The Northern Fort is a group of defensive fortifications built on the coast of the Baltic Sea before WWI. The remains of the fort, some parts of which were liquidated and some lost to time and erosion, are still an interesting historical sight. This is not only a great place to visit for history lovers but also for anyone who wants to have a more varied and interesting walk along the coastline. The Fort can be visited with the accompaniment of a guide. There is also a fun team game called ‘Escape from the USSR’ offered to visitors – the essence of the game is to work closely as a team to find a friend who has been taken prisoner by Soviet frontier guards and to transport him or her to a submarine.
Kaleju iela 8, Liepaja, Latvia, +371 26369470
Although the exterior of this church might seem a bit bland, it is definitely worth venturing inside. The Holy Trinity Cathedral is the highest point in Liepāja. From the top of its tower visitors can admire wonderful views of the city, girdled by the Baltic Sea on one side and the Liepāja Lake on the other. There are also things to admire inside the church, such as stained-glass windows, very old frescoes and the old clock mechanism inside the tower.
For tourists who want to learn more about the city’s cultural and historical background there is no better place to go than the Liepāja Museum. Not too far from the University of Liepāja and the city center, this museum offers a great collection of classic and modern Latvian art as well as some historical memorabilia. The exhibition features the ancient history of Latvia as represented by unique archaeological artifacts, the history of the city in the Middle Ages, items representing the 19th and 20th centuries, the ethnography of the South Kurzeme region featured through a man’s life course, and the life and art of the wood sculptor Miķelis Pankoks. The museum is home to one of the largest art exhibition halls in Liepāja and hosts new exhibitions on a regular basis.
Karosta Prison is a unique attraction. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but for those who enjoy attractions that are a bit darker, the visit is a must. This Soviet prison will take you back in time with the authentic atmosphere and the fascinating stories of the site, featuring authentic items from war and from the prison. The guides on the site (dressed as prison officers) are very friendly and informative. If you feel adventurous, you can even spend the night as a true prisoner (an unusual hotel, to say the least!) or take the tour being treated like a prisoner. There is also an escape room experience on offer which is complemented by the grim ambiance.
Invalidu iela 4, Liepaja, Latvia, +371 26369470
Who would have thought that Latvia had its own Walk of Fame? This walk, situated close to the city center, allows visitors to get introduced to famous Latvian musicians simply by following the musical notes on the street. The alley is filled with many bronze plaques with hand prints of musicians honoring current and former music bands, a few of which have passed away.
This gorgeous cathedral is a monumental symbol of both the Orthodox Church and the tsarist monarchy. Finished in 1903 and christened by Nicholas II himself, it was at odds with the communist regime during the period of the Soviet occupation in Latvia. The Soviets, however, used it as a warehouse, gymnasium and a meeting hall. Today it is once again an Orthodox house of worship and an architectural gem in the sea of concrete soviet apartment blocks.
Skede Dunes Memorial is a memorial to the Holocaust victims in Latvia located on the coast of the Baltic Sea. It commemorates over 7,500 people who were executed by the Nazis in Skede Dunes in 1941, most of them Jews. The Holocaust memorial was erected in 2005 and is a giant Menorah that tells the story of what happend along with inscriptions and sayings. There is also a separate memorial for the Soviet soldiers. This is a moving piece of history and is informative for tourists since the information boards are provided in a few different languages. The site is located quite far away from the city center so visitors will need a car to get there.
Vecais Kapteinis is situated in a very beautiful old house decorated with a taste for rustic elegance. This is a place for both traditional food and culture. The dining options are varied, including a large buffet and an a la carte menu. The buffet costs €12 per person, for which patrons can eat as much as they like. One of the best things about the restaurant is that every Friday and Saturday it hosts live music performances featuring a variety Latvian and foreign acts.
Opening hours: Mon to Thu and Sun 12-10 p.m., Fri and Sat 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.
J. Dubelsteinaiela 14, Liepaja, Latvia, +371 63 425 522
By Ieva Matiejunaite