Latvian attractions: Top 25

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Latvia can rightly be called the heart of the Baltics, because here is collected all the best that this region can boast of. The ancient architecture of cities borders on the modesty and charm of villages, modern multi-storey business centers coexist with centuries-old castles and palaces, churches and cathedrals that keep the mysteries of the past. A lot of health centers are also concentrated here, where you can effectively strengthen your body with the help of special procedures. Local residents are tactful and courteous in a European way, while being very hospitable and committed to centuries-old traditions. If you came here for the first time and do not know what to see in Latvia, then especially for you we have compiled a list of popular places in this country, which included the most interesting sights of Latvia. Check them out and be sure to include these places in your travel itinerary around this country.

What to see first in Latvia

you will need guides in Latvia, on whose shoulders you can shift the worries about the informational and organizational part of the tour. In the case of exploring the sights on your own, be sure to check what hours they are open for tourists and how much the entrance costs.

1. House of the Blackheads (Riga)

Latvian sights: Top 25

House of the Blackheads on the Town Hall Square in Riga

The House of the Blackheads in Riga is one of the main symbols of the Latvian capital and the sights of Latvia. Cultural events, concerts, exhibitions, and excursions are regularly held here. Also, the house temporarily became the residence of the Latvian President, in connection with the repair of the Riga Castle.

The foundation of the House of the Blackheads dates back to 1334. Since its foundation, various meetings and events of Riga societies have been held here. By the end of the 15th century, the building was leased to the Blackheads Society, after which it was named later.

Who are the Blackheads? This is a brotherhood of young Riga merchants under the patronage of St. George, but later the patron saint of the brotherhood was considered to be Saint Mauritius, whose symbol in the form of a black head began to be depicted on the coat of arms of the brotherhood.

During the Second World War, the House of the Blackheads suffered significantly, and in 1999 it was rebuilt almost from scratch. Nowadays, it houses a museum and a concert hall, which often hosts classical music concerts.

What should you pay attention to when visiting the House of the Blackheads?

    The magnificent facade of the building combines the values ​​of different styles inherent in different eras; Inside, in the representative rooms, luxurious interior items attract attention – crystal chandeliers, painted ceilings, portraits of rulers in gilded carved frames, the coat of arms of the brotherhood, colorful stained-glass windows; In the museum you can see various details of the representatives of the brotherhood – snuff boxes, paintings, silverware and ceramics; By visiting the ceremonial events in the House of Blackheads, you can see how the entire interior comes to life during the celebration, and how a special aura of a secular holiday is created here.

Official site:http://www.melngalvjunams.lv/en

2. Rundale Palace Museum (Zemgale region)

Latvian sights: Top 25

Former country residence of the Dukes of Courland

Latvian attractions: Top 25

Duke's bedroom in Rundāle Palace Zairon

An outstanding architectural monument, Rundāle Palace, a joint creation of the outstanding architect Rastrelli, sculptor Graff and Italian artists Zucchi and Martini, is the most important cultural heritage and a valuable landmark of Latvia. This architectural masterpiece is located in the very center of the country, in the cultural and historical region of Zemgale.

The entire palace complex occupies a vast territory of more than 60 hectares, the main part of which is occupied by hunting and French parks. In the vicinity of the complex, you will also find something to see in Latvia – the nature there is very picturesque, while another attraction is very close – the Bauska Nature Park.

Rundāle Palace includes 138 rooms on two floors, but the interior furnishings, unfortunately, have not been preserved – the decoration was not spared by devastation and war. Therefore, the exhibits that are presented in the museum of the palace were purchased and brought from other museums. Restoration work was carried out by the best specialists in Latvia and Russia. According to sketches and historical records, the decoration was restored – interior decoration, wallpaper, chandeliers, furniture, utensils were recreated. Now the castle, saved at the cost of hard work, receives numerous visitors.

In addition to the castle itself, the park area deserves no less attention. So, the French garden was created in the 18th century, and since then its design has never changed. The park is a classic example of European landscape art. Nowadays, costumed performances are periodically held here, fireworks are organized.

Official website: http://rundale.net/ru/

3. Jurmala (20 km from Riga)

Latvian sights: Top 25

Wooden descent to the Gulf of Riga

The resort city of Jurmala is a real pearl of Latvia on the coast of the Gulf of Riga. The first resort villages of Jurmala began to form here back in the 18th century, and already in the 19th century, most of the city's districts acquired the status of a resort. For more than two centuries, Jurmala has been a place for a great and interesting vacation, and you will definitely find something to see in Latvia if you get into this unusually beautiful city.

The list of sights of Latvia in Jurmala includes more than 400 buildings of different directions. A characteristic architectural feature of the buildings are the facades, richly decorated with lacy wood carvings. The choice of sights is wide, and the list is endless.

    The open-air museum reflects the life of the Latvian village, where several centuries ago on the territory of modern buildings there were only dilapidated fishing shacks and boats. The Museum of Prison History, founded in 1999, was opened in honor of the 80th anniversary of the country's prison system, and today exhibits prison dummies, executioners, a pit simulator and various prison props. The Aspazija and Rainis Museum, built in 1903, contains a lot of personal belongings of the famous Latvian poetess Elsa Rosenberg, as well as various furniture and unique household items from past centuries. Livu Aqua Park is one of the largest water parks in Europe, it consists of 3 levels and a 25-meter tower. Its design is made in the Caribbean style, and visitors to the water park feel like real pirates on an ancient ship. Theater of Luminous Paintings – presents paintings by the famous artist Ermolaev in two forms: day and night. The transformation of the daytime view of the picture into the night one is a bewitching spectacle. Telohod Jurmala is the oldest motor ship, which was once the only way to communicate with Riga. Today you can take a sightseeing trip from Riga to Jurmala on it.

4. Gauja National Park (Gauja river valley)

Latvian attractions: Top 25

Devonian sandstone cliff along the banks of the Gauja River

To visit some of the sights of Latvia, it is advisable to allocate, perhaps, a multi-day trip right away. These places include the Gauja National Park, which is spread over an area of ​​more than 900 square kilometers in the valley of the Gauja River – that's where you can find something to see in Latvia.

This is the largest park-reserve in Latvia, which is characterized by a variety of landscape forms, numerous springs, cliffs, caves, rocks, multi-colored sandstone outcrops, unique natural and cultural monuments.

In total, there are more than 500 different attractions, including ancient settlements, castles, churches, mills, estates, and many other archaeological, architectural and historical monuments.

For family holidays, you can recommend places such as:

    Vienkociu Park is a wonderful place, the purpose of which is to popularize ancient crafts, here you can try your hand at manual woodworking; Ligatne nature trails – provide an opportunity to explore the landscapes typical of the ancient Gauja, here you can observe many wild animals typical of Latvian nature; the cable car from Sigulda to Krimulda is the only air cable car in Latvia that allows you to see the local surroundings from a dizzying height and learn a lot about the historical heritage of these two small Latvian towns.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are entertainments here that will truly take your breath away – for example, a vertical wind tunnel near Sigulda, jumping from a funicular with an elastic band, the Sigulda luge and bobsleigh track, numerous adventure parks.

Official website: http://www.entergauja.com/en/

See beautiful places in Latvia in this wonderful video!

5. City of Kuldiga (150 km from Riga)

Latvian sights: Top 25

Kuldiga Old Town

In the heart of the historical region of Kurzeme, on the Venta River, there is a beautiful provincial town of Kuldiga. It is rightfully considered one of the most picturesque cities in Latvia, because it is here, in a small area, that you can find a lot of amazing sights of Latvia – for example, a flying fish, the largest waterfall in Europe, a cave labyrinth and ancient palaces.

Today it is already hard to imagine that several centuries ago this city was the most important trading point, ships were built here, grapes were grown, wine from which was even supplied to neighboring countries.

What to visit in Latvia if you arrived or happened to be passing through the town of Kuldiga?

    Kuldīga Castle is the first castle in Kuldīga, the construction of which was completed in 1245. The fortress was placed in a very beautiful place near the waterfall, and in less than a hundred years the city of Kuldiga grew around the castle. The fortress is in a dilapidated state – medieval wars and time played a role. But today an attractive city park is spread around the ruins of the fortress. One of the most pleasant and fun summer fun in Kuldiga is swimming under the Ventas-Rumba waterfall. Everyone can swim under the jets of the waterfall, especially since special pools are equipped for this on the right bank of the Ventas River. During the season from April to May in Kuldiga on the river Ventas you can watch an amazing sight – flying fish. Numerous fish, going to spawn, swim against the current, emerge from the river waters to a height of up to 2.5 meters and try to storm the obstacle in the form of the Ventas-Rumba waterfall. The City Museum of Kuldiga keeps thousands of unique exhibits that tell about the rich historical past of Kuldiga.

6. Turaida Castle (Sigulda)

Latvian attractions: Top 25

View of the western part of Turaida Castle

Just 50 kilometers from the Latvian capital is a beautiful provincial town – Sigulda. An honorary landmark of Latvia, the Turaida Castle of the 13th century, became his hallmark. Once in the Middle Ages, there was a bishop's residence, the Livonian Order was located here, and even a garrison of Swedish soldiers was housed. Today, the fortress keeps the imprint of antiquity, so the castle today has acquired the status of a museum complex, and a museum-reserve has been created on its territory.

The museum complex includes not only the castle, but also a lot of surrounding historical buildings – there are 37 such buildings in total. The castle itself was founded in 1214 by the Bishop of Riga on the right bank of the Gauja. Unfortunately, the fortress has not retained its original appearance since those times, so it went through a lot of reconstructions, but nevertheless, it has not lost its appearance. Numerous legends about the castle and its inhabitants have survived to this day, as well as the name of the castle itself, which means “Divine Garden” in translation.

The key and oldest element of the castle is the main tower. Now an observation deck is equipped on its upper level, and a museum exposition is located on the lower level. In addition to the tower, exhibitions of exhibits are held in the southern and western buildings of the castle. Archaeological excavations do not stop on the territory of the museum-reserve to this day, new finds are discovered, which subsequently replenish the museum's collection.

Today, Turaida Castle has become a popular tourist attraction – along with excursions, festivals and exhibitions are regularly organized on its territory , concerts of classical and modern music are held.

Official website: http://www.turaida-muzejs

7. Mitava Palace (Jelgava)

Latvian attractions: Top 25

Facade of the Mitava Palace from the inner courtyard

On a flat island between the Lielupe River and its tributaries, in 1738, according to the design of the architect Rastrelli, the Mitava (Jelgava) Palace was founded – the most important historical landmark of Latvia. The initiator of the construction was the Duke of Courland Biron.

Today, the Mitava Palace is the largest baroque palace in the Baltics. The construction of the palace took place in several stages and lasted for several decades.

    Previously, in 1737, the territory was cleared for construction – the palace of the Livonian Order of the 14th century was blown up. In 1740, construction was suspended due to the arrest and exile of the duke. At that time, the palace had not yet been roofed. In 1763, after Biron's pardon and his return from exile, the construction of the palace resumed. In 1772, the duke finally moved to his residence, but before his death, he did not have time to live there for even six months. After the annexation of the duchy to Russia, the palace changed owners more than once. In 1918, the interior of the palace was completely destroyed by the Russian troops of Bermondt-Avalov, in 1944 the palace was even more damaged during the Second World War. In our years, a museum has been organized in the palace, where you can see the family tombs of the Dukes of Courland and Zemgale. Almost no information remains about the original interiors. Today, the Latvian Agricultural University operates in the palace.

8. Bauska Castle (Bauska)

Latvian sights: Top 25

In the courtyard of Bauska Castle

Bauska is a city in central Latvia, in the Zemgale region. Founded back in the 15th century by German knights, today Bauska is rich in historical monuments and keeps the events of centuries of history, so you will surely find something to visit in Latvia when you are in this town. For example, confirmation of this is the Bauska Castle, built at the confluence of the rivers Musa and Memsele for the knights of the Livonian Order.

The fortress was surrounded by a system of fortifications, later ceremonial halls and living quarters were erected.

Soon after the construction was completed, a handicraft and fishing settlement was formed around the castle, which later became the city of Bauska.

The castle was owned by the Livonian Order until 1561, after which it began to change its owners regularly, the ducal courtyard and office.

In 1625, the castle was captured by the Swedes, and at the beginning of the 18th century it was completely blown up by order of the Russian Emperor Peter I.

Again, the castle was remembered only in the 20th century, when in 1970 the surviving ruins were subject to a long and careful restoration, after which a museum was opened within its walls. Various events, concerts and festivals are regularly held on the territory of the castle to attract visitors.

The castle complex includes the ducal palace, which houses the exposition, as well as the ruins of the castle of the Livonian Order with an observation tower. The court life of the Middle Ages, holidays and everyday life, outfits, habits, customs – all the past is reflected in the Bauska Castle very clearly and realistically.

Official website: http://www.bauskaspils. lv/en/

9. Dinaburg Castle (19 km from Daugavpils)

Latvian sights: Top 25

Miniature model of the Dinaburg castle

The beginning of the Latvian city, which changed its name several times (Dinaburg, Nevgin, Dvinsk, Borisoglebsk, Daugavpils) , laid the castle of Dinaburg, erected in 1275 by order of the master of the Livonian Order Ernest Ratzeburg.

This landmark of Latvia had its own difficult history – since the construction of the castle, battles have repeatedly taken place, and it has constantly passed into the hands of the Lithuanian, Polish, or Russian authorities.

    In 1772, the Dinaburg fortress was ceded to Russia, and the construction of the castle began here. The kind in which the castle appears now is already the fourth in the history of Dinaburg. In 1810, active construction of protective structures began here, the height of the protective ramparts reached 11 meters. The fortification works were carried out so qualitatively that even a three-day siege by Napoleon's troops did not allow the capture of the fortress. Since 1813, the construction of the fortress continued – barracks, residential buildings, four fortress gates were built. In 1827, the construction of a hospital for five hundred people was completed.

In general, the improvement of fortifications continued until 1878, but by the end of the 19th century, the fortress lost its defensive purpose and acquired the status of a warehouse fortress, which housed workshops for the manufacture and storage of shells and gunpowder.

In the period after the Second World War II, since 1947, an aviation school began to function here. The territory of the fortress began to be gradually put in order, sports grounds were equipped, landscaping of the territories took place.

Today the fortress of Dinaburg is an example of fortification art. Despite numerous tests of time, some forts and ramparts have survived intact. Over time, the authorities of Daugavpils expect to turn this complex into a modern cultural center.

10. Kemeri National Park (Jurmala)

Latvian sights: Top 25

Sunset in Ķemeri National Park

In the central region of Latvia – Zemgale, not far from the well-known Jurmala, the Kemeri National Park is located. The area of ​​the park is colossal – more than 38 thousand hectares, and these territories are occupied by forests and swamps, under which hydrogen sulfide mineral water is formed in one of the soil layers. This landmark of Latvia is famous for its very rich flora and fauna – for example, about 900 ferns, more than 2,200 species of mosses, one and a half hundred lichens, and more than 500 species of mushrooms grow here. A quarter of the plants growing in the park are listed in the Red Book of Latvia.

Particularly favorable conditions for the habitat of various birds have been formed in the reserve, which are monitored and special towers have been erected for this purpose.

The formation of a resort in Kemeri Park was due to the use of the healing properties of hydrogen sulfide sources. Due to swampiness, the springs were inaccessible for a long time, no roads were laid to them. However, after the accession of part of the park to the Russian Empire in 1783, Ķemeri began to develop intensively as a resort.

    In 1801, academician Lovitz makes a chemical analysis of mineral waters from hydrogen sulfide sources. The study showed that the waters of the source have truly miraculous healing properties. Finally, the year 1838 is considered the moment of the foundation of the resort, and this is due to the fact that it was at that time that the first bathhouse was founded on the territory of Ķemeri, and the administration of the resort was founded. In 1851-61, a park was laid out here and a whole resort system was created. In the 1930s, the first sanatorium was founded in the park, where they treated with mineral water and mud, and this time is considered the beginning of the heyday of Ķemeri. After the difficult years of the Second World War, the second heyday of the resort came, when the sanatorium began to fill up with a huge number of people every year and a developed infrastructure of the park was created.

Sights of Latvia: what else to visit while in Latvia

The country opens up to tourists from different sides, and in order to form a holistic image, we recommend excursions in Latvia to places from the list below. In it you will find both natural wonders and monuments of history and architecture. Use your chance to spend a wonderful vacation here, even if you only have a couple of days left.

11. Old Riga (Riga)

Latvian sights: Top 25

Evening Old Riga

In the very center of the Latvian capital is its historical part – Old Riga. You will definitely find something to see in Latvia if you get to this amazing place – the main Riga sights are concentrated here in a relatively small area. Almost all buildings in Old Riga are important sights of Latvia, and through traffic on the streets of this area is closed. Therefore, you can take a leisurely walk here, studying the monuments of architecture and feeling the atmosphere of antiquity.

Whatever your route, it is worth noting that acquaintance with Riga is still worth starting from Old Riga. When you enter its narrow cobbled streets, you seem to step into the past several centuries ago: strict Gothic cathedrals and charming medieval houses, ancient courtyards, numerous museums, coffee shops with amazingly delicious cakes – all this conveys the unique flavor of the Middle Ages.

< p> Highlighting the list of memorable places in Old Riga, it is worth paying special attention to the following:

    Riga Castle of the 13th century on the banks of the Daugava; Dome Cathedral with one of the world's largest organ; Peter's Tower is a visiting card of Riga, one of its main church buildings; Town Hall Square – the main square of the city, which has become the venue for numerous city events; The Swedish gates are the only gates in the fortress wall of the city that have preserved their original appearance to this day; Large and small guilds – buildings that housed unions of like-minded citizens united by occupation; The House of the Blackheads is a building owned by the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, an association of young foreign merchants.

12. Aglona Basilica (village of Aglona, ​​250 km from Riga)

Latvian sights: Top 25

Aglona basilica next to the monastery

Latvian attractions: Top 25

The interior decoration of the Aglona Basilica in Aglona Zairon

The Aglona Basilica is a major shrine and landmark of international importance in Latvia. It is located in the east of Latvia, 40 kilometers from Daugavpils.

The first mention of the village of Aglona dates back to 1236. And in 1697, local landowners turned to the bishop with a request to build a monastery and a school in the village. Later, the first wooden basilica was built here and monasteries and convents were established.

    In 1768, local residents again petitioned for the construction of a capital church, and by 1789, a baroque stone basilica had grown on the site of a wooden one, and a monastery building was also erected. Later, when the healing properties of local sources were revealed, in 1824 pump rooms were erected here and a clinic was organized. In 1980, Pope John Paul II, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the basilica, awarded it the title of “minor basilica” – a special status of a Catholic church, giving it a lot of privileges. In 1989, the tradition of pilgrimage to the Aglona Basilica for the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin was renewed. In 1993, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at the Basilica of Aglona with the participation of about 400,000 pilgrims. Nowadays, annually on August 15, pilgrims from the Baltic countries and Russia come to Aglona, ​​a service is held, which is attended by many high-ranking officials of states, Roman priests and heads of other Latvian churches.

13. Open Air Ethnographic Museum (Riga)

Latvia attractions: Top 25

Part of the exposition of the Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum

One of the largest European museums is located in Latvia, just half an hour from its capital. The ethnographic open-air museum is a must-see in Latvia if your route passes through Riga. Here, on a vast territory of 90 hectares, ancient buildings of past centuries (17-20 centuries) are collected – houses, outbuildings, temples, mills and even entire households with many household items inherent in that era – in total there are 118 buildings. All these buildings were dismantled and carefully brought from all Latvian regions, after which they were rebuilt on the territory of the museum.

If we compare the Latvian Ethnographic Museum with other museums of this type, this museum is unique in its own way – its exposition began to take shape as early as the beginning of the 20th century. This is an amazing place where you can deeply feel the spirit of antiquity and literally go on a journey through the milestones of Latvian history:

    to see the features, similarities and differences of life of Latvians in different centuries; find out what traditions Latvians have kept for centuries, how they took a steam bath or decorated yards, celebrated holidays or were engaged in everyday life; find out how Russian Old Believers lived in such Latvian regions as Lattgale and Kurzeme; visit ancient churches of different Latvian confessions; visit the museum storage with its huge archive; walk through the yards of Latvian peasants and artisans, study their household items, characteristic of a certain historical period.

Official website: http://brivdabasmuzejs.lv/en/

14. Botanical Garden (Riga)

Latvian attractions: Top 25

Rhododendrons in the Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia

A ten-minute drive from the center of Riga is the “green” attraction of Latvia – the botanical garden of the University of Latvia, founded in 1922. For many years now, since its foundation, the garden has been regularly replenished with new plant species from all over the world – in total, about 6 thousand plants grow on the territory of the park with an area of ​​15 hectares. Today, the botanical garden has become a favorite place for walking and relaxing – here you can leisurely walk along the green alleys, visit many greenhouses and just enjoy nature in the heart of the capital city. Both professional gardeners and ordinary people will find a lot of new and interesting things here.

    Among the greenhouses, the main greenhouse is considered to be the palm greenhouse, where you can study the plants of the subtropics. The succulent greenhouse displays plants that have adapted to life in the desert – there are about 700 of them, half of which are cacti. The Azalea Greenhouse presents an exposition of 124 species of azaleas – evergreen shrubs obtained as a result of phased crossing. There is a decorative and ecological exposition on the territory of the garden, including 7 gardens – rocky, phlox, heather, rhododendron, garden of dahlias, roses and lilies. Small plot of about 100 sq. meters in the garden is occupied by artificially created swamps, on which cranberries, andromeda and other marsh plants typical of Latvia grow. Every year in mid-July, a gardening festival is held in the park, to which everyone is invited – from professional breeders to simple amateur gardeners.

Official website: https://www.botanika.lu.lv/eng/

15. Latvian National Museum of Art (Riga)< /h3>

Latvian attractions: Top 25

Building of the Latvian National Museum of Art

In the very heart of Riga, namely in its boulevard ring, there is a well-known cultural landmark of Latvia – the Latvian National Museum of Art, which has become the largest repository of art in the country. The building of the art museum itself is an impressive architectural monument of national importance. This is the first building in the Baltics, erected specifically to house the museum. The building was founded in 1905 by architect Wilhelm Neumann, and its facade is an ensemble of baroque and classicism styles.

The museum's collection includes more than 52 thousand exhibits – works of sculptors and artists from the Baltic States and Russia. Not so long ago, the museum underwent a large-scale reconstruction and opened in 2016 in an updated look, but retaining the monumentality of the old building.

What can you see in the museum today?

    The exhibition of Latvian art of the 19th and 20th centuries presents the history of Latvian art over the past two centuries. In the new exhibition hall, you can get acquainted with temporary exhibitions on topics relevant to our days. On the roof of the museum there are two terraces from which you can admire the surroundings of Riga from above. A lively interest among visitors is aroused by a modernized environment in which you can arrange a full-fledged excursion without the services of a guide – by downloading a special application to your smartphone, you can use the capabilities of an interactive electronic guide.

Official website: http://www.lnmm.lv/ru/

16. Daugavpils Fortress (Daugavpils)

< p>Latvian Attractions: Top 25

Dinaburg fortress of the beginning of the 19th century on both banks of the Western Dvina River in the city of Daugavpils

An important role in shaping the portrait of the country is played by historical and architectural sights of Latvia, the presentation of which will not do without an ancient historical monument in the city of Daugavpils – the last bastion-type fort in Europe. The fortress, located on an area of ​​150 hectares on both sides of the Daugava River, resembles the layout of a military camp in its structure, with a parade ground located in the center, around which there are a number of administrative, utility buildings and barracks buildings. Some of the buildings are decorated in the Empire style, while the other part of the buildings is decorated in the Gothic style. Today, the fortress houses a center of contemporary art with works by many Latvian and foreign artists, as well as an Art Center with samples of painting, graphics, photography and author's ceramics.

Official website: http ://dinaburg

17. Dome Cathedral (Riga)

Latvian attractions: Top 25

View from the central (Dome) square in the Old Town to the Riga Dome Cathedral

In the very heart of the country on the shores of the Baltic Sea, the city of Riga, there is a recognizable symbol of the capital – the Riga Dome Cathedral. The largest cathedral in Latvia is also one of its leading spiritual centers; concerts of sacred and organ music are held here. The architectural ensemble, in addition to the cathedral itself, includes the Dome Monastery with the oldest city museum of navigation, and the Cross Gallery. The origins of the appearance of the majestic building date back to 1211, when its first stone was laid – at that time the temple was supposed to become a symbol of success in the conquest of Livonia. The interior design of the cathedral, which can be seen now, is the result of restoration work of the 19th century: a rather strict and ascetic Gothic interior is made in white, only its long and narrow windows are decorated with multi-colored stained-glass windows, and in some places luxurious wood carving elements complement the decoration.

Official website: http://www.doms.lv/index/

18. St. Peter's Church (Riga)

Latvian attractions: Top 25

The spire of St. Peter's Church among the red-tiled roofs of the Old Town of Riga

Latvian attractions: Top 25

Interior of St. Peter's Church in Riga Diliff

In search of what to see in Latvia in winter, for outdoor activities you can go to the ski resorts of Sigulda or Madonna, or you can visit beautiful Riga in winter, with its medieval castles and other ancient buildings. One of these structures is the cult church of St. Peter, which stands out against the backdrop of city panoramas with a high spire topped with a figure of a cockerel. Today it is a functioning Lutheran church, where masses are regularly held, and on its recognizable spire, at a height of 71 meters, there is an observation deck with excellent surrounding views. The date of construction of the church is considered to be 1209, when it became the main temple for the privileged persons of the feudal society. The interior halls made of pink bricks are simply decorated with laconic decorative elements made of carved wood and ancient epitaphs.

Official website: http://peterbaznica.

19 Waterfall on the Venta River (Kuldiga)

Latvia attractions: Top 25

The Venta River and the widest waterfall in Europe – the Venta waterfall in Kuldiga

Despite the fact that Latvia cannot boast of equally powerful waterfalls, say, like Niagara or Iguazu, but on the territory of this country there is the widest Venta waterfall in Europe. Its width is about 110 meters, and in high water and all 280 meters, although the height is quite small – from 1.6 to 2.2 meters across the entire width. Due to the certain shape of the rapids from which the water falls, the waterfall has an amazing zigzag line. Regularly, at certain moments of autumn and spring, there is a spectacular sight – spawning fish trying to jump over the river rapids, and a few centuries ago this feature began to be used for fishing. Since then, Kuldīga has been known as a city where fish are caught right in the air – for example, during the spawning period, from 80 to 100 salmon can be caught per day.

20. Riga Castle (Riga)

Latvian Attractions: Top 25

View of the Riga Castle from the Daugava in Old Riga

The most important cultural attractions of Latvia are concentrated in its capital, and one of them is the Riga Castle, which today is the official residence of the Latvian president. It is located in the Old Town of Riga, on the banks of the Daugava River. The beginning of the history of the large-scale castle dates back to the time of the confrontation between the inhabitants of Riga and the Livonian Order in the 14th century, when the knights of the order decided to build a suburban fortress. It turned out to be very impressive, but another conflict in the 15th century literally wiped this building off the face of the earth. The structure was nevertheless completely restored, and over the course of many centuries it was repeatedly rebuilt and supplemented with the advent of new authorities, but invariably remained the core of political life. Now the ancient castle is also a subject of tourist interest – within its walls you can visit the National Historical Museum.

Official website: https://www.president

21. Riga TV Tower (Riga)

Latvian attractions: Top 25

Riga TV Tower on Zakusala Island (“Hare Island”) in the middle of the Daugava River (Western Dvina)

Of course, the sights of Riga cannot do without the highest of the Baltic buildings – the 369-meter Riga TV Tower. The construction of the tower started back in Soviet times, in 1980, and lasted about 10 years. Instead of the usual reinforced concrete, an innovative material for those times was used in the construction – steel sheets, which provided the structure with unprecedented strength – according to estimates, the safety margin of this structure is designed for 2.5 centuries! At the 100-meter level there is the first observation deck, at the level of 134 meters – the second. The appearance of the TV tower is very peculiar – it is a structure of 3 pillars and a spire. Two inclined rail elevators operate in its supports, as well as an ordinary elevator connecting the observation deck with the lower technical levels.

22. Birini Manor (Birini village)

Sights of Latvia: Top 25

Birini manor surrounded by a large landscape park simka

Not far from Sigulda, on a small hill near the mirror lake Birini, the elegant castle of 1860 majestically rises, attracting attention with a combination of delicate pink and white tones and graceful turrets. Just like the castle, the nature itself is magnificent, framing this creation – this is a wonderful park with lakes and an abundance of diverse greenery. The general architectural design of the building belongs to the neo-Gothic, although the interiors are decorated in a romantic neo-Renaissance style. The estate got its name in honor of the glorious knight Johann Biring, who for his exploits in the 13th century received this estate from the king, which later changed its owners several times. Today, the guests of the estate are provided with a number of opportunities – relaxing in a hotel, holding celebrations, visiting a bathhouse, horseback riding, boating on the lake.

Official website: https://www .birinupils.

23. Freedom Monument (Riga)

Latvian sights: Top 25

Freedom Monument on Brivibas boulevard in the historical center of Riga

Traveling around the Baltics, you can cover the sights of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in one trip – fortunately, very small distances make it possible to implement such a plan. One has only to set off along the Tallinn-Riga highway, along which there are diverse interesting places. Once in the final destination – Riga, you can visit one of the key objects in the heart of the Latvian capital – the Freedom Monument. This symbol of Latvian independence is a tribute to all those who gave their lives for their country during the civil war. The 42-meter stela is crowned with a 9-meter sculpture of Freedom – a young woman who holds three stars in her hands, symbolizing three Latvian cultural and historical regions. The foot of the monument is decorated with several bas-reliefs depicting historical scenes and the most important human values ​​of society.

24. Daugava Loki Nature Park (Daugava River)

Latvian attractions: Top 25

View from the Vasargelish observation tower to the natural park “Daugavas loki”

The tourist map of Latvia is replete with interesting objects – for example, in the southeastern part of the country, on both sides of the Daugava River, there is a picturesque corner – the Daugavas Loki Nature Park. In this place, the Daugava has numerous bends, creating suitable conditions for water tourism – this moment is not left unattended, so there are a number of boat and raft rentals along the river, as well as excellent places for halts. In addition, the park keeps unique historical monuments – the fact is that the river has long served as the basis for the development of the territories adjacent to it, and castles were built and entire settlements were formed on its banks. Therefore, today in the park you can see more than 20 archaeological sites, for example: Vecpils hillfort, Vasargalish tower, Markovo and Vecrachinsk hillforts, the castle of the Rozalis Manor and much more.

25. Karosta Museum-Prison (Liepaja)< /h3>

Latvian attractions: Top 25

The territory of the Karosta prison in the city of Liepaja Keith Ruffles

In the Latvian city of Liepaja there is an unusual historical museum, which is of extreme interest to numerous tourists. This is the Karosta prison, or guardhouse, built in 1900 and originally served as a hospital. This facility is unique in that it is the only prison in Europe open for guided tours. This place is known for terrible and sometimes bloody events – for example, during the totalitarian regimes, mass executions were carried out here. There are no less gloomy reviews of local residents who claim that mystical things happen in these walls, and restless ghosts roam the corridors of the prison. Those who wish to dilute the heavy impressions of what they saw will find something to see on the way to Liepaja: for example, a very spectacular picture – snow-white roadside windmills in the middle of the plains, against the backdrop of the bottomless Latvian sky. While in Latvia, consider visiting the country known for its medieval architecture and delicious beer – the Czech Republic. Read about the sights of the Czech Republic and get inspired by new ideas for traveling around Europe!

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