Northern Latvia borders Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia. The Baltic Republic of Latvia was only established as an independent country in 1918. Since then, the country has been temporarily occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II and then by the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 gave Latvia back its independence. The Republic of Latvia has since grown into an important European trading partner and also as a tourist destination. Cities like Riga, Daugavpils, Liepāja and Ventpils are gaining popularity. And that is not for nothing. These cities of Latvia have many beautiful and interesting sights to offer, some of which can be found on the UNESCO World Heritage List. But Latvia also has a lot to offer in terms of nature. As one of the least populated countries in Europe, Latvia has a lot of untouched natural beauty. In parks such as Gauja National Park, Slītere National Park and Ķemeri National Park you can go on fantastic hiking trips. And the coastline of Estonia is also incredibly beautiful. Beautiful sandy beaches are alternated with the greatest of ease by whimsical rock formations. And did you know that there are also caves and more than three hundred and fifty natural monuments in Estonia? If we combine all this with popular musical festivals like ‘Vispārējie latviešu Dziesmu Svētki’ then we can conclude that Latvia is an exciting and fascinating destination. Check topmbadirectory for how to get to Latvia.
Top 10 sights of Latvia
The historic center of Riga, the capital of Latvia, is a sight in itself. Riga has a rich history behind it. As a thriving Hanseatic city and later as an economic gateway between Western and Central Europe and Russia, it has managed to put itself firmly on the map. Subsequently, Russia, Poland, Sweden and Germany have waged wars and enforced reforms. The fall of communism and the return of independent status in 1990 did Riga no harm. The economy of the Latvian capital then gained momentum. Since then, tourism has also started to grow. Today, visitors love to come to Riga to admire the beautiful historic architecture, enjoy the art and culture and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. There is always something going on around the Central Market, the trendy Spīķeri district and on the Livu laukums square. Check simplyyellowpages for mass media and culture of Latvia.
#2. Rundale Paleis
The Rundāle Palace, built in baroque style, is located south of the city of Riga. The distance from the capital to the Rundāle Palace is about seventy kilometers. The palace was built in the eighteenth century as a summer residence for Duke Ernst Johann Biron, a lover of the Russian Empress Anna Ivanovna. For this purpose, an existing palace was demolished and the usable materials were re-used in the current design. Subsequently, the palace comes into the possession of the noble Shuvalov family and eventually becomes the palace of the Latvian state. The hand of time had already wreaked havoc and the violence in the country has also left traces on Rundāle Palace. Various restorations and renovations have now restored the palace to its former glory and we can now enjoy a piece of architecture that is certainly not inferior to palaces such as the world-famous Versailles in France. There are about 138 rooms on two floors, which are richly decorated. The most beautiful halls and rooms are the private chambers of dukes and duchesses, the golden hall, the white hall, the great gallery and the porcelain chamber. In the Rundāle Palace Museum you can admire all kinds of decorative objects, crockery, glassware, tombs and works of art from the history of the palace.
#3. Gauja National Park
The largest and oldest park in Latvia is the national Gauja park. ‘Gaujas nacionālais parks’ was founded around 1973 and now houses more than five hundred cultural and historical monuments, caves, jagged cliffs and a great diversity of flora and fauna. To get a good impression of the Gauja National Park, you actually have to stay there for several days. The park has more than ninety thousand hectares. There are different ways to make fun trips. You can follow the kilometers of hiking trails, there are cycling routes and you can bridge large parts by boat. During the winter months it is even possible to ski in the Gauja Valley.
Between the Gulf of Riga and the Lielupe River is the atmospheric place Jūrmala. The city is known for the many good resorts, spa facilities and the beautiful beach. But the wooden houses in Jūrmala from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are also worth seeing. The kilometre-long beach of Jūrmala is loved by locals and tourists alike. There are often groups that play a game of volleyball or football, the children like to play on the beach or in the playgrounds and various water sports are practiced. The water park ‘Līvu akvaparks’ is also popular. The water park is very popular, especially during the sometimes very hot days in July.
On the Baltic coast in Latvia you will find the charming city of Liepaja. As a beach destination, Liepaja is an excellent choice. You can make a nice combination between culture and beach. The old city center is filled with wooden houses, Art Nouveau buildings and the lovely Seaside Park. The northern part of the city is known as Karosta. This district has a military past and a port that has been very important in the history of Latvia. In the Karosta military prison you can see with your own eyes how hard life in captivity was. In addition, old crafts can be admired in several places in Liepaja.
#6. The Basilica of Aglona
The Catholic basilica of Aglona, built in baroque style, was built in the eighteenth century. As a place of pilgrimage, the basilica attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. But also “ordinary” visitors often take a look inside. The fairly austere appearance on the outside is completely negated inside. The interior of the Aglona basilica is richly decorated with color, gold details, paintings and a beautiful altar.
#7. Ventas rumba
The beautiful waterfall Ventas rumba can be found at the Venta river near the western town of Kuldīga. The Ventas rumba is a wide waterfall that changes with the level of the water. During the migration of the fish you can literally see the fish jumping. A special fishery has therefore emerged, which is called ‘tači’. The fishing lines are attached to the stones in a special way. In this way one catches salmon, among other things. In the summer people like to cool off at the Ventas rumba and they like to swim. Other waterfalls can be found at the nearby Īvande river and the Alekšupīte waterfall in Kuldīga itself.
#8. Turaida Museum
The beautiful thirteenth century Turaida Castle is nowadays a destination where you can get acquainted with the lifestyle in Latvia in a very pleasant way. The Turaida Museum has a diverse collection in which the culture, traditions, nature and history of Latvia are central. There is also an archaeological exhibition about the castle itself. The castle and the surrounding estate cover about forty-two hectares. Through a treasure hunt you can discover the Turaida castle and the collections in a special way. Especially for children this is a pleasant way to walk around in a museum.
Northeast of the capital Riga lies the town of Cesis. The old center of Cēsis is often visited for its historical character. There is the medieval Cēsis castle ‘Cēsu viduslaiku pils’ from the thirteenth century, an Orthodox church, the medieval basilica Svētā Jāna baznīca and of course many romantic and nostalgic streets, squares and parks.
#10. Fort of the Livonian Order
The thirteenth century defensive fortress of the Livonian Order played a major role in the survival of Latvia. The fortress of the Livonian knighthood is located in the large port city of Ventspils. For centuries all kinds of bloody battles have taken place here between knights and other warriors. Eventually the fort was even used as a prison. Today, this location houses a museum with information about the castle, the town of Ventspils and the harbour. Concerts are also regularly organized.