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Limbaži and the “Museum of Living Silver”
Limbaži has been named one of the fascinating tourism destinations by the European Destinations of Excellence or EDEN 2017 competitions.
One of the oldest towns in the middle of the beautiful green scenery of Vidzeme lies less than 90 km from Riga. Limbaži was granted city rights in 1385, and the archbishop of Riga himself lived here up until the 16th century.
The Hanseatic League brought times of alacrity to Limbaži, for the historic trade route went straight through the small town in north Latvia.
Even though the times have changed, Limbaži has retained a unique, historical magnetism due to the unchanged planning of the old city centre.
Taking a stroll on foot through the town, the eye is caught by old tower of the fire-fighter depot, built in the traditional historic brick style of the 19th century. The tower overlooks the old town scenery — here lies the most spectacular Orthodox church in Vidzeme, the meticulously renovated supervisors’ house at the castle manor of the Riga City Council, where the city museum is set up, the Limbaži Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in the 17th century, a lovely neighbourhood of 18th century wooden residential buildings, etc.
The crown of tourist attractions, without a doubt, is the “Museum of Living Silver”, unlike any other museum in the Baltic States. The museum was created by the artist and silversmith Oļegs Auzers, who created his first art piece — a wooden sailing ship — when he was just six years old. At first, Oļegs Auzers learnt the craft from experienced local silversmiths, but went on to perfect his trade at the Moscow Institute of Applied Arts.
Being an imaginative and restless spirit, in addition to the brilliant “Museum of Living Silver” Oļegs Auzers has established the “Auzers Jeweller’s school” as well. Wonderful silver artworks are displayed at the museum, and the visitors are invited to explore the crafts of a silversmith.
“The best teacher is the environment, it has everything — colour combinations, different tones, composition and proportions,” the artist tells.
Having a serious background in Eastern medicine and philosophy, Oļegs Auzers also deliberates the healing properties of silver.
The city is increasingly referred to as the city of silver, and not for no reason. Prizes made of silver are awarded at the biennial Limbaži International Accordion Festival. Even the international rowing competition that takes place in Limbaži has been named “The Silver Paddle”, not to mention the great many newly-weds who immortalize their vows on leaves of silver on the Gates of Fortune in the courtyard of the Museum of Living Silver, or create a silver family tree, etc.
If the eyes start to feel a bit dazzled from all that silver glitter, the guests of the city are welcome at bakery Lielezers to discover how completely natural bread is baked. The process is as captivating as a ballet performance.
And those, who wish to enjoy the beauty of the nature, can go for a hike on the Lielezers nature trail just outside of Limbaži. Lake Lielezers is 4 km long, and a wonderful Blue Flag awarded beach lies on the shores of the lake.
Fans of history will take delight in visiting the Limbaži medieval castle ruins and panorama tower. Here is the only place in Latvia where fragments of the unique portcullis have survived. Only one room in the entire castle remains intact, located in the castle basement. A wooden construction marks the place where the archbishop’s apartments used to be.