One of the most popular tourist destinations in Jelgava is the palace built by architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, which currently houses the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies. This year, the renovated Jelgava Palace celebrates its 285th anniversary since its foundation stone was laid, and it is open to visitors during the summer tourism season from June 1st to August 31st.
The working hours of Jelgava Palace and Museum during the mentioned period on weekdays are from 9:00 to 17:00, on Saturdays from 9:00 to 18:00, and on Sundays from 11:00 to 16:00. The entrance fee for Jelgava Palace during the active tourism season is 3 euros for adults and 1 euro for students.
Jelgava Palace was once the residence of the Dukes of Courland and Semigallia and is the largest architectural monument in the Baltic States. It is the major early work of architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli and one of the few architectural landmarks in Jelgava that has survived to this day. The palace was built for the Duke of Courland and Semigallia, Ernst Johann Biron, in two construction periods (1738-1740) and (1762-1772), replacing the 13th-century Livonian Order castle. Notably, extensive restoration work was carried out on the palace, which concluded in 2020. The main goal of the restoration was to preserve the cultural and historical monument status of the palace, make its buildings energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Meanwhile, Jelgava Palace Museum was founded in 1968 and houses more than four thousand exhibits. Today, visitors can explore two permanent exhibitions that reflect the history of Jelgava Palace and higher agricultural education in Latvia. The museum researches the history, architecture, construction history, interior design, and arrangement of Jelgava Palace within the context of the history of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia and the history of Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (previously – Latvia University of Agriculture).
Visitors are also invited to visit the Dukes of Courland Tomb in Jelgava Palace. It is the largest burial site of its kind in Latvia and one of the few accessible burial places of ruling dynasties in the world. It contains 21 metal sarcophagi and nine wooden coffins, which have been the resting place for representatives of the Kettler and Biron dynasties from 1569 to 1791. Over the centuries, they have been repeatedly ravaged and looted, but now the Dukes of Courland Tomb has regained its original significance and has an outstanding appearance worthy of its historical and artistic heritage. The Tomb is open for visitors from Wednesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). The entrance fee is 3 euros for adults, 2 euros for students, and 1 euro for schoolchildren. For up-to-date information on the Tomb’s working hours, please refer to this link.
Attention, visitors! The city of Jelgava has started extensive renovation works aimed at improving the degraded areas of Pilssalas Street, which are planned to be completed in 2023. This means that the improvement works started in previous years will continue in Pilssala to develop it as an attractive environment for tourism and water sports. Access to the palace from the Lielupe side will be maintained, but pedestrians and motorists should be aware that moving along Jelgava Palace may be challenging during the renovation period. The pedestrian paths are planned to be fully restored in the summer. If you plan to visit as a group and arrive by bus, please note that parking near Jelgava Palace is prohibited. Bus parking is available at Pasta Sala.
In case of any questions, visitors are encouraged to contact the Director of Jelgava Palace Museum, by phone at 63005617 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.