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The Gulbene district and surround Gulbene region are located in North-eastern Latvia and share borders with the Aluksne[?], Balvi[?], Madona[?], Cesis and Valka[?] regions.

This region's area is 1,873 sq. km, with a population of 29,797 inhabitants (10,015 Urban, 19,782 Rural population).

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History Historical documents first mention in 1224 the land division act between the Order of the Brothers of Swords and the Bishop of Riga. In the 14th century the Archbishop of Riga built a stone wall castle around which a populated area was formed.

After the construction of the Stukmani - Valka narrow-gauge railway in 1903 and subsequent broad-gauge line construction during World War I, Vecgulbene established itself as an important railway junction, and in 1920 it was given the rights of a small village. During the first independence of Latvia, beside those employed by the railways, small entrepreneurs, traders and craftsmen were economically most active in the city. After World War II, during Soviet occupation, Gulbene initially was a district, but later, since 1950 - a regional centre. In the 60s and 70s branches of several major industrial companies were established in the city. Local enterprises were mainly involved with wood processing.

The most architecturally significant building in the area is the passenger building at Gulbene railway station, built in 1926 to the design of the well-known professor of architecture Peteris Feders[?] (1868 - 1936). It is one of the largest and most magnificent railway station buildings in Latvia, of which the inhabitants of Gulbene are still proud today.

Vecgulbene estate complex was built in the middle and second half of the 19th century. The most significant buildings are the White Palace (Brivibas St. 12), the Red Palace (Parka St. 1) and the magazine granary (Brivibas St. 9). Both palaces have been destroyed and rebuilt several times. Since 1924 the elementary school of the city occupies the Red Palace.

The Evangelistic Lutheran church of Gulbene (Brivibas St. 13) was built on the ancient Latgalian castle mound in place of the later Middle Age brick castle from 1838 - 1843. The church is built in the Classical style.

Geography There is one major city in the Gulbene Region and the whole region's territory is separated into 13 smaller rural parishes or communes. Gulbene is the centre of the Gulbene Region. In line with the development plans of the city Gulbene is being built as an environmentally-friendly territory.



The Gulbene Region's biggest rivers (Gauja, Tirza and Pededze) are currently popular locations for nature tourism and watersports, but once these were famous places for harvesting river-pearls. Cycling is enjoyed on comfortable local country-paths.


Cultural and historical monuments show the rich heritage of local development. Many objects show the history of technical invention in the area, including wind and watermills and narrow-gauge railways.

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