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Aleksupite Waterfall

Aleksupite Waterfall, May 2023
Aleksupite Waterfall, May 2023. / Gatis Pāvils, CC BY-SA 4.0

WorldBlue  In short

The tallest waterfall in the western part of Latvia – Kurzeme – is Aleksupite Waterfall. Today, it appears artificial – since the 17th century, the waterfall has been gradually reinforced and adapted for milling purposes. However, its foundation remains a genuine waterfall.

3.1 out of 10 stars 30.8%

GPS coordinates
56.9699 N 21.9752 E
Location, address
Europe, Latvia, Kurzeme, Kuldiga municipality, Kuldiga town, old watermill at Baznica Street
3.6-4 m (the natural part), 4.15 m (whole fall)
8-11 m
Name in Latvian, alternate names
Alekšupītes ūdenskritums
UNESCO World Heritage status
Part of "Old Town of Kuldīga", 2023, No. 1658

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Aleksupite Waterfall, April 2024
Aleksupite Waterfall, April 2024. / Gatis Pāvils, CC BY-SA 4.0

The central part of Kuldiga Town boasts exceptional beauty. Although the town’s history dates back to medieval times, most of its present historical structures are much younger, originating from the 18th to early 20th century. The town developed at Ventas Rumba, a waterfall where trading ships once had to halt.

Ventas Rumba holds the distinction of being the widest waterfall in Latvia (and, most likely, in the whole of Europe) – a remarkable and intriguing location. Yet, fewer visitors are aware that near this waterfall lies another one: the tallest waterfall in the western part of Latvia, Kurzeme.

Aleksupite Waterfall, situated at the mouth of a small river winding through the historical center of Kuldiga, has formed on the Devonian dolostone of the Plavinas Formation. It stands nearly vertical. The information about the height of waterfall is conflicting: some mention 4.15 m or slightly more, but, the natural waterfall is somewhat lower, 3.6-4 m high. Over it has been constructed a man-made elevation.

Below the main falls in the river, there is a smaller step measuring 0.1-0.3 meters in height. Some 70-80 meters downstream, Alekšupīte flows into the Venta River.

Over the centuries, the town harnessed the power of the cascading water by constructing a watermill next to the waterfall, even during medieval times. To prevent the natural erosion and gradual retreat of the waterfall against the stream, it was reinforced with concrete since the 17th century. Consequently, Aleksupite Waterfall has undergone gradual reconstruction and now resembles a man-made dam. The watermill adjacent to it was constructed in 1807 atop the remnants of the previous mill, but it is no longer operational.

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