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Old Town of Kandava


Kandava is one of the most beautiful provincial towns of Kurzeme where the ancient architecture has been saved. In several places in the Old Town the old cobblestone streets are preserved and special lanterns placed. The hilly topography and wonderful nature views make particularly romantic mood. The first time Kandava was mentioned in recorded history in 1230. Historians have discovered that the vicinity of Kandava had been inhabited since Early Roman Iron Age (2.-4.c.)


The Crusade went through Kandava. In order to secure movements the building of fortified stone wall castle was begun. In century 13th The Livonia Order built Vogt castle in Kandava. Next to the castle developed town of German craftsmen and traders with local market, workshops and church. Workshops and groceries were located around the Old Market Square. At that time there the main roads, later streets crossed and even today these streets are named Sabiles and Talsu. In 1625 Kandava was granted the rights of small village. After that Kandava bloomed becoming the market center of nearest surrounding area.


The pieces of timber were floated down the river Abava till the port of Ventspils, several small production units developed. The river Abava in times of Duke Jēkabs was used for sailing. Waters lapped present-day castle mound. In the beggining of 18th c. plague took the majority of inhabitants’ lifes and Kandava lost the status of center. Juridically the rights of town to Kandava was granted only in 1917.


The planning of the town is divided into two parts – on the left bank of river Abava there is the Old Town with a web of streets directed towards center, on the right bank – New Kandava.


In 20th c.Kandava was outlined against other provincial towns of Kurzeme with the major number of stone buildings. That special feeling of Old Town is formed thanks to closed inner courtyards and two-storied household buildings with galleries. At the end of 19th c. there were 9 hotels and inns in Kandava. Several buildings of hotels and inns with original thoroughfare built in 18th-19th c. are preser ved. On street Sabiles still you can find a hotel. Many buildings in Kandava are built in Neo-Gothic st yle, including society building, nowadays the House of Culture. Impressive landscape is the North part of street Lielā, called Vējspārns (the Windwing or the Wing of Wind). There many buildings on hillside are built in several levels. The old part of Talsu street still is cobblestone street with stone wall enclosure. The steepest slope of Lielā street – the Windwing – with its old cobblestone is very popular place for painters.


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