Tālava region was divided in 1224 and that’s when Gulbene came into being. In 1928 Gulbene was granted city rights, but a few years later Vilis Veldre (a Latvian writer) claimed that there would never be a city, because no one would build a house in such a swampy place. In 1930s Latvia had popular postcards with signature “Gulbene – City of Flowery Gardens”.
The history of present day Gulbene city urban development is fascinating. Until the beginning of 20th century, the centre of the neighborhood was Vecgulbene Manor, which had wide and rich grounds. The Manor’s last owner was Baron Wolf, who was madly in love with his beautiful wife Marisa. In Spārīte Park, there is a Sacred Lake, which was a gift for the Barons wife Marisa and on the lake’s islands were placed the stones with the letters of Baronesses name. Ferdinand von Cepelin, the famous inventor of airships, has also visited Vecgulbene manor.
In 1903 the second city centre, Gulbene train station, started to develop, but 2 km away from Vecgulbene Manor, because the owner didn’t want any loud noise to disturb his peaceful and quite place. Nowadays the people of Gulbene can proudly say, that Gulbene has the only narrow gauge railway Bānītis still operating.
The modern centre has developed between Vecgulbene Manor and Gulbene train station with 20th century 1920-1930s buildings (new train station, gymnasium, buildings on Riga Street and the municipal police building) or Soviet construction type buildings (Gulbene municipal building, Cultural Centre, Hotel and the high-rise buildings in Skolas and Nākotne Streets).
Nowadays there are almost 8000 people living in Gulbene city (2018). City is almost 1200 hectares large with 200 hectares being parks. There are 3 historical parks – Spārītes and Emzes Parks and Vecgulbene Manor Park, and 2 parks with fountains in city centre – Swan Park and Central Square.