Just imagine for a moment, where else in such a small territory can one find unusual churches and ancient pagan sacred objects, where else is it possible to try out and participate in ancient traditions and witness something completely modern, where else can one enjoy historic medieval buildings and the unique Art Nouveau architecture of the beginning of 20th century which is unique in the world because it can only be created in a progressive and multicultural environment.
Why is Latvia’s culture so unique? Because of its favourable geographical location, in the last millennium Latvia has absorbed the traditions and experience of, arguably, almost all European or even World nations, at the same time retaining characteristics which are special and unique only to Latvians. For example, the pagan traditions which are followed in almost every family or farmstead, such as Summer Solstice or Līgo when on many hills in Latvia bonfires are lit, around which people sing and party through the shortest night of the year until the dawn rises. Then there are Easter and Christmas – these festivities are celebrated twice, both as a Christian and as a pagan holiday. Latvia simultaneously honours Christian and Hebrew traditions, as well as elements of the German and the Slavic cultures.
The variety of cultures and their peaceful co-existence are exemplified by the fact that in Latvia one can see churches of different confessions – all of them ornate, for example, Catholic (Rīga St. Albert’s Roman Catholic Church, Aglona Basilica), Lutheran (St. Peter’s Church in Rīga), Orthodox (Rīga Christ’s Birth Orthodox Cathedral) churches, and the prayer houses of Old-Believers (Rīga Grebenščikova Old-Believer Church).
Yet this is only a small drop in the sea of Latvia’s history and cultural sites and events. The best way to learn about the rich historic and cultural heritage in depth is in this section. If you are interested in ancient folk traditions (that really can infatuate everyone, even the biggest sceptic), if you are a fan of old castles and historic estates, if you are interested in art and museums, and if you would like to be part of all that to be present at the Song and Dance Festival, then welcome – you are in the right place!