Aizpute is the largest and oldest town in the vicinity of Liepaja. In our streets the past and the present meet, and the historical heritage gets along well with our days. Aizpute’s historic center with its wood architecture, which is rightly included in the European cultural heritage list, its truly a museum under the open sky.
In the 9th century Curonians built Beida castle at the site of the town, from which they governed the Aizpute region. In the 13th century Aizpute was a part of the Curonian land Bandava, which was subordinated to the Livonian Order and already in year 1248, the master of Order – Dietrich von Grüningen, ordered to build a stone castle of Aizpute. This year is considered to be the year of towns foundation. But soon, after the division of Kurzeme, Aizpute (know previously as Hasenpoth) was incorporated in the Kurzeme diocese.
The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, as a vassal state of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a small but active participant in colonial trade between the 16-18th Century, and although up until Latvian independence was part of the Russian Empire, there has been a sustained Baltic German influence, and a small but vigorous Jewish community.
The social demographic of Kurzeme (and so also Aizpute) was seriously affected both by Soviet and Nazi German occupations during and after WWII. The Jewish population was almost totally eliminated during the Nazi occupation, while the Soviet occupations expelled the Baltic German communities, and during the post-war Stalinist period, portions of the Latvian population were sent for up to 15 years to Siberia. From the 1950s onwards Aizpute hosted several industrial factories, collective agricultural farms (Kolkhoz) and sport facilities. In recent times, with the restoration of Latvian independence in the late 1980s, the town maintained its administrative role for the region, developed a regional history museum, as well as music and art schools in the town.
In the year 2009 as a result of counties reform Aizputes county was established, which includes Aizpute as center of county and five neighboring districts including Laža, Cīrava, Kazdanga, Kalvene and Aizpute district.