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Liepaja is also known as the city of wind. The wind blows over the blue waves of the sea, over the the port, the modern architecture and centuries of history to continue on its way all through Latvia.
Liepaja is situated in the south-west of Latvia, 220km from the capital, Riga. The city is surrounded by water on two sides - the Baltic Sea on the west, Lake Liepaja on the east, and a trade channel in the middle connecting both banks. Its proximity to water has also influenced the historical development of the town.
Modern Liepaja originated in the second half of the nineteenth century when the development of railway made industry significant. This can be seen in the modern architecture, where the accents of industrial buildings are still present in the cityscape. The Port of Liepaja provides transit routes.
Liepaja is the third largest city in Latvia in terms of population. It is a regional centre, home to Liepaja University, a theatre, and other cultural and tourist attractions. Liepaja is a place to enjoy art, music and beach activities.
Things to See and Do in Liepaja
Some of the must-see places when passing through:
- Latvian musicians’ alley of fame - an alley featuring bronze plaques of handprints of Latvian musicians and the biggest guitar in Latvia;
- Beach - a sandy eight kilometre-long stretch along the coast of the Baltic Sea. Storms wash up amber - unique, natural souvenirs - along with seashells to the coast;
- Peter’s Market (Petertirgus) - a market created in the 19th century and surrounded by three churches. It is one of the loveliest market pavilions in Europe;
- Art nouveau buildings in the heart of the city.
If you have more time for sightseeing, some must-see places are:
- Karosta (War Port) - created as a military town and fortress of Russian Tsar Alexander III. It was historically an independent area with a port, its own infrastructure, school and church, but nowadays everyone can take a look at the Russian military architecture and spend a night in an authentic War Port prison;
- Mechanical organ - the greatest treasure of the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Liepaja - currently the largest unrefurbished mechanical organ in the world;
- North Pier - 1800m long and 7.35m wide - a significant part of Liepaja’s architecture. When a storm hits, waves breaking against the pier are a reminder of the power of nature, while quiet sunsets on the other hand are calming;
- Creative quarters - art centres with various exhibitions for culture enthusiasts. There are also places to buy or make authentic Latvian souvenirs - jewellery, clothing and interior items.
Events in Liepaja
The Sea Festival in early July offers visitors a chance to get to know the local culture and art life, famous musicians, traditions and delicacies of the sea - smoked fish.
Modern music listeners will enjoy Summer Sound - one of the biggest music festivals in Latvia.
The July festival programme features performances by Latvian and world famous musicians on white sandy beaches on the seaside.
Getting to Liepaja
Liepaja has a bus and train connection with Riga. There is also a bus connection with Palanga and Klaipeda, Lithuania and a ferry connection with Travemunde in Germany. If you have your own private jet, Liepaja International Airport is only five kilometres from the city.