You are here

7 Roads for Deeper Insight into Latvia

15.11.2016

In 2018 the state of Latvia will celebrate its 100th birthday. Today not only local citizens but also tourists - foreign visitors have an opportunity to gain deeper insight into the history of Latvia. 

The concept of the tourism dedicated to the 100th birthday of Latvia i.e. LV 100 is based on idea about 7 statehood roads running through all our land by revealing some sufficient factors in the establishment of the state for each person.

Names of the roads are symbolic and pleasing to the ear: the Liv Road,  Jacob Road, Freedom's Way, Baltic Way, Daugava Road, Path of Light and Mara's Road.

The Liv Road invites to go to the sea coast where Livi i.e.

Libiesi have been living even since the 10th century. Strong and brave seamen - these are the roots on the basis of which Latvian people has been developed during the centuries. Nowadays on the coast of Livi successor of Libiesi may be met who have knowledge of ancient language. In this place there are the oldest lighthouses in Latvia, with the one at Ovisi still serving as a star that shows the route for seaborne ships that are heading for Rīga.

The Jacob’s Road is denominated in memory of the 17th century when in the large part of Latvia - Kurzeme and Zemgale - legendary Duke Jacob ruled. The Duke established great navy, developed active trade with the Western Europe and established colonies in Tobago and Gambia. Range of produced goods was so wide and various that even navy of the Queen of England used hemp ropes of Kurzeme. 

When taking the road leading from the city of Zemgale - Jelgava to picturesque small city of Kurzeme - Kuldiga with the widest waterfall in Europe, we should remember about quick-minded Duke Jacob who even now certifies - with smart management you can become wealthy!

The Daugava Road connects Riga with picturesque small town in Latgale region - Kraslava. The Daugava River that we also call the River of Destiny and the Daugava of our Hearts like a large and full-blooded artery of water flows through our land and history It was used by the Vikings already in the 5th century.

In the 13th century German Bishop Meinhard together with the Knights-Commissioners arrived by the Daugava River to the territory of Latvia in order to bring Christianity to pagans. During many centuries from the East the flow of goods was provided by Daugava to Riga where these goods were reloaded into ships and transported by the sea to the West.

Nowadays on the shore of Daugava the Garden of Destiny (Likteņdārzs) has been developed - unique place where the past, present and future of the Latvian people meet. 

The Baltic Way was unique action not only at the Baltic level but even at international level. Citizens of three states joined their hands in a chain of participants in order to link the capital cities - Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. In the evening of August 23, 1989 the historical moment happened that connected approximately 2 million people. The aim of the event was to draw attention and recall events that happened 50 years before - the conclusion of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact by which the Baltic states lost their independence.

In Latvia approximately 600 km long chain of participants marked the Baltic Way from Bauska to Riga, and then on to Sigulda, Cesis, Valmiera and Rujiena. The route historically was used in the 14th century and even earlier. Castles and fortresses were built alongside it and there was active economic life about which many vivid evidence have remained.

The Path of Light heads to the city of Vidzeme region Aluksne on the shore of splendid Aluksne Lake. It is the place where the pastor Ernst Gluck finished his lifelong work - translation of the Bible into Latvian in the 17th century. In Aluksne he also established the first school in Vidzeme for Latvian children.

Nearby the pope's manse oaks planted by Ernst Glück are still growing by certifying symbolically that in Latvia the trade routes distributed not only goods but also knowledge and culture, everything new an unknown at that times. 

In the Parth of Light a special place is Piebalga where important cultural area of Latvians has been developed. Many distinctive writers, figures of the Latvian National Awakening and public sector came from that place.

The Mara's Road runs on picturesque land enriched with rivers and lakes. Terra Mariana or Mara’s Land that in the 13th century after the establishment of the Livonian state the pope of the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the holy Virgin Mary.

The road Ludza-Rezekne-Daugavpils is ancient trade road section that connected current Vilnius and Kaunas with Pskov but Saint Petersburg with Warsaw.

Rezekne is also called the Heart of Latgale as it has been the centre of culture and education in the Eastern Latgale at all times. The city is adorned by the monument to Mara of Latgale. Despite the fact that in the course of years in this region with rich cultural and historical heritage sufficient changes have taken place, the monument to Mara and gathering of Catholics on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are still essential symbols of the land of Mara.

The Freedom's Way from Riga to Liepaja through Jelgava, Dobele, Saldus, Skrunda, Durbe and Grobina invites to return not only to the history of ancient time but also to the history connected with the establishment of the state of Latvia in 1918 and Freedom Fights in order to safeguard the new state.

Starting point of the road is the National Theatre in Riga where in very difficult historical situation the state of Latvia was proclaimed to be independent, free and democratic.

Destroyed order created a huge counterweight and Latvia was attacked by enemies from all sides. The new state, perhaps, cannot have enough strength to fight against such tremendous power and win. Unless, it happens! During the Freedom Fights bitter battles took place almost in all Latvia and it like a heavy wave headed to Liepaja.

At all times Liepaja was important ice-free port in the Baltic Sea Region  where navies of Czarist Russia were located for decades. Now in Liepaja War Port there is the only military prison open to the public in Europe but the city itself has become a favourite place to visit for tourists.

In order to assist tourists in taking to peculiar LV 100 insight roads, in web page in its homepage the Country Tourism Association "Lauku Celotajs"  offers complete, suitable for downloading routes of all 7 roads with descriptions of worth-seeing objects in Latvian, English, German and Russian.

Moreover, links to 53 Latvian heritage objects will be also useful where tourists may learn about keepers of Latvian traditions, masters of various crafts, local food producers, etc.

For more information visit www.celotajs.lv