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Military heritage in Latvia
Latvia offers its guests various military heritage sites, including museums, fortifications, military equipment sites, paths, bunkers, battlefields, military towns, infrastructure sites, memorials that tell a story about the military heritage of Latvia.
For more information about military heritage tourism in Latvia, visit militaryheritagetourism.info/lv!
- Daugavpils Fortress is the only early 19th century fortress in Eastern Europe that has been preserved with hardly any changes;
- Castle in Bauska, a town on the border between Latvia and Lithuania. Only the ruins have remained of the older Livonian Order castle built in the mid-1400s; however, the more recent residence of the Dukes of Courland, built in the late 16th century, still exists and is used as the town’s museum;
- Ventspils Livonian Order Castle: Latvia’s oldest medieval castle, built in the latter half of the 13th century;
- Ventspils Mazbānītis is the only 600 mm narrow-gauge railway preserved as a cultural historic heritage site in the Baltics, unique in the fact that it represents both military and industrial heritage. Its historical rolling stock, cultural historic environment, as well as entertainment events organised here serve as an attraction for tourists;
- Zvārde bombing range is one of the sites to visit when travelling around Kurzeme. There, you can take a close look at the control tower of the range, a historic object in its own right, as well as the cultural historic sites destroyed at the range. A few cultural historic sites can be found at the former bombing range: Zvārde church ruins, Ķerkliņi church ruins, Rīteļi graveyard, Sudmaļi (Jurģi) windmill, Striķi manor compound, Stūri park;
- An old fortification tower in Riga, the Powder Tower, housing Latvia’s biggest history museum today;
- Tīreļpurvs marsh and Ložmetējkalns (Machine gun Hill) is one of the best-preserved First World War battlefields in Europe;
- Nāves sala (‘Island of Death’) is a Great War battle site near Riga. On 25 December 1916, Latvian riflemen fought a battle there against numerically superior and better-equipped Germans. The site can only be accessed by boat;
- Unique Karosta naval base complex in Liepāja, whose visitors can look at the Northern Forts, which is a part of the city fortifications built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as Europe’s only military prison that is open to tourists;
- Kurzeme fortress museum with its First and Second World War exhibitions;
- Collection of military bicycles at Saulkrasti Bicycle Museum, which includes bicycles used in Latvia at different times by five different armies;
- Radio telescopes in Irbene: one of the most secret sites of the Soviet Army, which it used to listen in to NATO communications. Two of the three radio telescopes have been repurposed for astronomical use, while the Zvaigznīte military town near the facility has been a ghost town for decades;
- Secret Soviet bunker in Līgatne, built in the 1980s for the needs of the political elite to govern the country in the event of a nuclear war. The bunker still has its original underground equipment;
- The impressive nuclear missile base at Zeltiņi, in the northeast of the country, offers its visitors missile storage hangars, launching devices, bunker and underground tunnel systems, as well as residential buildings. This is also the only place in Latvia where you can find a stone sculpture of Lenin’s head out in the open.