The Daugava River is known as our river of destiny, the Daugava of our hearts, or our beloved mommy. It is a large and full-blooded artery of water that has flowed through our land and our history. The Vikings were aware of the river during the 5th century AD. Krāslava is the site of an ancient castle hill, and the fearless sailors were well aware of it in that downriver from it, the ships could sail with raised sails. It is known in Viking sagas as Dynasaiforgarðr.
Goods from the East sail down the river to Rīga, where it is reloaded into seafaring ships for delivery to Europe. That has been the case for many centuries. Many powers wanted to control and govern the process, as is seen in the large number of castle hills, castles and populated areas around the river’s banks. The majestic ruins of the Koknese Castle, Krustpils, the grassy and mighty castle hill at Aizkraukle, another one at Daugmale. The unique fortresses at Daugavgrīva and Daugavpils are like large keys that lock or unlock this mighty and ancient trade route. Under the water in the Daugava are the ruins of the ancient Ikšķile Castle that was built by St Maynard himself. It is seen as the first brick building in the Baltic States. Nearby is Death Island, where Latvian riflemen fought for the future of their country and their land, defending each square metre of land. The Daugava proved insurmountable for Bermont’s troops, and the riflemen defended Rīga successfully.
The curves of Daugava are unique. The village of Slutišķi is particularly known because the Daugava there is just like it has been in the past. The high dolomite shorelines and canyons that once made the Daugava unique in all of Northern Europe have now been lost in the reservoirs of hydroelectric power plants, as has the eternally weeping cliff of Staburags, the Liepavotu stream and the Pērse waterfall. The age of national renaissance in Latvia importantly began with a battle against the construction of another power plant on the Daugava, which would have fully destroyed the beauty of the noble river. We managed to protect it, if only a small part of it, but we succeeded. We must not stop!