Military Heritage in Kurzeme


During the Soviet era, Latvia was the western border of the USSR, and that made it a strategic location in which lots of military resources were concentrated. During the Soviet occupation, there were more than 1,000 Soviet military units in Latvia, and they controlled some 600 facilities equalling to more than 10% of the territory of the Latvian SSR. In other words, Latvia was behind the Iron Curtain for nearly half a century. Border guard posts, tank bases, aviation bases, military airfields, storage facilities for weapons and munitions (including nuclear missiles), military espionage facilities and other, similar entities were mostly centred on the shore of the Baltic Sea, where there was a special frontier regime. It was just 20 years ago that people were allowed to be on the beach only during sunlight and in very limited areas. Sand on the beach was always ploughed, and giant spotlights lit up the shoreline to seek out border regime violators who were more imagined than real. There were border guard towers all along the shore, with military personnel monitoring every step that local civilians took. Along the roads in the seaside regions, there were guard posts which one could pass only with special (and temporary) passes.

Several unique objects have survived since the Soviet era. For instance there is nothing similar to the Irbene radio telescope for several thousand kilometers. By contrast, the unique Skrunda radar station, alas, was blown up, and Soviet submarines were cut up into scrap.

(4 days, ~700 km)

This tour info is provided by rural tourism association "Lauku ceļotājs" | www.celotajs.lv

Included sights

Last updated: 20.06.2012