Main Catholic shrine in Latvia


Aglona (pop. 1000) is considered to be the holiest site of Latvia. At its center stands an imposing white Baroque church and monastery. They are surrounded by a large open grass field that fills with Catholic pilgrims every Virgin Mary Assumption day and Pentecost. The field has numerous religiously-themed sculptures.

Aglona Basilica
Aglona Basilica. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

This pilgrimage center was established in late 18th century by local counts when Latgale was still contested by Lutherans.

The expansion of Aglona’s religious edifices is still under way. A new Christ the King hill has been completed 3 km east of the church, merging the Christian theme with 21st century neo-folk and land art. It is a massive ensemble of totem-pole-like wooden sculptures, their sizes and positions telling many stories. Trees, flowers, ponds and a chapel also help to convey them.

Christ the King hill in Aglona
A fragment of Christ the King hill in Aglona. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.