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The Most Popular Museums in Latvia

10.03.2017

The top is headed by the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Turaida Museum Reserve and the Rundāle Palace Museum.

Last year, Latvian museums had a very successful year of growth, during which the number of visitors exceeded 3.5 million, i.e. Increased by 10% as compared to 2015.

The number of individual and family visits increased the most rapidly,

and the number of foreign tourists who visited museums in organised groups increased significantly, i.e. by 31,000.

The most popular museum last year was the Latvian National Museum of Art, which accepted over a quarter of a million (262,321) of those interested over 9 months of 2016 (May – December).

Last year, the beautiful building, where the main storage of the works of art of our country is located, was opened to visitors after several years of renovation and reconstruction. The museum has regained its historical splendour and now provides an opportunity to see the gold reserves of Latvian art and simply enjoy the atmosphere of the elegant environment: to purchase valuable souvenirs or have a light meal.

“We see that the motivation and habits of museum visitors have changed; visitors tend to spend more time in the museum, while enjoying new opportunities. We are particularly gratified for the large number of families in the museum, which only proves our offer for families as friendly and accessible”, the Director of the Museum Māra Lāce says.

Traditionally, one of the top tourist destinations of Latvia is the Turaida Museum Reserve, and last year it was visited by an impressive number of interested persons (262,202 visitors). The proximity of Riga plays its role, allowing for reaching picturesque Sigulda and Turaida in just under an hour. However, the content of the Turaida Museum Reserve — nature, live history, tangible and intangible national heritage — is even more important.

The Rundāle Palace Museum has not lost its popularity over time either. After over a half-a-century long restoration, the bright gem of Baroque and Rococo architecture with a wonderful French-style garden keeps fascinating both close and distant guests.   

The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, the Art Museum “Riga Bourse”, the Latvian War Museum, the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum and the Latvian Museum of Natural History are to be mentioned among the most popular museums.

The Riga Motor Museum gained surprisingly fast popularity last year, when it was opened to visitors in the middle of the year after the finishing of the building reconstruction and creation of a new permanent exhibit. Within a short time, i.e. in just a couple of months, the number of Riga Motor Museum visitors already exceeded 115 thousand.

The Bauska Castle Museum, the Seaside Open-Air Museum of the Ventspils Museum and the Cēsis History and Art Museum are to be mentioned among the favourite museums owned by municipality local governments.

The interest in the private-owned Museum of the Occupation of Latvia persists. An opportunity to find out more about the recent tragically cruel period of soviet history attracts both local inhabitants and foreign tourists.

There is a particularly great interest in the exhibition of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia in the so-called Corner House. It provides an opportunity to visit the cells of the internal prison, corridors, the basement and the yard of the most terrifying tool of USSR power — the Cheka (the last official name was the Committee for State Security).