Part of Jurmala, connected with the rest of Jurmala and Riga by and electric railway and the Riga-Ventspils highway. 44 km from Riga.
Historically the Kemeri territory has for many years been part of Kurzeme (part of the Kurzeme duchy), whilst the rest of Jurmala formed part of the province of Vidzeme and was strongly influenced by Riga in its development.
Kemeri is situated 6 km from the sea, it lies in the midst of lakes and swamps, rich in sulfuric springs. Its development is accordingly connected with the medicinal properties of the sulfuric water contained in the swamps. These properties have been known already in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century among the local population who used the "Holy springs" for medical purposes. Peoplefrom the higher circles of Kurzeme used to come here to get rid of their illnesses. They were received by the foresters and were put up in their houses and bathe in the healing water brought from the swamps. One of the foresters was called Kemers, and the swamp, later also the place were name after him.
There are more than 30 springs with sulfuric water in the Kemeri health resort as well a lot of medicinal peat and sapropelic mud (in the Kanieru lake). In 1997 the Kemeri National Park was established.
The mineral waters of Kemeri were first analyzed chemically in Petersburg, in 1801. They were later investigated by D.Grindel, who published his results. The first state bathing establishment was opened in 1838 on state-owned ground granted by Tsar Nikolai I for sulfur-containing water treatment. That year may be considered as the year of the foundation of the health resort. We see thus, that Kemeri developed from the very beginning as a balneological resort, the care of which was undertaken by the state. The Kemeri resort was a rather popular one in the Russian Empire. In 1912 a direct railway link was created between Moscow and Kemeri. The connection with the beach of Jaunkemeri was provided by means of an electric street car.
During World War I the district of Kemeri and the Tireli swamp was the scene of active military activity (the Latvian riflemen fought against the troops of Bermont there), and the resort was destroyed. However, life came back into tha place pretty soon. In 1928 town status was bestowed on Kemeri. Alongside with Sigulda it became a place favoured by the inhabitants of Riga as a resting place.
In the thirties large-scale building improvement work was carried out. In 1936 the Kemeri hotel was opened (architect E.Laube, which became popular not only in Latvia, but also abroad. Members of the Swedish royal family lived there during the thirties.
During Soviet rule the hotel was transformed into a sanatorium with 300 places. Nerve disease, as well as diseases of joints, bones and muscles were treated there. There was a total of almost 10 sanatoriums with about 100 doctors. A resort polyclinic offering treatment with sulphuring water and mud baths also functioned.
An electrified railway line to Kemeri was opened in October 1951.Kemeri stopped being a town in 1959, becoming a part of Jurmala. A resort-house, a concert platform, a cinema, and a library functioned at present the popularity of Kemeri has diminished. The building of the large sanatorium is under reconstruction. There is also a middle school in Kemeri.
The health resort of Kemeri with its specialized buildings is strictly separated from the part inhabited by constant residents. The latter looks rather like a village of summerhouses, with single-family cottages in the midst of gardens.
ARCHITECTURAL LANDMARKS IN KEMERI
The Kemeri park
is formed as a landscape park, with winding footpaths and corresponding architectural elements - pavilions, rotondas, bridges, artificial canals connected with the Vershupite rivulet. The first stage of formation of the park dates back to 1851-1861. It was shaped by the gardener M.Wagner. Along the rivulet and the canals one could row in small boats. Locks were used for regulating the water level.
During the years of the First Republic of Latvia the Kemeri hotel was included into the park. The park was widened in the direction of the Slokas lake. During the thirties the total length of the footpaths reached 15 km. The park boasts of many trees exceeding hundred years and more in age, among them oaks, pines, maples, firs and others.
The park contains also some monuments in memory of the founders and first doctors of the Kemeri resort, as well of the soldiers killed in the two world wars, as well as a wooden Greek Orthodox church.
In the south-eastern corner the complex of the medicinal buildings is situated. The oldest of them is a wooden bath shed built at the end of the 19th century. It was joined in 1924 with the mud bath complex designed by the architect E.Stalberg (1883-1967).
The Kemeri hotel, 28, E. Darzina street, (inside the Kemeri park).
Built in 1936. Architect E.Laube (1880-1967).
A five-storeyed building with roof terraces and a turret in the centre. Elements of classicism have amply used in the design - columns, balustrades, pilasters, and cornices.
The former interior of the thirties has partly remained untouched, such as furniture, pieces of art, arrangement of the premises. The library has remained particularly well intact. The arrangement of the landscape part is rather impressive, and the whole building makes a majestic impression ("the white ship", as it is frequently called).
The restaurant "Jautrais ods" ("The merry mosquito"), 15, Turistu street.
Built in 1933, architect F.Skuyinsh (1890-1957). Combined wood and stone construction. Stylised elements using folk art motives, reed roof. A good example of national romanticism style architecture. During Soviet rule a children's sanatorium used to be here. At present the building houses the administration of the Kemeri national park. Several elements of the initial interior have remained intact, such as stained glass windows, stoves and decorative fragments.
The Kemeri Lutheran church, 18, A.Upisha street.
Built in 1897 in historical architectural tradition, close to neo-Gothic in style. Architect H.Scheel (1829 - 1901). Narrow windows and arched doors, buttresses. reminding of medieval buildings. Contains an altar painting by I.Zeberinsh "Christ healing the sick" (1943), and a memorial plaque in memory of Kemeri inhabitants killed in the fights for freedom.