Text by Valdis Čeičs and photos by Solveiga Kaļva, www.solveigaspiedzivojumi.lv
The Ķemeri mud resort town history is tangled with the sulfur water that makes the town what it is nowadays. The name Ķemeri first time is mentioned in the 16th century. A household “Kemmeru” on the same place where is nowadays Ķemeri town. Back then already people knew about the healing properties of the sulfur springs near this house because the researchers have found different items that were offered to the spring as a gift for received healing. Also mentioned that the household has accommodated sick persons and the sulfur water was brought to them, but the first research about the sulfur spring healing properties was done only in the 19th century. The development of Ķemeri town started, when the nobles were coming here for healing and in 1836 the Russian emperor Nicholas I donated money to establish accommodations for the bathing facilities. Soon the railway station was built and in 1911 even the first direct trains from Moscow arrived. Ķemeri bloomed from a single household to a resort with magical water. During the World War I Ķemeri is the front line and the established facilities were burned. After the war the newly formed Latvian government re-built it all again and this time with even more modern facilities. The pride of Ķemeri was the so-called “The White Ship”, that was one of the most modern hotels in Europe at this time, that could accommodate more than 100 people. During World War II the buildings survived, but the Soviets nationalized it and continued to develop it. In the 1970-ties in Ķemeri were even 10 sanatoriums and more than 100 doctors treating patients in sulfur and sea mud baths. In the 1990ties the resort’s economy collapsed together with the Soviet Union. Nowadays Kemeri resort is in a re-built mode.
In the history of Ķemeri the wilderness has been spoiled by human activity, like peat industry, deforestation and wars, but nevertheless here still are Latvia’s biggest wetlands. Ķemeri has preserved its untouched nature and has never been highly populated because of its border land and regional nature. The woodpeckers love this territory because of the many fallen trees, where they can find food. Form 9 woodpecker species that live in Latvia 8 of them live here. To protect all of this in 1997 was established the Ķemeri National Park. It is an exciting place to walk around and to see the Ķemeri historical resort sites, lovely wooden architecture, wet broadleaf forest, Black Alder swamp, Green Dune and the Swamp of the Witches. One of the most popular destination is the Great Ķemeri Bog boardwalk, that takes the visitors to the world of moss, small pine trees, deep pools, tiny dark lakes, and the smell of wild rosemary.
Join our tour – Romantic town, green dune, bog and sulfur water in Kemeri
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