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Latvia museums

October 21, 2017

Lat open airLatvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum Address Brīvības gatve 440, New town Phone tel: 2799 4515 (info)  Web

Located way out on the outskirts of the city, the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is a Rīga essential. The dozens of farmhouses, churches and windmills on the grounds provide a record of bygone country life. The National Fair of Applied Arts (early June) and several festivals are held here. Take bus No 1 from the corner of Merķeļa iela and Tērbatas iela to the Brīvdabas muzejs stop.

Original Latvian farmhouses and the dwellings of fishermen and craftsmen were brought here from all over the country. During the summer, folk music festivals and handicraft markets take place in the museum.

You can buy original and affordable souvenirs made from wood, leather and amber, directly from their artisans. The open-air museum is the ideal place for family holydays, and shady, summery picnics.

The extensive, park-like grounds demonstrate how Latvia’s countryside looked in previous centuries. It features wooden houses (dwelling houses, windmills, barns) from all over Latvia and often hosts traditional craft fairs. The Ethnographic Open Air Museum, founded in 1924, is located in a vast pine forest on the shore of Lake Jugla, spreading over more than 100 hectares of territory. Being the biggest museum in Latvia and one of the oldest open-air museums in Europe it has a rich collection of more than 90 historical structures. There are authentic Latvian dwellings, peasant houses, churches and windmills – gathered from all over the country to represent life in Latvia between the 16th and 19th centuries. Eighteen craftsmen (bee-keepers, weavers, potters and others) work there during the summer, creating beautiful handicrafts and souvenirs made of natural materials. These can be purchased at both museums and Riga city craft fairs. Summer folk and organ music festivals have also become regular. This is a good place for a day out with the whole family. Food can only be bought in the summer.

Lat fireFire-fighting Museum of Latvia

This museum is situated in a fire-station which was built in 1911 in the Art Nouveau architectural style.

The museum collection reflects the history of fire fighting from the second half of the 19th century until now, and displays include fire-fighting equipment, flags, uniforms, photographs and documents.

Working Hours: 10:00-17:00, Mon, Tue – closed. Address: Hanzas 5 Old Town Phone: +371 733 13 34 WWW:

Lat natureMuseum of Nature

This museum was founded in 1845, and its expositions deal with both the Latvian and international natural worlds. The exposition is divided into six sections: Geology, Botany, Zoology, Anthropology, Nature Protection, and Palaeontology.

The museum also showcases occasional revolving exhibitions on various nature related topics.

Working hours: 10:00-17:00, Thu: 10:00-18:00, Mon, Tue – closed. Address: Kr.Barona 4 Location: In the centre (5-15 minutes’ walk from the Old Town) Phone:+371 735 60 23 Fax: +371 735 60 27 E-mail: WWW:

Lat medicineThe Pauls Stradins Museum of Medicine Address: Antonijas 1 Location:

In the centre (5-15 minutes’ walk from the Old Town) Phone: +371 722 26 56 Fax: +371 721 13 23 E-mail: WWW:

The exposition of the museum reflects the history of both Latvian and global medicine and pharmacology.

You can see historical medical machinery and results of unusual and macabre experiments, such as the dog with two heads exhibited.

Working Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 11:00-17:00,Thursday 11:00-19:00, Sun, Mon and every last Friday of month- closed.

Lat decorativeMuseum of Decorative & Applied Arts Address Skārņu iela 10, Old Town Web

The absorbing Museum of Decorative & Applied Arts, in a restored 13th-century church, presents an eccentric melee of Latvian textiles, china and tapestry.

Lat historyMuseum of the History of Rīga & Navigation Address Palasta iela 4, Old Town Web

The Museum of the History of Rīga & Navigation is in a cloister next to Dome Cathedral. The gruesome mummified hand f a criminal and the 16th-century executioner’s sword are highlights.

This is one of the oldest museums in Europe and it deals with the history of Riga from its foundation to 1940.

The museum has a wealth of interesting materials in it’ s 1918-1940 section, which showcases the everyday life of Latvians during the years of the First Republic.

Working hours: 10:00-17:00, Mon, Tue – closed.

Lat occupationMuseum of the Occupation of Latvia Address Strēlnieku laukums 1, Old Town Web

Behind the big, dark-red Latvian Riflemen statue, in a controversial bunker – at one point slated to be razed for its ugliness – is the Latvijas okupācijas muzejs, or Occupation Museum. It gives an impressive account of the Soviet and Nazi occupations of Latvia between 1940 and 1991. It is both informative and disturbing.

Both the Soviet and Nazi occupations of Latvia during the last 65 years are chronicled in the chilling yet spirited Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. A gaggle of young tour guides gives free tours in English, and there’s also a worthwhile one-hour audio guide available. Here you can also buy historical books on the occupation and dissident memoirs translated into English.

A visit to the interesting Museum of the Occupation of Latvia should not be missed. The museum is in the south-western part of the Old Town, a few seconds walk from St. Peter’s Church – right next to the impossible-to-miss House of Blackheads. The exhibits in Latvian, Russian, German and English will teach you more about the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Latvia from 1940 to 1991, and what the Latvian people went through during these years. Walk into a reconstructed gulag barracks, and get an idea of living conditions in a Siberian labour camp. There’s a small book shop in the lobby. The museum is open 11 – 17 (18 in summer) – closed Mondays between October – April, open daily in the summer months. Entry is free, but a donation is of course appreciated. There’s a donation box by the entrance, and several inside the museum.

Lat artNational Museum of Art Address K Valdemāra iela 10a, New town Phone tel: 2732 4461 (info) Web

Across the Esplanāde park is the National Museum of Art, where pre-WWII Russian and Latvian art is on display among the Soviet grandeur of ruched net curtains, marble columns and red carpets.

Riga motorRiga’s Motor Museum

Despite its inconvenient location, this museum is worth visiting. It’s the only car museum in the former USSR, and it is included on the list of the world’s 30 best technical museums and is among Europe’s Top-5.

The collection of the museum includes automobiles and motorcycles that were assembled in the beginning of the 20th century, as well as sport and war vehicles, and Breznev and Molotov’s limousines.

Working Hours: 10:00-18:00, Closed on State Holidays  ddress: Eizensteina 6 Location: Suburbs (car recommended) Phone: +371 709 71 70 WWW:

This museum should not be missed by true lovers of old cars and motorbikes. It boasts the collection of old Rolls Royces and BMWs as well as Soviet automobiles. The wax figures of Stalin and Brezhnev, the cars they once owned and much more. All sorts of antique car exhibitions take place here. Photo exhibitions also take place in the museum from time to time.

LatrailwayThe Railway Museum

The museum was founded in 1994 and is situated in a former 19th century locomotive factory. The exposition includes examples of uniform, road equipment tickets and train timetables. There is also a working model of a railway station, where the train goes round and whistles to the delight of children.

Real steam-engines are situated outside, and include both German and Soviet passenger and armoured cabins, shallow-line railway platforms, snow-machines and a hand car. Unfortunately, none of these have been restored.

Please note that this museum requires its visitors to book their visit beforehand by phone.

There’s also a branch of this museum in Jelgava (Stacijas 3, phone: 584 24 94)

Working Hours: 10:00-17:00, Sun, Mon, Tue – closed.

Tickets: 0,50 Ls for school students, 0,20 Ls for pensioners. Model demonstration – 1 Ls. Address: Uzvaras bulv. 2/4 Location: Close to the centre (easily reached by public) Phone: +371 723 25 11 E-mail: WWW:

Lat hornsMuseum of Horns & Antlers

There are 518 elk antlers to be seen in the Museum of Horns & Antlers – the collection from one man’s lifetime of work as a forest warden in the national park (none are hunting trophies). Outside, antlers hang from the street signs. Vaide is on the Livonian coast, nestled among a wilderness of sea, sand and breathtakingly beautiful beaches and pine forests.

PowderThe Powder Tower

First mentioned in 1330 as the Sand Tower (Smilšu tornis), this is the only tower from Riga fortification wall that has been preserved. It was the largest tower protecting the land entry into the city – from the side of the Sand Road (Smilšu iela), which was the only land entry into the city bordered by water. In the 17th century it became a gunpowder warehouse and thus gained its current name. Cannonballs were also kept in the three-meter-thick walls. Nowadays, the Museum of War is located in the tower.

Contact Details 20 Smilšu iela, Riga, LV-1050

War Museum Address Smilšu iela 20, Old Town Web

The violent history of this tiny nation is depicted in photos and war relics at the War Museum.

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