Valmiera is the largest town of the historical Vidzeme region, Latvia, with a total area of 18.1 km². It lies at the crossroads of several important roads, 100 km to the north-east from Riga, the capital of Latvia, and 50 km south of the border with Estonia. Valmiera lies on both banks of the Gauja River. It is the de facto cultural and administrative centre of Vidzeme. It is the only town in the region to have a professional theater, Valmieras teātris, which was established in 1919. Valmiera's municipality has been involved a variety of projects to improve the quality of life in the region. Valmiera is an important industrial centre. The dominating economic branches in Valmiera are the food industry (milk, meat, and grain), fibreglass production, metalworking, wood processing and furniture producing.