“From books and maps, it is well known that Kolka is the most remote place in our home country. It’s far away from all major traffic routes. Equally well known is that the soil there is sandy or swampy and covered by forests. Only a few people are living there, no more than three per square kilometre, and are mostly settling close to the shore, and are mostly busy with fishery. The people of Kolka spend their lives facing towards the sea and having their backs turned towards the land. Among them, and separated from the inland by this fence of forests, there is still living this handful of Livonians which are still surviving in our country. Scattered throughout the Blue Hills here, there are practically the only places in Latvia, where the European Taxus trees dwell. Consequently, because of the Livonians and the Taxus trees, this corner of Cape Kolka is a very specific spot.”


This is how the Latvian writer Wilis Weldre perceived and described Cape Kolka and the people living there, on one of his travels through Latvia. His description would still be valid as the introduction to a travel guide through the north of Courland and to Cape Kolka. Not very much has changed, since. Just that the roads leading to us are now better, and – consequently – Riga, our capital, seems to be closer. However, the remaining Livonians and their descendants continue to be living here, and are fully aware and proud of their ethnical heritage. And they would never think of turning their backs to the sea. The men are still into fishery and the women continue to process the catch. – And still, only a few people are living here; and still, the Taxus trees are thriving in the Blue Hills.

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And those are right, as well, who came to perceive Kolka, and the Cape itself, as a “large corner”: this is, because the name “Kolka” originally derives from the Estonian words “kolgas” and “kolk” as well, as from the Finnish word “kolkka”, all of which standing for “corner” (Ecke) in German. As the name for our township, Kolka only was used from the 18thcentury on. Until then it was called Domesnes, this name given by Scandinavian sailors and meaning “The nose of Thomas”.Kolka has been mentioned, under its previous name of Domesnes, in 1387. Around 1811 the township comprised of eight settlements with a total of 105 inhabitants; until 1826 this developed to nine settlements with only 99 inhabitants; in 1859 15 settlements and 316 inhabitants were counted; and finally, in 1896, the figures showed 32 settlements and 392 inhabitants.

Around mid 19thcentury, and caused by growth of regional economy, Kolka started to grow, as well. The township claimed an important position at the juncture of the “Big Sea” (the open, Baltic sea) and the “Small Sea” (the Bay of Riga). Most important buildings of that era are the Manor House, the Lutheran and Orthodox churches, buildings for the lighthouse personnel, and the border guard building, located close by the old lighthouse which was standing directly at the Cape until 1874

After the First World War Kolka counted a total of 27 settlements; and following then, during the period of the first Republic of Latvia, the number of local landowners increased to 90.

WW II and the following period within the Soviet Union had strong impacts on the face of Kolka. Soviet troops were permanently stationed along the entire coastline between Ventspils and Kolka and all civilian development in the area was stopped. A large and important fish processing plant was stationed in Kolka, comprising the factory itself and apartment blocks for its workforce. – Later on, after Latvia’s independence, this factory became home to a number of local fish processing enterprises giving employment to a sizeable number of local staff.