The city is surrounded by many lakes and nature parks. It is also known for its overwhelmingly Russian-speaking population.
Historically, several names in various languages have identified Daugavpils. Some are still in use today.Belarusian: Даўгаўпілс (Daŭhaŭpils), Дзвінск (Dzvinsk), historically Дынабург (Dynaburh)
Polish: Dyneburg, Dźwinów, Dźwińsk
Russian: Даугавпилс, Невгин (Nevgin), Динабург (Dinaburg), Борисоглебск (Borisoglebsk 1656–1667), Двинcк (Dvinsk)
Yiddish: דענענבורג (Denenburg), Yiddish: דינאַבורג ("Dinaburg"), Yiddish: דווינסק ("Dvinsk")
The city has a moderate continental climate.
As of 1 January 2012, the city had a population of 101,057.
In Daugavpils 85% of the voters supported the proposal to make Russian the second state language in the 2012 referendum.
The town's history began in 1275 when the Livonian Order built Dünaburg castle 20 km (12 mi) up the Daugava river from where Daugavpils is now situated. In 1561 it became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, subsequently, of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569 (see Duchy of Livonia). In 1621 Daugavpils became the capital of the newly formed Inflanty Voivodeship, which existed until the First Partition of Poland (1772). In 1577 the Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible captured and destroyed Dünaburg castle. That same year, a new castle was built 20 km (12 mi) downriver. In 1582 Daugavpils was granted Magdeburg town rights. In the 17th century, during the Russo–Swedish War initiated by Tsar Alexis of Russia, the Russians captured Daugavpils, renamed the town Borisoglebsk and controlled the region for 11 years, between 1656 and 1667. Russia returned the area to Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth following the Treaty of Andrusovo (1667). It became part of the Russian Empire after First Partition of Poland in 1772. It was an uyezd center firstly in Pskov Governorate between 1772 and 1776, Polotsk one between 1776 and 1796, Belarus one between 1796 and 1802 and finally Vitebsk between 1802 and 1917 as Dinaburg firstly, as Dvinsk laterly during Russian rule.
From 1784 onwards the city had a large and active Jewish population among them a number of prominent figures. According to the Russian census of 1897, out of a total population of 69,700, Jews numbered 32,400 (ca. 44% percent).
As part of the Russian Empire the city was called Dvinsk from 1893 to 1920. The newly independent Latvian state renamed it Daugavpils in 1920. Latvians, Poles and Soviet troops fought the Battle of Daugavpils in the area from 1919 to 1920. Daugavpils and the whole of Latvia was under the Soviet Union rule between 1940–41 and 1944–1991, while Germany occupied it between 1941 and 1944. The Nazis established the Daugavpils Ghetto where the town's Jews were forced to live. Most were murdered. During the Cold War the Lociki air-base operated 12 km (7 mi) northeast of Daugavpils itself.
On 16 April 2010 an assassin shot vice-mayor Grigorijs Ņemcovs in the center of the city. He died almost immediately and the crime remains unsolved.
Daugavpils is an important cultural centre in eastern Latvia. There are 22 primary and secondary schools, four vocational schools, and the Saules College of Art. More than 1,000 teachers and engineers graduate from Daugavpils University (formerly Daugavpils Pedagogical University) and the local branch of Riga Technical University annually. There is also one Polish school, the only in the city, on Varšavas iela (Warsaw Street).
Daugavpils Theatre was restored a couple of years ago. There is also one cinema as well as other cultural institutions. The city exhibition center offers many cultural activities.
There are also several architectural, historical, and cultural monuments in Daugavpils. The most prominent is the Daugavpils fortress dating mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. In April 2013 the Mark Rothko Art centre was opened in fortress.
The historical centre of Daugavpils city is an architectural heritage of national importance (the construction work was carried out in the 19th century according to the project endorsed in St Petersburg in 1826). The historical centre is the greatest attraction of the city and one of the most successful examples of balancing the aspects of ancient and modern times. Daugavpils is one of the few cities in Latvia which can pride itself on a unified ensemble of both classic and eclectic styles. The cultural heritage of architectural, artistic, industrial, and historical monuments combined with the picturesque surroundings create the essence of Daugavpils’ image and endow it with a special charm.
Daugavpils is exceptionally rich in red brick buildings. This style was developed by many outstanding architects. In Daugavpils this variety of eclecticism is most widely represented in the buildings designed by Wilhelm Neumann, an architect of German origin who was the chief architect of the city from 1878 to 1895. Bright examples of brick architecture are the buildings at 1/3 Saules Street and at 8 Muzeja Street. The shape-forming techniques typical of eclecticism that were applied in the façades of these buildings even many decades later make one appreciate and admire the striking accuracy of detail.
Daugavpils satiksme AS oversees the city's autobus and tram networks.
The city's railway station is the terminus of the Riga–Daugavpils Railway.
Daugavpils International Airport is located 12 km (7 mi) northeast of Daugavpils, near the village of Lociki. The airport was denationalized in 1993 and since 2005 there exists an ongoing project to redevelop the former military facility to allow both international and domestic passenger traffic, as well as international and domestic cargo transport and charter flights.
The head of the city government is the mayor of Daugavpils (domes priekšsēdētājs) literally 'Council Chairman'. The incumbent since June 2017 is Andrejs Elksniņš, who is a member of the Harmony party. His predecessor was Jānis Lāčplēsis of the Latgale Party who served from 2013 to 2017 and previously from 2009 to 2011 (when a member of LPP/LC). The Latgale party has an electoral agreement with the Unity party at a national level.
The Council consists of 15 members who are elected every four years.
The football clubs FC Daugava and BFC Daugavpils play at Celtnieks Stadium in Daugavpils. Both teams plays in the Latvian Higher League. There is also a hockey team called DHK Latgale, which currently plays in the Latvian Hockey League.
The Speedway Grand Prix of Latvia is currently held at the Latvijas Spīdveja Centrs with America's triple World Champion Greg Hancock being the most successful rider in Latvia winning the GP in 2009, 2009 and 2013. Lokomotiv Daugavpils is a Motorcycle speedway team based in Daugavpils who currently race in Polish First League (2nd division).
In 2008 the construction of the Daugavpils Multifunctional Sports Complex was started and was completed in October 2009.Gotthard Kettler (1517–1587), last Master of the Livonian Order and the first Duke of Courland and Semigallia
Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (1843–1926), rabbi
the Rogatchover Gaon (1858–1936), rabbi
Abraham Isaac Kook (1864–1935), rabbi, thinker, diplomat, mediator, scholar
Władysław Studnicki (1867-1953), Polish politician and publicist
Grzegorz Fitelberg (1879–1953), Polish composer and conductor
Isaak Illich Rubin (1886-1931), Jewish political economist and socialist activist
Isaac Nachman Steinberg (1888–1957), writer, politician, co-founder of the Freeland League
Solomon Mikhoels (1890–1948), Soviet Jewish actor and director
Leonid Dobychin (1894–1936), Russian writer
Stanisław Swianiewicz (1899–1997), Polish economist and historian
Mark Rothko (1903–1970), American abstract expressionist painter
Romuald Gibowski (born 1962), sculptor, painter
Władysław Raginis (1908–1939), Polish officer
Movsas Feigins (or Movša Feigins)(1908–1950), Latvian chess master
Isser Harel (born Isser Halperin) (c.1912–2003), Israeli spymaster
Grigory Nemtsov (1948–2010), Latvian journalist, businessman and politician
Uljana Semjonova (born 1952), basketball player
Vitas (born 1979), Ukrainian singer, songwriter, composer, actor and fashion designer
Artjoms Rudņevs (born 1988), Latvian footballer
Oleg Vorslav (born 1988), Free Runner (Parkour). Noted "Russian Climber"
Daugavpils is twinned with: