Kalniena – formerly known as Kalnamuiža – is situated in the north-eastern part of Gulbene Municipality and borders on Alūksne Municipality.
Kalnamuiža formerly belonged to Kalncempji (German Kalnemoise, Russian Kalncemskaja) Rural Territory (established on the land of Kalnamuiža Manor in 1868), which was a part of Valka District. The area of the rural territory in 1935 was 8,670 ha and its population was 1,953 people. In 1945 Kalncempji and Kalniena villages were established in Kalncempji Rural Territory, while in 1949 the rural territory was liquidated. In 1954 the liquidated Kalniena Village was merged with Stāmeriena Village. The rural territory was renewed in 1990. After the administratively-territorial reform, the south-eastern part of the former rural territory is now a part of Stāmeriena Rural Territory. Nowadays Kalniena is the second largest populated centre of Stāmeriena Rural Territory, Gulbene Municipality by population. It is situated at the distance of 5 km from Stāmeriena and 18 km from Gulbene.
The border of Kalniena territory with the current Kalncempji Rural Territory of Alūksne Municipality stretches along Otes pine forest, the border with Litene of Gulbene Municipality is situated along Lubānieši marshland and forests. The river of Paparde and a forest marks the natural border with Annas Rural Territory of Alūksne Municipality, while Ludza pine forest and Lake Ludza is the the natural border between Kalniena and Beļava.
Kalniena (Mountainous) has acquired its name due to large number of hills around. The most popular is Vēja (Wind) Hill, also called Dzirnavu (Mill) Hill, in the very heart of Kalniena. There was a windmill on top of this hill once, half-ruined walls thereof are still preserved. Kalniena also has Vārnu (Crow) Hill, Skudru (Ant) Hill, Skudruļu Hill, Magaziņu Hill, Kalēju (Blacksmith) Hill and several other larger and smaller hills. A lot of homes also have the root for "hill" in their names: Ašukalni, Mālkalni, Grantskalni, Jāņkalni, Augstkalni, Cepļakalns, Kalnāji, Kalnabānuži, Kalnacīruļi, Pakalni, Puķukalni, Jaunkalni, Smilškalni, Kļavkalns, as well as the home name Vējakalns (Wind Hill).
In the late 12th century the territory of Kalniena belonged to Latgalian land of Atzele. From the 13th to the 16th century Kalniena was a constituent part of Alūksne Commandery of the Livonian Order.
Kalnamuiža Manor House is situated in the centre of Kalniena. From 1561 till 1629 (during the Polish rule) Kalnamuiža, together with Alūksne was governed by Starosta (Polish for governor) Tiesenhausen. In 1638 Kalnamuiža belonged to the city of Alūksne and the King of Sweden granted it to General Gustav Horn, while in 1750 the Empress of Russia Elizabeth presented it as a gift to Chancellor Count Voroncov, who subsequently sold it to secret adviser Otto Hermann Von Vietinghof.
In 1820 Von Vietinghof, together with the manor house, owned 13.68 acres of land, 1,040 men and 1,138 women. In 1838 the manor belonged to Von Wolff family and August Von Tranze, while the records of 1853 mention Von Wolff family as the sole owners of the manor.
In 1880 the District Administrator Friedrich Von Wolff wanted to perform the reconstruction of the manor house, but the implementation of this idea was prevented by the death of the baron in 1884. In 1904 the manor house caught fire due to a household accident and therefore it was rebuilt in accordance with the plan of the architect Boxlaff, thus acquiring the features of classicism style.
In approximately 1930 two landladies – distant relatives of Wolff family lived at the manor, but in approximately 1938 the manor house was purchased from its owners by the Rural Territory administration (then Kalncempji Rural Territory) and the building was reconstructed to suit the needs of a school. In 2004 Kalniena Basic School was closed. Now Kalnamuiža Manor House is empty and abandoned.
The ensemble of Kalnamuiža also included a greenhouse, a laundry, stables with a cart-house, pharmacy, warehouse and other buildings.
The greenhouse, which was built in the late 19th century is well preserved. The building hosted the offices of Kalniena Collective Farm during Soviet times. Now it is a residential house. The stables with the cart-house and a cab man's room was built in the middle of the 19th century. Now it is a shop – cafeteria Ozolnieki. Kalniena Public Hall, which has been built on the foundations of the former horse arena, is situated next to it. Residential apartments have been built in the former laundry building of the manor. The manor house is encircled by a park, which was established in the 19th century. Since the manor house is situated on the hill, the design of the park is based on terraces. There is an E letter-shaped pond in the park (there were two ponds initially), stone stairs and the foundation of a rotunda.
People, whose names are well known in Latvia and beyond, come from Kalniena. They are: professor Ēvalds Ezerietis (he performed the first heart surgery in Latvia on 30 March 1958); Alfrēds Gāters (a linguist, a literature scientist and a physician); Vilma Greble (a folklore specialist); Vija Poļaka-Rikveile (a poet); Daina Riņķe (a painter); Ilga Vanaga (an artist in ceramics).
According to the data of Stāmeriena Rural Territory administration of 1 January 2011 the declared population of Kalniena territory (former Collective Farm Kalniena) is 340 people (51.8% women, 48.2% men). Approximately 58% of the inhabitants are of working age, 21% of the inhabitants are younger than 18 and 21% are retired.
Since 2004 there is no basic school in Kalniena, therefore the children of Kalniena obtain their basic education in the basic education establishments of Stāmeriena, Litene or Gulbene. The closest secondary education establishment and the closest branch of a higher educational establishment is situated in Gulbene.
The village of Kalniena has the following facilities: centralised water supply, sewerage, water purification facilities, waste collection services, street lighting.
The following institutions are operating in Kalniena: library (with 197 users in 2010) with the Internet connection (including wireless); public hall (with 180 seats); 5 private limited companies (Ltd.), 20 agricultural farms and 2 societies.
Kalniena Public Hall is operating in Kalniena. It was built in 1966 and has a seating capacity of 180 seats. Several artistic amateur groups and interest groups are operating at the public hall: a women's vocal group; a vocally instrumental group R.P.M.; a dance group for pre-school age children; a break dance group B-boy; a line dance group; Society KAPO; sports society Mygon; dance group for pupils; groups of table tennis, novuss and volleyball friends.
On 1 April 1948 a library was established in Kalniena village. It has been operating in the same premises to date. In 2011 the number of registered library users was 194, which is 55% of the residents of Kalniena village.
Kalniena is crossed by the only regular narrow-gauge (750 mm) railway line in the Baltics. The railway has a station Kalniena, which has been in use since 1903.