tracks have been preserved in the asphalt.

Līgatnes bānītis

Wooden houses of Līgatne

Skolas kalns Līgatnē

The most modern workers' village of the second half of the 19th century in Europe, now the only village of this type in Europe. For each family of workers in Līgatne, the factory gave an apartment with a separate entrance, consisting of a room, a kitchen, a pantry, and an attic space on the upper floor. Near the apartment is a flower garden surrounded by a wooden fence, further on is a garden for roots, a house for livestock. At the ends of the houses, larger (2-3 room) apartments for factory foremen. On the second or roof floor, there were small stove-rooms where unmarried workers lived. There was no charge for the apartment, electricity was free, firewood for heating was free. All these free privileges have existed until the end of World War 2.

The hills of Līgatne

When entering Līgatne, it seems - where is the village?

Līgatne is built on 6 hills:

Rīgaskalns hill with 3 residential houses;

Plučukalns hill with a secondary school and 2 houses;

Ķiberkalns hill with former stables, barns, horticulture and officials' houses;

Remdenkalns hill with the longest Līgatne's street - Gaujas street and many wooden houses;

Skolaskalns (School hill) with the former school building and another residential building;

Spriņģukalns hill - the only one with the construction of private houses.

The only flat place is the very centre of Līgatne - Zaķusala with 3 residential houses.

Rīgas kalna iezis

Līgatne caves


There are a total of 333 artificial caves or cellars in Līgatne. In many of these cellars, the people of Līgatne still store food and supplies for the winter. The caves maintain a constant temperature throughout the year, so vegetables are stored well.

In the caves of Remdenkalns hill, the paper factory stored paper during the Tsar's time to maintain the same humidity. 

Lusūzis rock is the only rock in the centre of Līgatne, where cellars on 2 floors can be viewed. People had even set up garages for their cars in the caves on the first floor. Currently, the Līgatne wine cellar is operating in one of these caves.

Līgatne river

Līgatne river is the fastest river of medium length in Latvia. It starts near Nītaure and flows into Gauja. Its length is 34 km, avg. drop 5.8m/km. There are many springs in the river, clean water, so a paper factory was built here.

Līgatnes upe

Līgatne ferry

Līgatnes pārceltuve

The ferry over Gauja in Līgatne is the only transfer of this type in the Baltics. 

In the end of 19th century, there were a total of 4 bridges over the Gauja river at the same time in the Līgatne area. The last bridge was a temporary bridge that was built next to the bridge that was blown up in World War 2. It was carried away by the flood waters a couple of years after construction.

In order for the workers to get to the factory from the other side, the paper factory built such a ferry, which still operates today and is still the only way across the Gauja river in Līgatne.

Sandstone outcrops - rocks

Gauja river valley - the deepest valley in the Baltics.

The terrain around Līgatne was formed about 300-400 million years ago. Likewise, Līgatne's most beautiful sandstone rocks - Lustūzis rock, Ānfabrika rock and Sprinģu rock. There are also many beautiful rocks without names in Līgatne and its surroundings.

Lustūzis rock is the main decoration of Līgatne. It is the only rock where the cellars are on 2 floors.

Ānfabrika rock is a 17m high rock that resembles a castle. 

The Spriņģu rock can be seen only from Gauja river. It is ~600m long, consists of 3 parts. The rock wall rises to the height of a 7-story house.

Ānfabrikas klints
bottom of page