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Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum
One of the oldest and largest open-air museums in Europe is located on the banks of Lake Jugla, just a 30 minute drive from downtown Riga.
This museum is unique when compared to similar museums around the world with the fact that it began to collect its exhibitions before the war, and thus many of its exhibition objects are in very good condition. 118 historical buildings from all four of Latvia’s provinces – Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale and Latgale, have been put on display at the museum. The buildings range in age, and most of them were originally constructed between the 17th century up all the way up until the 1930s.
View the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum’s extensive exposition!
The Open-Air Museum offers:
- The only place in Latvia where it is possible to view the similarities and differences of how people used to live in the various historical regions of Latvia
- Find out in what type of saunas Latvians used to wash themselves, how people decorated their farmsteads and what type of blankets the Latvians of old wove to cover their beds
- Gain a rich insight into the traditional Latvian farmstead included in the Latvian Cultural Canon
- Take a stroll through traditional farmsteads and dwelling houses of farmers, craftsmen and fishermen, view everyday objects used during the time, see how people historically decorated their properties, as well as how people made a living
- Get acquainted with the farmsteads of the Russian Old Believers in Latgale, and the coastal fishing villages of the Liivs in Kurzeme
- View historical churches of the various faiths present in Latvia
- By booking ahead, it is possible to view and find out about the museum’s collection not on display, as well as its extensive archives
- The perfect place for a leisurely stroll in the fresh air
- It is possible to get acquainted with the museum’s buildings and farmsteads beforehand by using the museum’s OpenEthnoLV app.
- View the work of traditional craftsmen and try-out first-hand molding pottery, weaving baskets, making honey or forging coins, or participate in traditional games the Latvians of old used to play
- Visit the various events organized by the museum as well as the Nationwide Traditional Arts and Crafts Fair, which has been organized annually for over 45 years
- Enjoy the many annual festivals celebrated by the Latvians, all rich in tradition
- Enjoy a hearty Latvian meal
- The children can play in the museum’s playground
- Enjoy the beautiful scenery, as the museum is located in a majestic pine forest on the banks of Lake Jugla
- In the winter, people can go cross-country skiing through the park or take sled rides down the park’s hills, as well as try-out some ice fishing in the lake enjoy everything Latvian nature has to offer
Establishment of the museum
The decision to establish the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum was made by the Education Ministry’s monuments board in 1924. The museum opened its doors to visitors in 1932 with the first open-air exhibition in the Baltics – Vidzeme farmstead.