The name of Dobele was first mentioned in historical records in 1254.
Town rights were conferred on Dobele in 1917.
In Dobele, the climate is particularly dry, warm and sunny if compared to other regions of Latvia.
The territory of Dobele Town covers 8 km
Ever since Dobele became an inhabited place on the banks of the Brze River in the western part of the Lowland of Zemgale, it has had many names. Dobelene, Doblen, and Добленъ are the different names used for Dobele within different periods.
The bustling nation of Zemgale with its fertile land was well known to marauders and merchants who frequently visited the mouth of the Lielupe River. Vikings, Lithuanians, Russians, Livs came to this land to plunder and burn Semigallian (the original inhabitants of Zemgale) farmsteads, and capture the people. To save their freedom Semigallians looked for allies. The years passed, some in peace, some in discord. In 1219 the first severe Semigallian collision with German crusaders took place: Semigallian governor Viestards fought against men encased in armour at Meotne. Semigallians feared that their freedom was in danger but crusaders were awed with such a fierce resistance.
From 1236 to 1250, there was relative peace in Zemgale but nothing had really changed because a couple of years later partitioning of Zemgale began among the Livonia Order, the Archbishop of Riga and the Riga Highest Church Council (Domakapitel – German). The name of Dobele was first mentioned in the historical record of 1254 – Zemgale Division Act.
Since then the name of Dobele has not disappeared from the history records, although many record years were full of pain and tears. When the Semigalliens’ adversities concluded activity, success and joy appeared. The construction of a church was begun in 1495, and a market place was established near it.
In the 17th century, under Duke Jacob’s reign, a saw-mill was built up, a water-mill, a cardigan-mill and a vinegar-works were functioning. In the 19th century the Jelgava – Maeii – Liepja railway was built. In 1870 the 1st Kurzeme Song Festival was held in Dobele.
During World War I the greater part of Dobele inhabitants left the town as refugees. Dobele was alternately in the hands of the Germans, bolsheviks, Bermont’s troops. Town rights were conferred on Dobele by the Provisional Government of Russia in 1917. The Dobele coat of arms was approved in 1925. Its design - a red field with a silver line in the proportion of the colours of the national flag, with a sword slantwise across it - symbolizes the heroic fighting by Semigallians. Ten years later the 3rd Dobele County Song Festival took place, during which the foundation stone was placed for the Dobele Liberation monument made by sculptor Krlis Zemdega. This monument was not to last long. In 1950 the soviet authorities destroyed it by blowing it up. Still before that, especially in 1945 and 1949, numerous people were exposed to repressions and deportations by the soviet regime.
Decades passed, generations changed, and so did the Town of Dobele. On 18th November 1988, the proclamation anniversary of the Republic of Latvia, the national red-white-red flag was hoisted above the Dobele Culture Club in the acknowledgement of Latvia’s rebirth of independence. In 1994 as a result of the execution of the inter-governmental agreement between Latvia and Russia the soviet army troops left Dobele. They had been settled on the edge of town since early 50ies, making Dobele a soviet military base. The symbol of the town, the Dobele Liberation monument, made by sculptor Krlis Zemdega, was unveiled in 1996 under reconstruction of sculptor Inta Berga and stone-cutter Librijs Pea.
Dobele is a district administrative centre. The town has about 11 thousand inhabitants. In Latvia and also abroad Dobele is famous for its biggest industries: Dobeles dzirnavnieks J/S, Tenax Ltd., Chemical factory „Spodrba” J/S, Baltic Candles Ltd., and indisputably also for the Dobele Horticulture Plant Breeding Experimental Station which is still called Uptis’ Garden by the populace, although for already several spring decades the garden has been blossoming out without its former master, selectionist Pteris Uptis. In various time periods the lives and work of other active and talented people like pastor and linguist August Bielenstein, authoress and painter Hilda Vka, philosopher Jlijs Students, chemist Mrti Straumanis, poetess Veronika Strlerte have also been connected with Dobele. In 2004 the name of Dobele became well known due to the success of the Dobele citizen, weight-lifter Viktors erbatihs - Viktors became a silver medallist at the Athens Olympic Games.
In Dobele like in other Latvian towns, there are several educational establishments: five comprehensive schools, including Dobele State Grammar School, four kindergartens, Music School and Art School, Vocational School and Adult Education Centre, Children and Youth Centre. There is Internet, a fantastic source of information, available to almost every Dobele citizen either at school, at work or home, and certainly in specific centres meant for this purpose.
Town festivals have become a tradition in Dobele. They are scheduled in the very middle of summer – in July when the light of the summer sun turns all the foliage green in this provincial town. Over the years Dobele has been regarded as one of the warmest and sunniest towns in Latvia. This belief has also been proved by meteorological data, so since 2003 the inhabitants of Dobele have been celebrating their festivals under the sign of the Sun.
n 2004 the figure 750 was to be added to this sign - exactly the number of the years that had passed since that early year of 1254 when the name of Dobele was first recorded in history.
Although in the summer of 2004 the sun was not particularly generous, there was lilac and chestnut again in blossom, and orchards were rich in cherry harvest in Dobele. The planned wall conservation works were going on in the Dobele Castle ruins. A new sanctuary, the Catholic All Saint Trinity Church of Dobele, was opened for population, but for the youth of Dobele a sports-ground with the foreign name – Skate-park – became part of their daily life.
In honour of the 750th Anniversary of Dobele a clock sculpture designed by architect Jnis Kuka was erected in the centre of town, and in front of the Town Hall, next to the flags of the Republic of Latvia and the European Union a newly fashioned flag of Dobele Town was hoisted up - for the Dobele citizens’ self-confidence, faith and future.
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