Valmiera St Simon’s Church
St Simon’s Church dates back to 1283, and its medieval build has survived until the modern day almost in full. The church boasts an array of valuable relics, including tombstones of distinguished citizens (15th and 16th centuries), an organ built by Friedrich Ladegast (1886), and delicate paintings in the pulpit and organ loft (1730). Visitors of the church tower can view the church bells and the tower’s clock mechanism. The renovated tower offers a beautiful panorama of Valmiera city.
Named after one of the apostles of Christ, Valmiera St Simon’s Church has survived the city’s ancient and dramatic history and with its well-preserved medieval structure and little-changed exterior remains one of the most prominent examples of sacral architecture in Latvia.
For the first three hundred years or so, the church hosted a Catholic congregation, however, it was taken over by Evangelical Lutherans after Vidzeme came under Swedish rule in the 17th century. The building was not used as a place of worship only during the Soviet era when it was renovated and converted into a branch of the local history museum.
St Simon’s Church has survived many wars and fires, with the heaviest damages caused during the Russian invasion of 1702, when the whole town was burnt down and only the walls of the church remained. All medieval works of art housed in the church perished at the time, too.
In 1883, Jānis Neilands (1840-1915), famous for helping prepare the new editions of the Bible and the Vidzeme songbook, became the first Latvian priest of St Simon’s parish.
Improvements made within the project
The project renovated the church’s interior on five floors. To improve accessibility, the church tower’s glass block wall was removed, the concrete staircase to the tower was replaced with a new wooden staircase; the clock mechanism was repaired, and two cracked church bells were restored. A new exhibition hall was set up in the renovated premises, while a permanent interactive exhibition was installed in the existing hall, which will be expanded and updated over time. The church received new electrical wiring and an upgraded fire safety system. The project also allowed the restoration of the church’s altarpiece depicting the Temptation of Christ, eight pulpit paintings and a historic hourglass.
Investments – EUR 167,423.65
ERDF funding – EUR 142,310.11
church congregation funding – EUR 25,113.54
The project was implemented by Valmiera St Simon’s congregation of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Bruņinieku Street 2, Valmiera.
Tuesday – Friday 11:00 – 18:00
Saturday 11:00 – 17:00
Sunday 10:00 – 13:00
Monday – closed
Tower admission fee:
- Adults EUR 2
- Pupils, students, pensioners (with a pensioner’s certificate) and people with disabilities EUR 0,50
- Family ticket EUR 4 ( 2 adults + 2 children)
- Larger groups are kindly requested to book tours ahead. Please contact the church coordinator to arrange your visit – Aldis Bērziņš (ph. +371 29413043).
The church is located in the heart of Valmiera city and can be accessed on foot from the central bus station, by car or by bike.
Good to know
The church is fully open to visitors. Visits to the church are free of charge. There is an admission fee for visiting the tower.
A virtual tour in 4 languages and a camera view of the city are available for those unable to climb the church tower.