Before the arrival of the Teutonic Knights, Koknese was the site of a wooden hill fort inhabited by the Balts. In 1209 Bishop Albert of Riga ordered the construction of a stone castle at the site, naming it Kokenhusen. For the first 50 years of its existence, Koknese was solely used as a defensive fort, but by 1277, Koknese had enough population to receive city rights. Koknese also became a member of the Hanseatic League thanks to its strategic location on the Daugava trade route.
The castle was heavily contested between Polish, Swedish and Russian forces in the 16th and 17th centuries. It changed hands many times, while the native inhabitants endured periodic slaughter, capture, and famine. In 1701, during the Great Northern War, Koknese was finally blown up by retreating forces to avoid the strategic castle falling into advancing Russian hands. The castle was never rebuilt and fell to ruin.
In 1900, a park was established around the castle ruins, and Koknese became a popular summer resort. The area was known for its scenic waterfalls, cliffs, and look-outs. In 1965, the Soviet government built Pļaviņas Hydro Power Plant in the town of Aizkraukle. The reservoir flooded the entire length of the Daugava to Pļaviņas. Koknese Castle, once sitting atop a high bluff, was placed at the river's edge, while the scenic Daugava valley was submerged.References:
Claude Monet lived for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926, in Giverny. With a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived both his flower garden and water garden as true works of art. Walking through his house and gardens, visitors can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionnism and marvel at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration.
In 1890 Monet had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.
Today the Monet's Garden is open to the public.