The country of amber and fishing, where life is quiet and measured, where there are a lot of ancient cities and historical sights - all this is about Latvia. Today we invite you to a leisurely stroll of the beautiful Latvian city of Daugavpils, located in the heart of Latvia.
What to look in Daugavpils?
Sights of Daugavpils and its environs are represented by numerous architectural and cultural monuments, among the most famous of them the following can be noted:
- It is best to start the inspection of Daugavpils with fortress Dinaburg (Daugavpils). This serious fortification was built at the beginning of the 19th century and has survived to this day, almost unchanged. Today, like 200 years ago, you can see the facades of buildings in the Empire style, a rampart with 8 bastions, a bridge fortification, a gate and a water tower. Entrance to the fortress is free at any time.
We agree with the statement “It’s better to see once than hear a hundred times!”, So we suggest you go to Latvia to see all the sights, especially since applying for a visa will take a little time.
Having founded the city at the beginning of the 13th century, the Knight-Swordsmen first built a wooden fortress. From this moment begins the history of Daugavpils, through which the trade route from Polotsk and Pskov to the Baltic Sea passed. In 1275, the wooden walls were replaced by stone ones, and the new castle became the residence of the Livonian Order Master Ernst von Ratzeburg. The construction turned into an important stronghold, which helped the Order to deal with the claims of attacking Lithuania Dinaburg and Russian principalities.
The castle was destroyed many times, but the Masters of the Order rebuilt the fort and continued to defend themselves. Finally, in 1577, Ivan the Terrible, who captured Dinaburg, ordered the walls to be demolished to the ground.
Today you can look at the legendary castle that gave rise to Daugavpils in Daugavas Loki Park, where in 1996 the exact layout of the fortress was recreated.
In 1810, Alexander I set out to strengthen the western borders of the Russian Empire in connection with the threat of war with the French. To build a defensive structure in Daugavpils was entrusted to the military engineer E.F. Hekel.
During the war, the building was badly damaged, then it was restored, and in 1833 it was consecrated. However, it was not necessary to talk about the final readiness of the fort until 1878, when the work was finally completed.
During its existence, the Daugavpils fortress managed to stay not only as a place of deployment of a military garrison and military arsenal, but also as a shelter for orphans and soldiers' children, a fire station and a warehouse. During World War II, units of the German army were stationed in the fort and a camp for Soviet prisoners of war was organized.
Currently, the complex of buildings is being restored and landscaped, part of the premises is open for tourists to visit. During the tour you can see several castle gates, an area for parades, outbuildings and residential buildings.
The Daugavpilssky fortress is nominated for inclusion in the lists of World Heritage by UNESCO.
The old center of Daugavpils is built in a single architectural style called "Latgale Baroque". It is impossible not to remember the special shape of the red stone building with decorative elements. The architectural ensemble Jaunbūve, which includes the Orthodox Cathedral and the Catholic and Lutheran churches, is located on Church Hill, and about 80 architectural monuments from different years have been preserved on Rigas Street.
Mark Rothko Center
The building of the arsenal of the Daugavpils fortress, renovated at the beginning of this century, in 2013 was given to fans of art. An art center was opened in the former military arsenal, which was given the name Mark Rothko. A native of Daugavpils, Rothko was a prominent representative of abstract expressionism. It belongs to him the honor of creating the technique of painting the color field. Rothko emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1913. His paintings more than once became the most expensive works of post-war world art, and the artist himself is called one of the most influential American painters of the second half of the 20th century.
Rothko Art Center is the only gallery in Eastern Europe, where the exposition of the works of the eminent countryman is permanent. The museum’s collection contains six paintings provided to the center by descendants of a celebrity.
The museum offers to get acquainted with the work of modern Latvian artists. Exhibitions of their works are held in the former military arsenal with enviable regularity.
In the art center, the building itself and the square in front of it are noteworthy. During the restoration work, restorers were able to maintain the authentic appearance of the building and its architectural elements.
Exposition of the Daugavpils local history and art museum offers its guests to look at genuine objects that tell about the history and culture of the region.
The museum was opened for the first time in 1938, when a collection of finds discovered during archaeological surveys on the banks of the Dviete River and Lake Lubans was presented to all history buffs.
After the war, the exhibition moved to the street. Rigas, and national costumes, ceramics, paintings and other interesting objects and works of art were added to the collection. Today, the museum has more than 90 thousand items. On an excursion you can learn about the most important moments in the history of Daugavpils, starting from the 9th century. BC e. and to this day.
The exhibition “Nature of our land” enjoys great success among visitors, where medicinal plants and representatives of the insect world are offered to their attention. Part of the exposition on nature tells about the species of plants and animals listed in the Red Book.
The museum courtyard hosts outdoor events - performances with the participation of schoolchildren, fairs and exhibitions of works by local artists.
Being the mayor, Pavel Fedorovich Dubrovin decided to set up a park in Daugavpils, where citizens could relax from everyday worries, strolling with their families and enjoying nature. This happened back in 1882. Dubrovin purchased three hectares of land with his own money and carried out the necessary reclamation work on them. During the life of an official and a philanthropist, the park was called Dubrovinsky Garden, and today it is considered one of the most popular attractions in Daugavpils.
During the years of Soviet rule, as was customary, a new name was assigned to the park, and it became the Komsomol garden. Fortunately, in the 90s. of the last century, the historical name has returned, and today in Dubrovinsky Park, like a century ago, people are happy to relax.
There are benches in the garden, fountains are equipped, new paths are laid and a memorial is opened in memory of those killed in World War II. Rare plants planted in the park by Pavel Fedorovich Dubrovin successfully survived all the hardships and turned into the most significant exhibits of the natural museum.
Monument to Dubrovin
In 1967, a pond was concreted in Dubrovin Park and a fountain was built in its place, now equipped with color illumination. In 2007, a monument to the philanthropist was solemnly opened next to the fountain. This happened during the festive events on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the garden.
The sculpture of the mayor who gave people a public park is cast in bronze. The monument was authored by Alexander Tartynov, and the Moscow government sponsored its production and installation.
Dubrovin is depicted as a bulldog walking with his dog. In his right hand he holds a leash in the form of a chain, in his left - a coat. Unfortunately, the vandals removed and stole the chain several times, and the city council had to establish video surveillance of the monument.
The name of the natural park, spread between the cities of Kraslava and Daugavpils, is translated from Latvian as "Bends of the Daugava". Both tourists and local residents come to see the bends of the river, called scientific meanders, and get acquainted with the unique nature of these places.
Latvians decided to preserve the local beauty in 1990, when it was announced that the park would be created. In order that forests and their inhabitants did not suffer, the government even decided to stop the construction of the Daugavpils hydroelectric station.
On the territory of Daugavas Loki are two of the largest cliffs in the republic. The height of the largest is more than 40 m. It offers beautiful views of the bends of the river. Another observation deck is located on the tower in Vasargelish.
Among the attractions of the park, visitors are especially interested in the model of the castle of Dinaburg, Markov and Vecrachinsky settlement, the Old Believer settlement of Slutishki - more than two dozen archaeological and ethnographic sites.
If you love local history and prefer to relax actively even on vacation, go hiking along the Markov trail, located in the vicinity of the village of the same name in the Daugavas Loki Nature Park.
The trail is laid in one of the most beautiful places in the Baltic States. The lower reaches of the Putansky Creek in the Upper Daugava Valley are often visited by landscape photographers. During the walk you look at the picturesque banks of the river and panoramas that open from the cliffs to its bends.
Markov path was laid and landscaped by students and teachers of the local university. On the way you will find places for rest, signs, a toilet and other necessary objects of tourist infrastructure,
The closed route formed by the path is not too long - just a little more than one and a half kilometers. It will take you about two hours to cover the distance, even taking into account stops and photo shoots.
The list of objects that you should pay attention to during the campaign includes Markovskoye settlement, the Daugava Gate, the lowland boulder of the Putansky Creek, Slutish Manor and the Daugava meander circle.
The Old Believer village of Slutishki in Daugavas Loki will be interesting to those tourists who study the local history and lifestyle of the Baltic peasants. It was first mentioned in written documents at the end of the XVIII century.
In Slutishki you can visit the house-museum of the Old Believers and see the old cemetery, preserved from the XVI-XVII centuries. A pottery workshop has been opened in the village, where pottery is still being made. In the last decade of spring, the traditional international festival of arts “Augshdaugava” takes place in Slutishki, in which dancing groups from the Baltic countries participate.
What to see in 1 day
If you have only one day to see the sights, don't be discouraged. This time is enough to see all the most interesting.
- Be sure to visit the fortress and look at the local art center located on its territory.
- Look at the temples of the four faiths and visit the Unity House.
- Take a stroll through Dubrovin Park.
- A pleasant end to the day will be a visit to the local theater.
Daugavpils is a great city for exploring the culture of Latvia. Lovers of long walks will like it here - to all those who are interested in the history of the Baltic country and prefer not to learn it from books. Picturesque nature and memorable architecture will not leave tourists indifferent for many years.
2. Mark Rothko Art Center
It is located on the territory of the Daugavpils fortress, in the premises of the Arsenal. Here are the originals of the paintings by M. Rothko, the founder of the innovative movement of abstract expressionism. He is considered one of the most expensive and sought-after contemporary artists. A separate exposition tells about the life and creative path of the master. Periodically, the art center demonstrates the work of other artists, made in different techniques, as well as exhibitions of cultural and historical content.
3. Unity House
A grand multi-purpose building on one of the central streets was erected in 1936-37. In those days, it was the largest building in the Baltics. Its external appearance is distinguished by rigor and simplicity, and the internal content is striking in variety. It has a number of city institutions - a theater, library, bank, tourist information center, bookstore, restaurant, Center for Latvian Culture. Previously, a swimming pool, a printing house, a hotel and a department store were located.
4. Borisoglebsky Cathedral
The main Orthodox church in the city is the largest and most beautiful in Latvia. It was built at the beginning of the last century on the site of the old garrison church. It is made in neo-Russian style. Able to accommodate up to 5 thousand parishioners. Height - 56 meters. There is a bell tower with 4 bells. The temple is crowned by 10 tower gilded domes. The interior is decorated with a three-tier iconostasis of polished oak. His icons are copies of the works of V. Vasnetsov stored in the Kiev Vladimir Cathedral.
5. Martin Luther Church
Red brick building in the neo-Gothic style. It has an asymmetric layout, the height of a single side tower is 52 meters. The current evangelical Lutheran temple. It was erected in 1893. Over its more than a century of history, it has repeatedly been subjected to significant destruction, robbery and fire. In Soviet times it was used as a granary, warehouse, boxing school. Only in the 90s it was finally restored and transferred to the Lutheran community of Daugavpils.
6. Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
The snow-white temple was founded in 1902, after 3 years - it was consecrated. Made in the style of Latgale baroque. The facade is decorated with two tall towers with crosses and a sculpture of Our Lady. In the 80s, one of the towers suffered from a strong wind, and was subsequently restored. The church is famous for its ancient organ, which was created by the Polish master A. Homan and established in 1908. In 1984, the instrument was restored. It is listed as a monument of national importance.
7. Church of St. Peter in the Wings
The oldest Catholic church in the city, operating to this day. Located in the central part of the city. Built in 1845-48. Originally had a square tower. In the 20-30s of the last century, the building was rebuilt, the facade was equipped with a colonnade and a large dome was built. The church began to resemble partly the eponymous cathedral in the Vatican. In the 70s, the building was in danger of demolition. The Pope himself helped to defend him, to whom the faithful of Daugavpils sent a letter.
8. The Temple Chapel of Alexander Nevsky
This is a small memorial building in the square of A. Pumpur. It was erected on the site of the main Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky, founded in 1864. In the 60s of the last century, it was closed and subsequently exploded. The chapel has a symbolic purpose - to remind of the destroyed temple. It was consecrated in 2003. Has a belfry with a bell weighing 325 kg. Inside the chapel is a small altar with a throne. Divine services are often held here.
9. Museum of Local Lore and Art
One of the largest and oldest institutions dedicated to the history of the Latgale region. The museum was founded in 1938. Its funds include about 90 thousand exhibits dedicated to the nature of the region, ethnography, archeology, archival documents, bonistics, culture and art. There is an art hall of the famous local painter L. Baulin. The museum building, made in art nouveau style, was erected in 1883 and declared a monument of architecture.
10. Shmakovka Museum
Shmakovka is an ancient Latgale strong drink or simply moonshine.The original modern museum was opened in 2016 in one of the premises of the Unity House. Its expositions, including virtual ones, introduce the rich history and traditions of home brewing in Latgale, the types of raw materials, the production process and the impact of the drink on health. The museum holds master classes on making shmakovka and tasting several of its varieties.
11. Museum of military equipment
In the Baltic countries this is the only large collection of armored vehicles. The museum is located in the village of Svente, in a hangar at the Jaunventes private estate. It houses self-propelled artillery mounts, the famous T-34, IS-2 and IS-3 tanks, German armored personnel carriers and self-propelled guns, Gaz and Willis SUVs, Polish and Soviet-made howitzers and guns, and modern armored personnel carriers. All equipment has been restored and is in excellent condition, most of the cars on the go.
12. Shoting plant
One of the oldest munitions factories in Europe. It was founded in 1884, continues to function today. It produces cartridges, shot, buckshot, various types of bullets, lead seals, fishing hooks, etc. A museum has been created at the factory. During the tour you can see the equipment of the XIX century and modern designs, a shot-casting workshop, a unique tower for casting lead with a height of 37 m. The products of the plant can be tested in a shooting range.
13. Latgalian zoo
It began with a small zoological circle, created in 1987 in the basement of the Pedagogical Institute. Today it is a small island of real jungle near the city center, where exotic animals and fish live. Among them are crocodiles, snakes, turtles, piranhas, iguanas, meerkats, possums, guinea pigs, monkeys. The plans at the zoo are to create a walking trail with viewing towers around a nearby swamp, where a gull colony nests.
14. Dubrovinsky park
It was founded at the end of the XIX century by the mayor Pavel Dubrovin. For his personal funds, he bought the wetlands in the center of Daugavpils, drained, planted trees and presented to the townspeople. As a sign of respect, a monument to the great figure was erected in the park. Among other notable objects of the green oasis are a color-illuminated fountain, a pond, and a war memorial. The park is quiet, well-groomed, there are many benches for relaxation, lanterns, flower arrangements.
15. Natural park “Daugavas Loki”
It was organized in 1990 on both sides of the Daugava River. In connection with this event, the construction of a hydroelectric power station was stopped. Area - 120 km 2. It is famous for the largest precipice in Latvia - Verversky, whose height is 42 meters and the width is 400 meters. There are many streams in the park. The local flora is represented by 700 species of vegetation. A third of the area is covered by forests. Among the valuable archaeological sites are Rozalishki castle, Sikelsky, Yuzefovsky parishes, Vecrachinsky and Markovo settlements and others.