Gardens and parks
Jelgava Palace park
The Palace park started to form in 1817 in the place of the ramparts of the previous castle. The park on Palace island has romantic canals, bridges, palace buildings, and the Governors island which makes it one of the scenic parks in Jelgava. You can find secular trees in the park - two Horse-chestnuts, Pedunculate Oak aqnd a Tower Poplar. There once was the Palace Theatre building (built in 1913) on the right side of Riga road right next to Driksa river but it was destroyed in World War II. Now the only thing remaining of it is a decorative park vase.
The central element of the park is the monument Lāčplēsis - the simbol of Latvian fight for freedom and liberation of Jelgava in 1919 - which was rebuilt in 1992 after half a century of absence. It was destroyed in World War II and was not restored during Soviet reign because of ideological reasons. There is also a white cross in the park commemorating the victims of Red Terror in 1919. There is also a communist built monument to the Red Army liberators and bomb shelters - remnants of the Cold War.
Rainis park is a popular place for a strole or a rest from the busy days because of its location in the very heart of Jelgava. There is a bust by the sculptor Kārlis Zemdegs of the great Latvian poet and writer Rainis in the centre of the park. It is the place where the annual poetry days take place. The Children and Youth centre "Junda" is also in the park and there is a school across the street so the park is always buzzing with the energy of youth.
Duke Jacob square
After World War II a decision was made to create a central city square in place of the ruins of Jelgava marketplace and the buildings around it. The marketplace was relocated nearer river Driksa - to a place which is outside the limits of medieval Jelgava (then also called Mitau) not far from Uzvaras park.
Mātera street garden
The garden on the corner of Mātera (Juris Māters was a prominent Latvian writer and Journalist from Jelgava) and Vaļņu (Latvian for rampart) street is where the fortifications of medieval Jelgava once were. The fortifications built during the rule of Duke Jacob were encircled by a moat which in time got choked and in times of hot weather reeked unpleasently. Its German name was "Faulen Teich" (the faul pond) but Latvians called it phonetically alike - Paula dīķis (Paul's pond). In the beginning of 20th century the city decided to tear down the fortifications and fill up the moat as well as Paul's pond. St. Nikolai's church and the garden appeared in time in the pond's place. However St. Nikolai's church was burnt down in World War II and the Soviet Union being an atheist state had no interest in restoring it therefore it was demolished.
At the old crossroads of Jelgava-Riga and Kalnciems roads trees were planted in 1936. Amid birches and oaks is the Oak of Unity that was planted with the help of general Jānis Balodis. Svētbirze (or holy bosk in English) has become a gathering place for the politically repressed people from Jelgava and their relatives in events commemorating the victims of repression.
The park was formerly a cemetery of St. John's church (called John's cemtery) accross the street from it. The only grave that remains is the memorial by Burkards Dzenis of the founder of Latvian theater Ādolfs Alunāns. There is also a monument to one of the enthusiasts of Latvian Awekening and the founder of the Latvian Society, a writer and a publicist, Juris Māters who also was buried in John's cemetery.
Ozolpils (Latvian for Oak Manor) has not survived to this day but the park is partially privately owned now. It has the highest density of secular trees in Jelgava - there are eight oaks, four larches, two eastern white pines and a lime tree.
It is hard to miss Valdeka Manor driving down Riga street. It was built in the 18th century by Baron von Reke to serve as a hunting house with a small park.
next to the park and some of the worker hoses as well as the house of the factory manager have survived both wars and are in the park.
The park lies alongside Rūpniecības street. Grebner the founder and owner of an oilcloth factory in Jelgava before World War I. The factory building is still next to the park and some of the worker hoses as well as the house of the factory manager have survived both wars and are in the park.
The park was originally the garden of "Villa Medem". During the times of Peoples Front of Latvia it was called the local Hyde Park because all the biggest rallies of the Awakening. Since it was reconstructed in 2007 many concerts and international festivals, such as the annual sand sculpture festival "Summer Signs".