The museum history dates back to 1845 when the representatives of the Baltic German intelligentsia founded the Rīga Nature Researchers Society (Der Naturforscherverein zu Riga) with the museum and the library. The society united the Baltic nature enthusiasts (B. A. Gimmerthal, F. Buhse, A. E. Merkel etc.) whose mission was the research of the local nature, building collections and raising the profile of natural sciences among the general public.

  • Natural History Museum of Latvia

The basis for the newly-established museum was the first collections donated by the museum founders. In the museum of the Rīga Nature Researchers Society, the most complete collections of Baltic animals, plants and minerals were accumulated and researched in addition to a varied material from abroad. Moreover, the Himmsel Museum (one of Europe's first public museums), which was donated to the Rīga City Council by the Himmsels, a family of doctors and pharmacists, already operated in Rīga since 1773.

In 1972, the Nature Museum of the Latvian SSR took part in the foundation of the USSR section of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and the museum director worked in the section office. In 1981 the museum launched the publication of a collection of articles "Nature and Museum". With the opening of a nature conservation unit and an exposition in 1976, the museum started a new direction in its work, which has grown into diverse environmental education efforts.

The museum keeps a number of various natural history collections containing 183 000 specimens related to the nature of Latvia and of other regions in the world. Since 1999, the museum operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment. The museum structure includes 6 exposition units, a collections unit, exhibitions and information unit, a taxidermy lab, a library and a photography lab.

In 2001 the museum installed a local computer network with 32 workstations. In order to carry out a vast educational programme, the museum puts together new collections on nature in Latvia and in the world and supplements the existing ones; it also works to raise awareness of the need to protect nature and use its wealth in a sensible manner.

56"56'59 24"7'5
56.949654, 24.118107
  • Languages spoken: 
    • English
    • German
    • Latvian
    • Russian
  • Admission fee: 
  • Payment methods: 
    • Cash
    • Credit/debit card
  • Exhibitions
  • Guide service available
  • Themed events
Amenities and Features: 
  • WC
Working Hours: 

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10:00 – 19:00; Thursday 10:00 – 18:00; Sunday 10:00 – 16:00
Permanent expositions closed from 12 June to 18 August

Last updated: 21.02.2014

The information on the origins of St. John's Church in Rīga found in various research papers and reports is in fact only hypotheses about when the first church was established, under what circumstances it was built and how the building actually looked: there is no historical documentary evidence to that effect. 

The origins of the church are traditionally related to the chapel of Bishop Albert's castle first mentioned in written sources in 1209 that, according to the conventions of that period, should have been located in the eastern end of the building's second floor.

On 8 September 1234, at the request of the Papal Nuncio William of Modena, Bishop Nicholas put "the stone castle with respective allotments by the River Rīdziņa" at the disposal of Dominicans, thus establishing a mission of this order in Rīga. It was an order of preacher friars, which, under the regulations of the General Chapter of Rome of 1222, could possess no property, except monastery and church buildings. Only in 1425 the Pope permitted Dominicans to acquire real estate and secure sources of income.

In 1234 the castle chapel was consecrated as St. John's church, dedicating it to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. This event is supposed to prove the hypothesis that the St. John's Church draws its origins from the chapel of Bishop Albert's castle in Rīga.  

The first St. John's church was built between 1234 and 1297; it must have been a "dark and confined little church" without a belfry and a transept. We can only have an approximate idea of the shape, place and dimensions the predecessor of the St. John's Church had: the building has been reconstructed a number of times and has long ago lost the austere and robust lines characteristic of the early 13th century architecture.  

Yet another open question is whether St. John's Church has indeed originated from the enlarged chapel in Bishop Albert's castle, because its location in the south eastern end of the castle and the limited funds of the Dominicans are rather speculations as to the reason why the monks acted in a certain way than documentary evidence.

The Goethe-Institute is a cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. We promote knowledge of the German language abroad and actively foster international cultural cooperation.

We are striving to convey a comprehensive picture of Germany by providing information on Germany's cultural, social and political life.
Through our network of Goethe-Institutes, Goethe Centres, cultural societies and reading rooms, alongside our examination and language learning centres, we perform the principal tasks of cultural and educational policy abroad. We work in partnership with public and private cultural bodies, the German federal states and municipalities, and the corporate sector. We draw on the rich variety of our many-faceted open society and Germany's lively culture. We combine the experiences and conceptions of our partners in Germany and abroad with our professional skills and engage in a dialogue rooted in partnership. In doing so, we function as service providers and partners for everyone taking an active interest in Germany and the German language and culture, and act independently with no political affiliations. We face the cultural policy challenges of globalisation and develop innovative concepts for a world made more human through mutual understanding, where cultural diversity is seen as an asset.

In May 1990, the Republic of Latvia declared its independence. In 1992, the Goethe-Institut commenced its work in Rīga as the first Goethe-Institute in the Baltic States. The Goethe-Institut in Rīga has two principal tasks: to promote the German language learning and to strengthen German-Latvian cultural cooperation.

Beside German language courses, the Goethe-Institut Rīga organises a number of various cultural events: conferences, colloquiums, lectures, discussions, film shows (with seminars), photography and art exhibitions, theatrical performances, dancing, creative workshops and concerts. Well-known German and Latvian artists and scholars have taken part in these events. Newspapers, radio and television have closely followed the work of the Goethe-Institut in Latvia. Ever since the Goethe-Institut launched its activities in Rīga, the institute has offered all-round information and discussion opportunities and promoted a manifold image of Germany and its culture through a diverse range of topical programmes,.

The library of the Goethe-Institute Rīga provides information on the cultural, social and economic life in Germany. The offer comprises printed sources and audio-visual materials, including the leading daily and weekly newspapers. By means of an electronic catalogue, it is possible to get information on all the media offered. The visitors also have access to online databases. Further information is offered by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Rīga on its website.

The Goethe-Institute Rīga regularly runs creative workshops and teacher training seminars for teachers of German as a foreign language. We offer a programme of tailor-made German language courses gathering up to 1000 participants on a yearly basis. This offer also includes an extensive programme of German language proficiency exams.

In 1818 the estate was bought by Baron Adolf von Wulff. Gaujiena remained the in the possession of the von Wulff family for 100 years, during which more than 16 buildings were put up and the park laid out over an area of 12 hectares. The complete manor ensemble took shape during the 19th century and in the early 20th century, and consisted of 30 buildings and structures, 17 of which have been retained in good condition and are in practical use.

The oldest building of the ensemble is the granary, built in 1788, and the spirits distillery. Around 1830 the steward’s house was put up, but in 1838 – the dwelling house for manor people was built. So was an auxiliary building with a ramp leading to the top floor, called "the sprinkle-house", as the south end of the building was adjusted to the needs of the Gaujiena voluntary fire-fighters' society, Wolf established in 1886. The estate also had the house of an equerry-coachman, the coach-house, the gardener's cottage, hothouses, the ice cellar and the brewer's house, near which also today the travellers can refresh themselves with the clear water from the Lion Mouth spring.

The newest and the most beautiful building in the manor complex is the so-called new palace, built by Baron Julius von Wulff in 1850. It is built in the Classicism style and decorated with columns. Many rooms on the ground floor have retained their original parquet floors. The interior of the hall has a number of distinctive features; the chapel has retained the ceiling painting. The parade entrance staircase is guarded by two sleeping lions. Since 1922 the house has accommodated the Gaujiena Secondary School.

"Belinda" is one of the oldest and largest companies in Latvia’s amber market. The company has more than ten years experience in selling amber and manufacturing amber jewellery. Not only has the company reached a high level of product quality and service, it has also developed its own style in amber design.

Over the last five years, the company has also been working outside Latvia, attracting customers from Europe, the USA and Russia.

Jewellery design combines amber with other materials – silver, gold, pearls, corals, crystal and gemstones. There is certainly also classic jewellery of pure amber. New techniques for processing amber, for instance, heating and polishing, have yielded new and interesting results.

Apart from jewellery items, the company also manufactures interior design articles with elements of amber. Those vary from smaller objects, for example, lamps, clocks, furniture details, finishing materials like wall and floor tiles of amber, amber windows and amber sculptures. Amber elements in decoration not only add to the artistic qualities of the interior but also create a warm and peaceful atmosphere. In the Amber Museum you can find inspirational interior decoration ideas.

Cesis City history dates back to 800 years distant past. It relates to Cesis Medieval Castle around which in 13th century the city developed.
Castle through the centuries has shared its fate with Cesis in fights against the Russian, Polish and Swedish armies.

Repeatedly rebuilt and expanded, Cesis Medieval castle got its present architectural form at the end of 15th century and early years of 16.century.

Moat and three broad fore-castles surrounded by strong stone walls made it difficult to access the Castle. Well-fortified castle got its first serious damage during the Livonian War (1558-1583), but since the beginning of Great Northern War since 1703rd Castle was abandoned and no longer was used for military purposes. Today Cesis Medieval Castle is impressive witness of Cesis town history and it attracts visitors with its medieval architecture and romantic features.

After receiving candlelight lanterns at Castle visitor’s center, you are ready to visit the Castle! Magnificent view from the Westerns tower overlooks the castle, the castle park, the city and its surroundings. Do not miss the Southern tower, which is externally most decorative castle tower. By climbing down to the basement, you can also visit the medieval castle prison!

Come over and enjoy the unforgettable atmosphere of the old Kukšu manor house. The time has stopped its pace here for you to feel the spirit of many centuries.

Gorgeous carpets, sparkling chandeliers, antique furniture, paintings, frescos and magnificent window decorations show you into the unique world of Kukšu manor house.

Kukšu Manor offers delicious local cuisine, using fresh local produce in season. There is no set menu. Meals are made to order, and guests may choose from available products.

Each room of the house has its own story to tell about the former owners and dwellers and of the changing tastes of past centuries.
The aura of the old manor house will surround you in the comfortable guest rooms.
We will be glad to welcome you in Kukšu manor house and ensure your comfort during your stay!

  • Access for disabled people
  • Bicycle rental
  • Boat rental
  • Campfire place
  • Internet
  • Jacuzzi
  • Pets allowed
  • Picnic area
  • Place for tents
  • Place to celebrate
  • Sauna
  • Swimming
  • Workshops and conferences
Member of Rural Tourism Association "Lauku ceļotājs": 

Holidays in a cosy log cottage on the shore of Lake Nirzas, 24 km from Ludza. DBL and TWIN rooms, a living room with a kitchen corner.

2 cottages 15 km from Liepāja, close to the sea. Party or seminar rooms for 15 and 50 people. Picnic sites, playground, miniature golf, sauna and country sauna.

Medical SPA resort in ancient manor house, a subsidiary of a Riga hotel “Gutenbergs” in the countryside.

High standards of service in all fields. Personal attitude, outstanding cuisine, luxurious interiors. SPA complex with different steam baths, sauna, pools, Arctic SPA in open air terrace, mill contrast shower, natural herbal teas, SPA procedures for body and face, manicure, pedicure. Restaurant with sophisticated dishes from ecologic products is available for guests, if not hired for private event. We organize seminars, banquets, weddings and other events. Early reservations will be appreciated.