Daugavpils (daugavpi:ls, ) is the second largest city in Latvia. It is located approximately 230 km south-east of the Latvian capital, Riga, on the banks of the Daugava River. Daugavpils has a favorable geographical position as it borders with Belarus and Lithuania (distances of 33 and 25 km respectively). It is located some 120 km from the Latvian border with Russia. The city is surrounded by many lakes.
Daugavpils has been referred to by several historical names in various languages.
Some are still in use today.
- Дзьвінск (Dźvinsk)
- Latgalian: Daugpiļs
- Dyneburg, Dźwinów, Dźwińsk, with Dyneburg the only name still in use in Polish today
- Даугавпилс, Борисоглебск (Borisoglebsk 1656–1667), Двинcк (Dvinsk)
- דינעבורג (Dineburg)
Here is chronology of name changes:
Dinaburg (1275–1893 with some interruptions) >>> Borisoglebsk (1656–1667) >>> Dvinsk (1893–1920) >>> Daugavpils (1920–TODAY)
As of 1 January 2006
, the city had a population of 108 260.
The town's history began in 1275 when the stone castle Dinaburg (Dünaburg
) was built by the Livonian Order
in the lands nominally controlled by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
. In 1561 it became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
(see: Duchy of Livonia
) and in 1620 became capital of the Inflanty Voivodeship
, which existed until the First Partition of Poland
Since 1784, the city had a large and active Jewish population with proeminent personalities.
As part of the Russian Empire it was called Borisoglebsk (1656-1667) and Dvinsk (1893-1920). The town was renamed Daugavpils in 1920 as part of independent Latvia. The city was the site of the Battle of Daugavpils from 1919 to 1920. Dvinsk was a part of Soviet Union 1940-41 and 1944-1991 and Nazi occupied from 1941-44. The town was the scene of fierce Jewish resistance during those years. During the Cold War it was the site of the Lotsaki air base, 12 km northeast of the town itself.
Art, architecture, and culture
Daugavpils is an important cultural center in eastern Latvia. There are 22 primary and secondary schools, four vocational schools, and the Saules College of Art. More than 1,000 teachers and engineers graduate from the Daugavpils Pedagogical University
and the local branch of the Riga Technical University
The city theatre was restored a couple of years ago. There are also one cinema theater and other cultural institutions. The city exhibition center offers many cultural activities.
There are also several architectural, historical, and cultural monuments in Daugavpils. The most prominent is the Daugavpils Fortress of the 18th century.
Daugavpils International Airport
is located 12 km northeast of Daugavpils
, near the village of Lociki
The airport is currently under development to allow both international and domestic passenger traffic, as well as international and domestic cargo transport and charter flights. It is expected to be operational by 2013.
- See also: Speedway Grand Prix of Latvia
The football clubs Dinaburg FC and FK Daugava Daugavpils play at Celtnieks Stadium in Daugavpils.
Le Parkour is also very poplar in Daugavpils. The famous parkour team, Dvinsk Clan started out on the streets of Daugavpils.
- Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (1843-1926), rabbi
- the Rogatchover Gaon (1858-1936), rabbi
- Abraham Isaac Kook (1864–1935), rabbi, thinker, statesman, diplomat, mediator, scholar
- Isser Harel
- Gotthard Kettler (1571-1587), last Master of the Livonian Order and the first Duke of Courland and Semigallia
- Gregory Fitelberg (1879-1953), composer and conductor
- Solomon Mikhoels (1890-1948), actor and director
- Mark Rothko (1903-1970), abstract expressionist painter
- Valdeslas Raginis (1908-1939), officer
- Ulyana Semenova (born 1952), basketball player
- Helge Forslas (born 1987), tracer