|Viļaka (Eng.: Marienhausen)|
|Landscape:||Latgale (Latvian: Latgale)|
|Administrative District:||Viļakas novads|
|Residents:||1.407 (Jan. 1, 2016)|
|Population Density:||220 inhabitants per km²|
|City Law:||since 1945|
Viļaka (German: Marienhausen) is a town in northeastern Latvia on the Russian border. As of 2016, it had a population of 1,407.
The area near Lake Viļaka was settled by Latgalian tribes who were in dispute with Pleskau Russians and Estonian tribes. The Bishop of Riga became overlord in 1224. In 1293 he founded the monastery of Marienhausen for protection from the Pleskauer and for Christianization.
In 1559 the area of Marienhausen was pledged to King Sigismund II. August and thus belonged to Poland-Lithuania until 1772. During this time, Marienhausen Castle was captured and devastated several times by Russians and Swedes. Only with the Russian rule after the first Polish partition in 1772 calmer times returned.
When the area was incorporated into independent Latvia in 1920, some prosperity developed. Before the Second World War there were Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox parishes, a grammar school, two primary schools and a forestry school.
In mid-September 1936 Father Thomas came to Marienhausen to prepare another monastery foundation.
On 22 June 1944, the great Soviet summer offensive began. In two frontal sections, the Red Army overran the entire Baltic States in July and August, except for a German bridgehead in Courland, which held out until the end of the war. On 23 July 1944, after fighting, the Red Army defeated Kampfgruppe 218 near Marienhausen.
In 1945 Viļaka was granted the town charter.
Places of interest
The Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, consecrated in 1890, is an example of Gothic historicism.
Sons and daughters of the city
- Shabtai Daniel (1909-1981), Israeli journalist and politician
Since 2009, the town has formed an administrative community with 6 surrounding municipalities.
- Administrative division of Latvia
- Astrīda Iltnere (ed.): Latvijas Pagasti, Enciklopēdija. Preses Nams, Riga 2002, ISBN 9984-00-436-8.
– Collection of images, videos and audio files
- “Latvijas iedzīvotāju skaits pašvaldībās pagastu dalījumā”
- Wilfried Schlau, Tausend Jahre Nachbarschaft: Die Völker des baltischen Raumes und die Deutschen, ed. by Stiftung Ostdeutscher Kulturrat, Bruckmann, 1995, p. 242.
- Georg Steinhausen, Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, Böhlau Verlag, 1997, p. 148.