The first bridge over the Gauja river was built in 1937 as difficult technical construction for that time, but soon after war it was destroyed. The existing bridge was restored in 1950. The Sigulda Gauja Bridge is the only monolithic reinforced concrete bridge in Latvia that is based on three circle arches 35 meters wide. The total length of the bridge is 153 meters and the height above the river is over 16 meters.
Until 1937, all pedestrians, horse-drawn carriages, and random automobiles were taken across by ferry. Data shows that in 1862, in preparation for the visit of Russian Tzar Alexander II, a wooden summer bridge was built over the Gauja River. The ferry was located about 1 km/ 0.6 miles upstream. However, the ferry was not able to accommodate all who needed to use it and it was also closed during the winter and spring ice flow. Therefore, a decision was made to build a bridge over the Gauja River near Sigulda.
The idea of a bridge was conceived back in the twenties but, for various reasons, was delayed. The engineer Tomel designed the bridge and, at the time of his death in 1936, the bridge foundation and supports had been completed. Further work on the bridge was done by professor Karlis Gailis, but the design of structural supports was entrusted to an engineer, Professor Pavils Pavulans. The bridge was opened on July 23rd, 1937. In attendance were President Karlis Ulmanis, Minister of Transportation Bernhard Einberg, and thousands of viewers.
The bridge was blessed by both Pastor Baumanis of Krimulda church and Pastor Brederman of Sigulda church. During the first period of Latvian independence, the bridge was depicted on the 5 lats banknote.
Unfortunately, the bridge was short-lived. Four years later in 1941 it was blown up and destroyed by the retreating Soviet army. For the next nine years, there was no bridge over the Gauja River and transportation was again by ferry. The bridge was rebuilt in the same place in 1950. There was a shortage of both supplies and transportation. Rocks were chiseled on the building site at the same time the remaining pieces of the previous bridge were removed. Normally, there were about 50-60 people working at the site however, during peak hours when concrete was poured, there were nearly 700 people working at a time. The reopening of the bridge was a cause for real celebration among Siguldians.
In 2017 bridge was renovated. Now it has a new hydro-isolation and new asphalt cover. The bridge has enlarged sidewalks (formerly one meter wide, now – 2.5 m) so that it is easy to use for disabled persons and parents with prams.
The bridge now offers a secure connection between the roads from Sigulda to Turaida, but you may want to choose any of the trails alongside the Gauja River to experience the primeval beauty of the valley