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Trip PlannerEurope  /  Latvia  /  Riga Region  /  Salaspils


Historic Sites · Gardens · Specialty Museums
Salaspils is a town in Latvia, the administrative centre of Salaspils municipality. The town is situated on the northern bank of the Daugava River 18 kilometers to the south-east of the city of Riga.HistorySalaspils is one of the oldest settlements in Latvia. Archaeological excavations of 1964-1975 (during the construction of Riga HES) in ancient settlements, burial grounds and castle mounds give evidence of very dense population of the region. At this time, the remains of 11,000-year-old reindeer hunters were found (the oldest known human settlement in all of Latvia) and 3500-year-old remains of Baltic hunters, buried in hollowed out oak-tree trunks, were found as well. There is evidence that both Livs and Balts built hill forts in the region.At the end of the 12th century, German merchants travelled up the Daugava, establishing missionaries among the Livonian settlements. One important centre of Daugava Livonians, the small island Mārtiņsala (German:Kircholm) had a Christian church as early as 1186. So began the Christianizing and gradual subjection of the local Livonian tribes. In 1206, in the early phases of the Livonian Crusade, the Livonian chieftain Ako organized the first revolt against the German crusaders but suffered defeat.The Latvian name of the Salaspils "island castle" is probably derived from Mārtiņsala Island castle, but the Germanized name Kircholm – from the Mārtiņsala Island church. Both names were used when referring to the territory on the northern bank of the Daugava.
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