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Hotels of Liepāja

A hotel in Liepāja is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Liepāja hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Liepāja are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Liepāja hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Liepāja hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Liepāja have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Liepāja
An upscale full service hotel facility in Liepāja that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Liepāja hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Liepāja
Full service Liepāja hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Liepāja
Boutique hotels of Liepāja are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Liepāja boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Liepāja may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Liepāja
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Liepāja travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Liepāja focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Liepāja
Small to medium-sized Liepāja hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Liepāja traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Liepāja hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Liepāja
A bed and breakfast in Liepāja is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Liepāja bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Liepāja B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Liepāja
Liepāja hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Liepāja hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Liepāja
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Liepāja hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Liepāja lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Liepāja
Liepāja timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Liepāja often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Liepāja on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Liepāja
A Liepāja motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Liepāja for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Liepāja motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Liepāja

Art Nouveau architecture in Liepāja.
Art Nouveau architecture in Liepāja.
Flag of Liepāja
Coat of arms of Liepāja
Coat of arms
Location of Liepāja within Latvia
Location of Liepāja within Latvia
Coordinates:  / 56.51167; 21.01389  / 56.51167; 21.01389
Country Latvia
Town rights 1625
• Mayor Uldis Sesks
• Total 60.4 km (23.3 sq mi)
• Water 10.87 km (4.20 sq mi)
• Total 82,386
• Density 1,398/km (3,620/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code LV-34(01-13); LV-3414; LV-34(16–17)
Calling code +371 634
Number of city council members 15

Liepāja (pronounced [liepaːja]), (German: Libau; see ) is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea directly at 21°E. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region and the third largest city in the country after Riga and Daugavpils. It is an important ice-free port, although its harbour is not deep. In 1875 its population was 10,000 As of 1 July 2011, Liepāja had a population of 83,500.

In the 19th and early 20th century it was a favourite place for sea-bathers with the town boasting a fine park and many pretty gardens, and a theatre. Liepāja is however known throughout Latvia as "City where the wind is born", likely because of the constant sea breeze. A song of the same name (Latvian: "Pilsētā, kurā piedzimst vējš") was composed by Imants Kalniņš and has become the anthem of the city. Its reputation as the windiest city in Latvia was strengthened with the construction of the largest wind farm in the nation (33 Enercon wind turbines) nearby.

The Coat of Arms of Liepāja was adopted four days after the jurisdiction gained city rights on 18 March 1625. These are described as: "on a silver background, the lion of Courland with a divided tail, who leans upon a linden (Latvian: Liepa) tree with its forelegs." The flag of Liepāja has the coat of arms in the center, with red in the top half and green in the bottom.


See also: Names of Liepāja in different languages

It is said that the first settlement at the location of modern Liepāja was known by the name Līva from the name of the river Līva on which Liepāja was located. The name was derived from the Livonian word Liiv meaning "sand". The oldest written text mentioning the Latvian name is said to be dated 4 April 1253. In 1263, the Teutonic Order established a town which they called Libau in German. The Latvian name Liepāja was mentioned for the first time in 1649 by Paul Einhorn in his work Historia Lettica. A Russian name from the time of the Russian Empire was Либава or Либау, although Лиепая, a transliteration of Liepāja has been used since World War II.

Some other names for the city include Liepoja in Lithuanian, Lipawa in Polish and ליבאַװע (Libave) in Yiddish.

Liepāja: History

Liepāja: Early history

It is said that the original settlement at the location of modern Liepāja was founded by Curonian fishermen from Piemare as Līva, but Henry (Henricus Lettus) of Livonia, in his famous Chronicle, makes no mention of the settlement. The Teutonic Order established a town which they called Libau here in 1263, followed by Mitau two years later. In 1418 the city was sacked and burned by the Lithuanians.

Liepāja: Livonian confederation

During the 15th century, a part of the trade route from Amsterdam to Moscow passed through Līva, where it was known as the "white road to Lyva portus". By 1520 the river Līva had become too shallow for easy navigation, and development of the city declined.

Liepāja: Duchy of Courland and Semigallia

In 1560, Gotthard Kettler loaned all the Grobiņa district, including Libau, to Albert, Duke of Prussia for 50,000 guldens. Only in 1609 after the marriage of Sofie Hohenzollern, Princess of Prussia, to Wilhelm Kettler did the territory return to the Duchy. During the Livonian War, Libau was attacked and burnt by the Swedes.

In 1625, Duke Friedrich Kettler of Courland granted the town city rights, which were affirmed by King Sigismund III of Poland in 1626, although under what legal authority Sigismund had is debateable. Under Duke Jacob Kettler (1642–1681), Libau became one of the main ports of Courland as it reached the height of its prosperity. In 1637 Couronian colonization was started from the ports of Libau and Ventspils (Windau). Kettler was an eager proponent of mercantilist ideas. Metalworking and ship building became much more developed, and trading relations developed not only with nearby countries, but also with Britain, France, the Netherlands and Portugal.

In 1697–1703 a canal was cut to the sea and a more modern port was built. In 1701, during the Great Northern War, Libau was captured by Charles XII of Sweden, but by the end of the war, the city had returned to titular Polish possession. In 1710 an epidemic of plague killed about a third of the population. In 1780 the first Freemasonry lodge, "Libanons," was established by Provincial Grand Master Ivan Yelagin on behalf of the Provincial Lodge of Russia; it was registered as number 524 in the Grand Lodge of England.

Liepāja: Russian Empire

Courland passed to the control of the Russian Empire in 1795 during the third Partition of Poland and was organized as the Courland Governorate of Russia. Growth during the nineteenth century was rapid. During the Crimean War, when the British Royal Navy was blockading Russian Baltic ports, the busy yet still unfortified port of Libau was briefly captured on 17 May 1854 without a shot being fired, by a landing party of 110 men from HMS Conflict and HMS Amphion.

In 1857 an Imperial Decree provided for a new railway to Libau, and the same year the engineer Jan Heidatel developed a project to reconstruct the port. In 1861–1868 the project was realized – including the building of a lighthouse and breakwaters. Between 1877–1882 the political and literary weekly newspaper Liepājas Pastnieks was published – the first Latvian language newspaper in Libau. In the 1870s the further rapid development of Russian railways, especially the 1871 opening of the Libava-Kaunas and the 1876 Liepāja–Romny Railways, ensured that a large proportion of central Russian trade passed through Libau. By 1900, 7% of Russian exports were passing through Libau. The city became a major port of the Russian Empire on the Baltic Sea, as well as a popular resort.

On the orders of Alexander III, Libau was fortified against possible German attacks. Fortifications were subsequently built around the city, and in the early 20th century, a major military base was established on the northern edge. It included formidable coastal fortifications and extensive quarters for military personnel. As part of the military development, a separate port was excavated for exclusively military use. This area became known as Kara Osta (War Port) and served military needs throughout the twentieth century.

Early in the twentieth century, the port of Libau became a central point of embarkation for immigrants traveling to the United States. By 1906 the direct ship service to the United States was used by 40,000 migrants per year. Simultaneously, the first Russian training school of submarine navigation was founded. In 1912 one of the first water aerodromes in Russia was opened in Libau. In 1913, 1,738 ships entered Libau, with 1,548,119 tones of cargo passing through the port. The population had increased from 10,000 to over 100,000 within about 60 years.

Liepāja: World War I and War of Independence

Libau's 5 rubles (1915)

Following the outbreak of The Great War the German cruiser SMS Magdeburg shelled Libau, while other vessels laid mines off the approaches to the port. Libau was soon occupied by the German Army, on 7 May 1915, and in memory of this event, a monument was constructed on Kūrmājas Prospect in 1916 (destroyed by Bolsheviks in 1919). Libau's local government issued its own money for a while in this period – Libaua rubles. An advanced German Zeppelin base was constructed at Vaiņode, near Liepāja, with five hangars, in August 1915. On 23 October 1915, the German cruiser SMS Prinz Adalbert was sunk by the British submarine HMS E8, 37 km (23 mi) west of Libau.

With collapse of Russia and the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk the occupying German forces had a quiet time but the subsequent collapse of German Empire and the Allied denunciation of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty changed everything. The Independence of Republic of Latvia was proclaimed in November 18, 1918 and the Latvian Provisional Government under Karlis Ulmanis was created. Bolshevik Russia now advanced into Latvian territory and met little resistance here. Soon the Provisional Government and remaining German units were forced to leave Riga and retreated all the way to Liepāja, but then the Red offensive stalled along the Venta river. A Latvian Soviet Republic was announced. Latvia now became the main theatre of Baltic operations for the remaining German forces in 1919. In addition, a Landeswehr was formed to work in conjunction with the German forces.

In Liepāja a coup organized by Germans took place on 16 April 1919 and Ulmanis government was forced to flee and was replaced by Andrievs Niedra. Ulmanis government found a shelter on steamship "Saratov" in Liepāja port. In May a British cruiser squadron arrived at Libau to support Latvian independence and requested the Germans to leave.

During the war, the words of "The Jäger March" were written in Libau by Heikki Nurmio.

The German Freikorps, having recaptured Riga from the Bolsheviks, departed in late 1919, and with some Polish assistance the Bolsheviks were driven out of the Latvian hinterlands in early 1920.

Liepāja: 1920–1940

During the interwar period Liepāja was the second major city in Latvia. In an attempt to put Libau 'on the map', on 31 January 1922 the Libau Bank was founded with significant new capital, transforming the old Libau Exchange Bank which had belonged to the Libau Exchange Association, and it eventually became the fourth largest of Latvia's joint stock banks. However when a Riga branch of the bank was opened, the business centre of gravity shifted from Liepāja so that by 1923 its Riga 'branch' was responsible for 90% of the turnover. The German consul in Liepāja reported at the time that "Riga, the economic heart of the country, draws all business to itself." The Latvian government ignored the pleas of the Libau Exchange Association to frustrate this. In 1935 KOD (Latvian: Kara ostas darbnīcas) started to manufacture the light aircraft KOD-1 and KOD-2 at Liepāja. However it became evident in this year that trade with the new Soviet Union had virtually collapsed.

Liepāja: World War II

See also: Liepāja massacres
Top secret USSR document about creating a closed military port in Liepāja. Signed by Stalin (note: there is a spelling mistake in the word "Liepāja" – Russian: Лепая) (1951)

The ports and human capital of Liepāja and Ventspils were targets of Joseph Stalin. He signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact in part to gain control of this territory. When the Soviet Union annexed the territory in 1940, it nationalized private property. Many thousands of former owners were arrested and deported to the gulag camps in Siberia.

In 1941 Liepāja was among the first cities captured by the 291st Division of Army Group North after Nazi Germany began Operation Barbarossa, its war against the Soviet Union. German Nazis and Latvian collaborators virtually exterminated the local Jewish population, which had numbered about 7,000 before the war. Film footage of an Einsatzgruppen execution of local Jews was taken in Liepāja. Most of these mass murders took place in the dunes of Šķēde north of the city. Fewer than thirty Jews survived in Liepāja by the end of the war.

During the period 1944–1945, as the Soviet Union began its offensive to the Baltic Sea, Liepāja was within the "Courland Pocket". It was occupied by the Soviet army on 9 May 1945. Thousands of Latvians fled as refugees to Germany. The city had been devastated during the war, and most of the buildings and industrial plant were destroyed.

Liepāja: Latvian SSR

On 25–29 March 1949, the Soviet Union organized a second mass deportation to Siberia from Liepāja. In 1950 a monument to Stalin was erected on Station square (Latvian: Stacijas laukums). It was dismantled in 1958 after the Party Congress that discussed his abuses.

During 1953–1957 the city center was reconstructed under the direction of architects A. Kruglov and M. Žagare. In 1952–1955 the Liepāja Academy of Pedagogy building was constructed under the direction of A. Aivars. In 1960 the Kurzeme shopping centre was opened. During the Soviet administration, Liepāja was a closed city; even local farmers and villagers needed a special permit to enter it.

The Soviet military set up its Baltic naval base and nuclear weapon warehouses there; The Beberliņš sandpit was dug out to extract sand used for constructing underground warehouses. In 1967 the Soviets completely closed the port to commercial traffic. One third of the city was taken up with a Soviet naval base; its military staff numbered 26,000. The 14th Submarine Squadron of the USSR's Baltic Fleet (Russian: 14 эскадрилья ЛиВМБ ДКБФ, call sign "Комплекс") was stationed there with 16 submarines (Types: 613, 629a, 651); as was the 6th group of Rear Supply of the Baltic Fleet, and the 81st Design Bureau and Reserve Command Center of the same force.

In 1977 Liepāja was awarded the Order of the October Revolution for heroic defense against Nazi Germany in 1941. Five residents were awarded the honorary title Hero of Socialist Labor: Anatolijs Filatkins, Artūrs Fridrihsons, Voldemārs Lazdups, Valentins Šuvajevs and Otīlija Žagata. Because of the rapid growth of the city's population, a shortage of apartment houses resulted. To resolve this, the Soviet government organized development of most of the modern Liepāja districts: Dienvidrietumi, Ezerkrasts, Ziemeļu priekšpilsēta, Zaļā birze and Tosmare. The majority of these blocks were constructed of ferro-concrete panels in standard projects designed by the state Latgyprogorstroy Institute (Russian: Латгипрогорстрой). In 1986 the new central city hospital in Zaļa birze was opened.

Soviet-era apartment blocks in Liepāja

Liepāja: 1990–present

After Latvia regained independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, Liepāja has worked hard to change from a military city into a modern port city (again appearing on European maps after the secrecy of the Soviet period). The commercial port was re-opened in 1991, and in 1994 the last Russian troops left Liepāja. Since then, Liepāja has engaged in international co-operation, has been associated with 10 twin and partner cities, and is an active partner in several co-operation networks. Facilities are being improved. The city is the location of Latvia's largest naval flotilla, the largest warehouses of ammunition and weapons in the Baltic states, and the main supply centre of the Latvian army.

At the beginning of the 21st century, many ambitious construction projects were planned for the city, including a NATO military base, and Baltic Sea Park, planned as the biggest amusement park in the Baltic states. Most of the projects have not yet been realised due to economic and political factors. Liepāja's heating network was renovated with the cooperation of French and Russian companies: Dalkia and Gazprom, respectively. In 2008 the Latvian government decided to build the coal cogeneration 400 MW power plant in Liepāja. In 2006, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, a direct descendant of Jacob Kettler visited Liepāja.

Liepāja: Climate

Liepaja's temperature and precipitation distribution

Liepāja enjoys a semi-continental climate noted as "Dfb" in the Köppen classification. The major factor influencing the weather in the region is the Baltic Sea, providing a relatively mild winter for its high latitude (although snowy) and a relatively cool summer. During the winter the sea around Liepāja is virtually ice-free. Although occasionally some land-fast ice may develop, it seldom reaches a hundred meters from the shore and does not last long before melting. The sea warms up fully only in the beginning of August, so the best bathing season in Liepāja is from August to September. Summers are more affected by the marine climate than east-facing cities on similar latitudes in opposite Sweden, but winters are milder than inland areas to the east. Regular meteorological observations in the city have been conducted from 1857.

  • Average temperatures:
  • Absolute minimum of temperature: −33 °C (−27 °F)
  • Absolute maximum of temperature: 34 °C (93 °F)
  • Number of sunny days per year: 196
  • Average speed of wind: 5.8 m/s (13 mph)
  • Average annual norm of precipitation (mostly rain): 692 mm (27.2 in)
  • Typical wind directions: in the winter – southern, in the summer – western.
Climate data for Liepaja
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 7.9
Average high °C (°F) −0.5
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.0
Average low °C (°F) −5.7
Record low °C (°F) −32.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 48.1
Average precipitation days 19.8 15.1 15.6 10.2 10.1 9.9 11.7 13.2 12.3 17.1 18.8 19.6 173.4
Average relative humidity (%) 87.2 85.8 82.8 76.3 75.7 77.4 78.9 78.5 80.5 82.9 87.4 86.9 81.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 34 64 130 187 273 295 279 248 173 103 43 28 1,857
Source #1: NOAA (sun, temperature normals 1961-1990)
Source #2: Weatherbase (precipitation, humidity, extremes)

Liepāja: Geography

Liepāja is situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea in the south-western part of Latvia. The westernmost geographical point of Latvia is located approximately 15 km (9 mi) to the south thus making Liepāja Latvia's furthest west city. Liepāja is situated between the Baltic Sea and Liepāja Lake with residential and industrial areas spreading north of the lake. The Trade Channel (Tirdzniecības kanāls) connects the lake to the sea dividing the city into southern and northern parts, which are often referred to as the Old Town (Vecliepāja) and the New Town (Jaunliepāja) respectively. The city center is located in the southern part and, although called the Old Town, is relatively more developed. Most of the administrative and cultural buildings are found here as well as the main leisure areas. Along the coast the city extends northwards until it reaches the Karosta Channel (Karostas kanāls). North of the Karosta Channel is an area called Karosta which is now fully integrated into Liepāja and is the northernmost district of the city. Liepāja's coastline consists of an unbroken sandy beach and dunes as does most of Latvia's coastline. The beach of Liepāja is not as exploited as other places (e.g. the Gulf of Riga, Jūrmala and Pärnu in Estonia) but also lacks the tourist infrastructure needed for a fashionable, modern resort.

Liepāja: Jūrmala Park

Jūrmala Park (Seaside Park) is located in the western part of the city at the seaside. The park is 3 km (2 mi) long with a total area of 70 ha and is one of the largest planted parks in Latvia. It was developed at the end of the 19th century At the end of Peldu Street are Latvia's largest drums – one of the objects of Liepāja's environmental design which reminds one that Liepāja is the music capital of Latvia. The open-air concert stage Pūt, vējiņi! (Blow, wind, blow!) was built in 1964. It has been the venue for a good many concerts and festivals, with the festival "Liepājas Dzintars" ("Amber of Liepāja") being the most famous among them, as it could be regarded as the oldest rock festival of the former Soviet Union. It was held for the first time in 1968. Alongside the stage is an interesting building, the former Bath House built in 1902 and designed by Max Paul Bertschy. At the beginning of the 19th century Liepāja was a renowned health resort and the Russian tsar and his family had been visiting Liepāja. This all encouraged other aristocrats from Russia and Europe to spend their summers in Liepāja as well.

Beach in Liepāja

Liepāja: Libava fortress

In the beginning of the 20th century, Libava fortress was the most expensive and ambitious project of the Russian army on the Baltic sea. The massive concrete fortifications with eight cannon batteries was built to protect the city and its population from German attacks. Secret underground passages of the fortress became the most famous Liepāja's urban legend.

Liepāja: Districts

Liepāja: Closest cities

The closest city to Liepāja is Grobiņa, located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away towards Riga. Other main cities in the region are Klaipėda (approx. 110 km (68 mi) to the south), Ventspils (approx. 115 km (71 mi) to the north) and Saldus (approx. 100 km (62 mi) to the east). The distance to Riga (the capital of Latvia) is about 200 km (124 mi) to the east. The nearest point to Liepāja across the Baltic sea is the Swedish island of Gotland approximately 160 km (99 mi) to the north-west. The distance to Stockholm is 216 nautical miles.

Liepāja: Architecture and sightseeing

Liepāja is rich in different architecture styles: wooden houses, Art Nouveau buildings, Soviet-era apartments and a number of green parks all contribute to the character of the city. The main areas of interest for tourists include the city center with its many churches, the Seaside park with white sandy beaches and the northern suburb of Karosta, a former secret military encampment which is now a major tourist attraction. Other areas of interest for tourists are Vecliepāja; Ezerkrasts, which is close to Liepāja lake; and the Karosta beaches with their picturesque blasted forts.

Liepāja: Transport

Public transport in Liepāja

The urban transport network of Liepāja relies mainly on buses and minicoaches. As of 2009 there are 12 bus routes and 5 minibus routes in Liepāja. The city also has a single two-way 6.9-kilometre-long (4.3-mile) tram line running through some parts of the city from north-east to south-west, which also provides a vital transport link. The tram line was founded after the opening of the first Liepāja power plant in 1899, which makes it the oldest electric tram line in the Baltic states; it is now operated by the municipal company Liepājas tramvajs. The Port of Liepāja has a wide water area and consists of three main parts. The Winter harbor is located in the Trade channel and serves small local fishing vessels as well as medium cargo ships. Immediately north of the Trade channel is the main area of the port, separated from the open sea by a line of breakwaters. This part of the port can accommodate large ships and ferries. Further north is Karosta harbor, also called Karosta channel, which was formerly a military harbor but is now used for ship repairs and other commercial purposes. Liepāja also welcomes yachts and other leisure vessels which can enter the Trade channel and moor almost in the center of the city. Liepāja has a railway connection to Jelgava and Riga and through them to the rest of Latvia's railway network. There is just one passenger station in the New town, but the railway extends further and links to the port. There is also a northward railway track leading to Ventspils, but in recent decades it has fallen into disuse for economic reasons. The railway provides the main means of delivering cargo to the port. Two main highways, the A9 and A11, connect the city and its port to the rest of the country. The A9 leads north-west towards Riga and central Latvia and the A11 leads south to the border with Lithuania and its only port Klaipėda and to Palanga International Airport. The city also hosts Liepāja International Airport, one of three international airports in Latvia; it is located outside the city limits, north of the Lake of Liepāja near Cimdenieki. Only charter races are available from the Liepāja airport.

Liepāja: Communications

Communication systems in Liepāja are well-developed. The city is connected to the global Internet by three optical lines owned by Lattelecom, TeliaSonera International Carrier and Latvenergo and a radio relay line owned by LVRTC. There are four Lattelecom telephone exchanges and the LVRTC TV station and tower, which transmits four national TV channels, two local TV channels - "TV Dzintare" and "TV Kurzeme" and six radio stations. It has two local cable TV operators with a total number of subscribers about 15000 and three local ISPs. The city also has its own amateur radio community and a citywide wireless video monitoring system. As of 2010, digital terrestrial television is fully operational; mobile television and broadband wireless networks are ready for implementation. All four Latvian mobile operators have stable zones of coverage (GSM 900/1800, UMTS, 2100 CDMA450) and client service centers in Liepāja. The city also has fourteen post offices as well as DHL, UPS and DPD depots.

Liepāja: Economy

Men fish alongside the Tirdzniecības Kanāls (Trade Canal)

In the second half of the 20th century under Soviet rule Liepāja became an industrial city and numerous high technology plants were founded, including:

  1. Mashzavod (Russian: Машзавод, Лиепайский машиностроительный завод)
  2. Liepajselmash (Russian: Лиепайсельмаш) – 1954 (now Hidrolats)
  3. Sarkanais Metalurgs (now Liepājas Metalurgs)
  4. SRZ-29 (Russian: СРЗ-29, 29-й судоремонтный завод) (now Tosmares kuģu būvētava)
  5. LBORF (Russian: ЛБОРФ, Лиепайская база Океанрыбфлота) – 1964
  6. Bolshevik (Russian: Рыболовецкий колхоз "Большевик") – 1949 (now Kursa)
  7. Perambulator factory "Liepāja" (Russian: Колясочная фабрика "Лиепая")
  8. Mixed fodder plant (Russian: Лиепайский комбикормовый завод)
  9. Sugar plant (Russian: Лиепайская сахарная фабрика)
  10. Match factory "Baltija" (Russian: Лиепайская спичечная фабрика "Балтия") – 1957
  11. Ferro-concrete constructions plant (Russian: Лиепайский 5-й завод железобетонных конструкций) – 1959
  12. Oil extraction plant (Russian: Mаслоэкстракционный завод)
  13. SU-426 of BMGS (Russian: СУ-426 треста Балтморгидрострой) (now BMGS)
  14. Lauma (Russian: Лиепайский галантерейный комбинат Лаума) – 1972
  15. Linoleum plant
  16. Shoes factory

After collapse of USSR's centrally planned economy, only some of these plants continue to operate.

Within Latvia Liepāja is well known mostly by coffee brand Liepājas kafija, beer Līvu alus and sugar Liepājas cukurs. In 1997 the Liepaja Special Economic Zone was established for 20 years providing a low tax environment in order to attract foreign investments and facilitate the economic development of Liepāja, but investment growth remained slow due to a shortage of skilled labor force. The main industries in Liepāja are the steel producer Liepājas Metalurgs, building firm UPB and the underwear brand Lauma. The economy of Liepāja relies heavily on its port which accepts a wide range of cargo. The most notable companies working in Liepaja's port are Baltic Transshipment Center, Liepajas Osta LM, Laskana, Astramar and Terrabalt. After joining European Union in 2004, most Liepāja companies was faced with strict European rules and terse competition and was forced to stop production or to sell enterprises to European companies. In 2007 were closed Liepājas cukurfabrika and Liepājas sērkociņi; Līvu alus, Liepājas maiznieks and Lauma has been sold to European investors.

Liepāja: Infrastructure

Liepāja: Roads and bridges

  • Komunālā pārvalde

Liepāja: Electricity distribution and generation

  • Latvenergo
  • Veja parks

Liepāja: Gas

  • Latvijas Gaze

Liepāja: Sewer and water

  • Liepājas Udens

Liepāja: Heating

  • Liepājas Enerģija

Liepāja: Waste management

  • Liepājas RAS

Liepāja: Society and culture

Liepāja: Literature, theater and films

Liepāja currently has one cinema, one theater ("Liepājas teatris"), one puppet theater, and two regional newspapers ("Kurzemes Vārds" with a circulation of about 10,000 and "Kursas Laiks" with a circulation of about 6,500). The city also has several regional Internet portals. Web forums, blogs, computer games and social networking sites are very popular among young people.

Liepāja: Music

Planned Liepāja Concert Hall "Lielais Dzintars"

Liepāja is often called the capital of Latvian rock music. Many famous composers and bands have been inspired by Liepāja, including Līvi, Credo, 2xBBM and Tumsa. In the center of Liepāja there was 1st Latvian Rock Café (now bankrupt) and Latvian Musician's Walk of Fame. The oldest in Latvia pop music festival Liepājas Dzintars was held in Liepāja from 1964 to 2006 presenting bands from Baltic states as well as internationally famous guests. Since 2011 the city is a place of the LMT Summer Sound, the annual music festival with a stages raised directly on the beach. It draws thousands of fans each year. Liepāja is also a place of Organ Music festival and Piano Stars festival, being organized by one of the country's two State Orchestras, Liepāja Symphony Orchestra. There is also Wind Orchestra Liepāja which was founded by Youth centrum and musical school of Emilis Melngailis. This orchestra also made a new tradition, it made international festival called Wind Rhythms which is widely known in between of eastern European wind orchestras.

Liepāja: Sport

Liepāja's Olympic Centre

In 1998 an ice hall was built in the city which has since hosted regular ice hockey games including two youth World championship games. HK Liepāja became champions of Latvian Hockey Higher League in 2015–16 season.

In Liepāja is also located Daugava Stadium and Olimpija Stadium – the home stadiums of FK Liepāja and tennis courts.

On 2 August 2008 a new multipurpose sports arena – Liepāja Olympic Centre was officially opened. It has been established as one of the most modern multipurpose sports and cultural complexes in Latvia. 18 000 m2 large area Liepāja Olympic center five floors located in a wide range of functions gyms for basketball, volleyball, floorball, table tennis, boxing, judo, Greco-Roman and free-fighting, as well as space for concerts, conferences, seminars, performances, banquets, contests, dances, meetings and celebrations. Liepāja Olympic center pool and SPA zone is the largest and most modern swimming pool and SPA center in Kurzeme district with a relaxation zone, water massage, bubble baths, three types of saunas, a water attraction zone for children and two swimming pools. Gross floor area of the building is 3200 m2 on three levels: the 1st floor includes entrance hall, reception, cloakroom, beauty salon. On the second floor you will find changing rooms and massage rooms, but the swimming pools and SPA zone are located on the 3rd floor.

Liepāja is home to the BK Liepājas Lauvas, a professional basketball team.

The city is also a place of international Rally Kurzeme and a chess tournament Liepājas Rokāde.

Liepāja: Tourism and entertainment

Liepāja encourages tourism. The main attraction is the pristine Blue Flag beach with white sand and rolling dunes, but the city also offers a number of historical sites, including Protestant and Orthodox churches and the ruins of military fortifications from the times of the Russian Empire. A surprisingly well-preserved wooden hut was the residence of Russian tsar Peter the Great for some time while he was touring the region in 1697 during the Grand Embassy.

Liepāja: Nightclubs

  • Big7
  • Fontaine Palace
  • Red Sun Buffet
  • EGO Club
  • Pilsētas vārti
  • Mini7

in Summer Red Sun Buffet Beach Bar

Liepāja: Demographics

With 85,345 inhabitants in 2007, Liepāja is the third-largest city in Latvia. Its population has declined since the withdrawal of Soviet military forces; the last of which left in 1994. In addition, many ethnic Russians, emigrated to Russia in 1991–2000. More recent causes include economic migration to western European countries after Latvia joined the EU in 2004, and lower birth rates.

According to the 2017 census, ethnic Latvians make up 55.5% of the population of Liepāja (in comparison, the proportion of native Latvians nationwide is 62.1%). Ethnic Russians make up 30.3% of the population.

Year 1638 1800 1840 1881 1897 1907 1914 1921 1940 1950 1959 1970 1975 1989 1995 2000 2007 2011
Th. people 1.0 4.5 11.0 29.6 64.5 81.0 94.0 51.6 52.9 64.2 71.0 92.9 100.0 114.5 100.3 89.1 85.3 83.4

Liepāja: Religion

See also: Roman Catholic Diocese of Liepāja

Liepāja has a number of churches. As elsewhere in central and western Latvia, Protestant churches, mostly Lutheran are predominant. Holy Trinity Cathedral houses the seat of the Lutheran Bishop of Liepāja. Other Lutheran congregations are St. Anne, Church of the Cross and Church of Luther. There are four Baptist congregations in the city, among them are St. Paul church and Church of Zion.

Owing to the regional importance of Liepāja during the last decades of the Russian Empire, a number of Russian Orthodox churches were established in the city early in the twentieth century. Their congregations are chiefly drawn from the Russian-speaking population.

The Catholic faith is represented in Liepāja by a St. Joseph Cathedral - seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Liepāja, Catholic primary school and the Catholic centre. The structure of the Catholic centre was used to represent the Vatican in Expo 2000 in Hanover and was transferred to Liepāja after the event.

Other Christian sects include Old Ritualists, Adventist, Pentecostal, Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses, who have single congregations and churches.

Liepāja: Government

See also: Liepāja City Council

Fourteen deputies and a mayor make up the Liepāja City Council. City's voters select a new government every four years, in June. The Council selects from its members the Chairman of City Council (also called City Mayor), the two Vice chairmans (Deputy Mayors) which are full-time positions. City Council also appoints the members of four standing committees, which prepare issues to be discussed in the Council meetings: Finance Committee; City Economy and Development Committee; Social Affairs, Health Care, Education and Public Order Committee; Culture and Sports Committee. The City of Liepāja had an operating budget of LVL 31 millions in 2006, more than half of which comes from income tax. Traditionally, political leanings in Liepāja have been right-wing, although only about 70% of the population have voting rights. In recent years the Liepāja Party has dominated the polls. The party has an agreement with the Union of Greens and Farmers, the leading party in the Kučinskis cabinet.

Liepāja: Former city mayors

  • Johanns Ruprehts (German: Johann Ruprecht) (about 1631–1638) – the first city burgomaster

Liepāja: Russia

  • Kārlis Gotlībs Sigismunds Ūlihs (1878–1880) – the first publicly elected city mayor
  • Ādolfs fon Bagehūfilds (1882–1886)
  • Hermanis Adolfi (1886–1902)
  • Kristiāns Cinks (1902–1906) and (1908–1910)
  • Viljams Dreiersdorfs (1906–1908)
  • Alberts Volgemuts (1910–1914)
  • Teodors Breikšs (1914–1915)
  • Andrējs Bērziņš (1918–1919)

Liepāja: Latvia

  • Ansis Buševics (19.01.1919–17 February 1921)
  • Jēkabs Cincelis (02.1921–08.1921)
  • Jānis Baumanis (Liepāja mayor) (29.08.1921–27 February 1922)
  • Ēvalds Rimbenieks (1922–1928) and (1934–1940)
  • Leo Lapa (1928–1934)

Liepāja: Soviet Union

  • Biļēvičs (1940–1941)
  • Miķelis Būka (1941) First Secretary
  • Matīss Edžiņš (10.05.1945–05.10.1945)
  • Rodions Ansons (05.10.1945–21 April 1950)
  • Pēteris Ezeriņš (27.12.1950–18 June 1953)
  • Voldemārs Lejiņš (1953–1956)
  • Yuri Ruben (1960–1963) First Secretary
  • Ž. Revenieks (1963–1966) First Secretary
  • Kārlis Strautiņs (09.11.1965–09.1.1971)
  • Janis Vagris (1967–1973) First Secretary
  • Egils Ozols (19.03.1971–29 June 1977)
  • Jānis Liepiņš (29.06.1977–07.03.1985)
  • Alfrēds Drozda (1985–1990)

Liepāja: Latvia

  • Imants Vismins (1990–1994)
  • Teodors Eniņš (1994–1997)
  • Uldis Sesks (1997–present)

Liepāja: Education and science

Liepāja has wide educational resources and long traditions of Soviet education. Most well-educated young people leave the city because of low wages and a lack of high-technology and prosperous firms. The city has 21 kindergartens, 8 Latvian schools, 5 Russian schools, 1 school with mixed language of education, 1 evening school, 2 music schools and two internat schools. Interest education for children and youth is available in 8 municipal institutions: Children and Youth Centre, Youth Centre, Centre for Young Technicians, Art and Creation Centre "Vaduguns", Complex Sport School, Gymnastics School, Tennis Sports School, Sports School "Daugava" (football, track-and-field athletics) and Basketball Sports School.

Higher and professional education in Liepāja represented by:

  • University of Liepāja
  • Riga Technical University Liepāja branch
  • Baltic Russian Institute Liepāja branch
  • School of Business Administration Turiba Liepāja branch
  • Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy Liepāja branch
  • Liepāja Applied Art School
  • Liepāja Marine College
  • Liepaja Medical College
  • Liepāja 48 College
  • Liepāja 31 College

Liepāja Central Library has six branches and audio record library. Literature fund consists of about 460,000 copies and online catalog. Average annual number of visitors – 25000.

  • Percent of resident population with only primary education (2001) – 14%
  • Percent of resident population with secondary education (2001) – 40%
  • Percent of resident population with tertiary education (2001) – 9%

Liepāja: Representation in other media

  • In 1979 a part of the film Moonzund was filmed in the town.

Liepāja: Notable natives

Liepāja: International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Latvia

Liepāja: Twin towns – sister cities

Liepāja is twinned with:

  • Sweden Nynäshamn, Sweden (1990)
  • Poland Elbląg, Poland (1991)
  • United States Bellevue, Washington, USA (1992)
  • Germany Darmstadt, Germany (1993)
  • Denmark Nykobing Falster, Denmark (1993)
  • Belarus Homyel, Belarus (1999)
  • Sweden Karlshamn, Sweden (1997)
  • Lithuania Klaipėda, Lithuania (1997)
  • Poland Gdynia, Poland (1999)
  • Norway Rogaland county, Norway (1999)
  • Norway Arstad District in Bergen, Norway (2001)
  • Lithuania Palanga, Lithuania (2001)
  • Sweden Helsingborg, Sweden (2005)

Liepāja: See also

Liepaja travel guide from Wikivoyage

  • List of companies in Liepāja
  • List of monuments of architecture in Liepāja
  • Ports of the Baltic Sea

Liepāja: Notes and references

  1. Murray, John, Russia, Poland, and Finland, etc., Third Revised Edition, London, 1875, p.85.
  2. Murray, 1875, p.85.
  3. "Liepājas vēsture". (in Latvian). Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  4. "KNAB, the Place Names Database of EKI". Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  5. Turnbull, Stephen, Tannenberg 1410, Osprey Publishing, Oxford UK, 2003, p.82: Certainly Poland & Lithuania invaded Prussia again in 1422, but no mentions of Libau.
  6. "Лиепая". Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Moscow: Советская Энциклопедия. 1969–1978. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  7. "Liepaja". Encyclopædia Britannica. Inc. 1997.
  8. "Masonicum". Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  9. Colomb, Philip Howard. "Memoirs of Admiral the Right Honble. Sir Astley Cooper Key". Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  10. Palmer, Alan, Northern Shores, London, 2005, p.215.
  11. "Liepājas Pastnieks". Latvijas Enciklopēdiskā vārdnīca (in Latvian).
  12. Либаво-Роменская железная дорога. Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian). 1907. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  13. Гидроаэродром. Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian). 1969–1978. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  14. Palmer, 2005, p.255
  15. Palmer, 2005, p.258.
  16. Hiden, John, and Salmon, Patrick, The Baltic Nations and Europe, Longman Group UK Ltd., 1991, p.32-6.
  17. Hiden, John, The Baltic States and Weimar Ostpolitik, Cambridge University Press, UK, 1987, p.101-3.
  18. Hiden & Salmon, 1991, p.78.
  19. "Crimes of Einsatzgruppen in Liepāja". 1941. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  20. "Site of Liepājas slimnica" (in Latvian). Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  21. "Liepaja Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
  22. "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Griuzupe, Latvia". Weatherbase. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  23. "Site of the Liepaja museum" (in Latvian). Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  24. "Site of Karosta prison museum". Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  25. "Liepāju un Zviedriju savienos optiskais kabelis". Kurzemes Vārds (in Latvian). 23 October 2001. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  26. "Site of Liepājas radio amatieru grupa". Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  27. "Liepājas kafija". Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  28. "Statistika Latvijas rajonu un to centru griezumā". (in Latvian). Lursoft. 2005. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  29. "Site of Liepājas Teatris". (in Latvian). Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  30. "Liepājas simfoniskais orķestris". (in Latvian). Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  31. "LIEPAJA/TRIOBET basketball team". Eurobasket. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  32. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. [1]
  34. (Russian) "Брокгауз и Ефрон", ст. Либава, 1907 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "BE" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  35. Город родной на семи ветрах (in Russian). Liesma. 1976. p. 263.
  37. "Liepājas pilsētas galvas, birģermeistari". Liepājnieku biogrāfiskā vārdnīca (in Latvian). Letonika. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  38. "Ciemojas kādreizējā Liepājas galvas Lapas mazmeita". Kurzemes vārds (in Latvian). 17 September 1999. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  39. "Catalog of Liepaja central library". (in Latvian). Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  40. "Liepaja profile". Urban Audit. 2001. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  41. "CV of Victor Matison". Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  42. "Elbląg - Podstrony / Miasta partnerskie". Elbląski Dziennik Internetowy (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  43. "Elbląg - Miasta partnerskie". Elblą (in Polish). Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  44. "Washington's Sister Cities, Counties, States and Ports". Washington State Lieutenant Governor's Office. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012.
  45. "Städtepartnerschaften und Internationales". Büro für Städtepartnerschaften und internationale Beziehungen (in German). Retrieved 2013-07-26.
  46. "Darmstadt initiative for Liepāja" (in German). Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  47. P.C., Net. "Gdynia - International Gdynia - International co-operation of Gdynia".

Liepāja: Bibliography

  • Мелконов, Юрий (2005). Пушки Курляндского Берега. Riga, LV: GVARDS. ISBN 9984-19-772-7.
  • Кондратенко, Р. В. (1997). "Военный порт Александра III в Лиепае". Saint-Peterburg, RU: Исторический альманах "Цитадель", №2(5), изд. "ОСТРОВ".
  • Вушкан, Янис Владиславович (1976). "Город родной на семи ветрах". Riga, LV: Liesma.
  • Tooms, Viljars (2003–2007). "Liepājnieku biogrāfiskā vārdnīca". Riga, LV: Tilde Letonika.
  • Sāne (Alksne), Līga (1991). "Ceļvedis Liepājas arhitektūrā". Liepāja, LV: Liepājas pilsētas TDP IK Arhitektūras un pilsētbūvniecības pārvalde.
  • Jāņa sēta. (2003). Liepājas pilsētas plāns. Riga, LV: Karšu izdevniecība Jāņa sēta. ISBN 9984-07-330-0.
  • Gintners, Jānis (2004). "Liepājas gadsimti". Liepāja, LV: Liepājas muzejs.
  • Gintners, Jānis, Uļa (2008). Liepāja Latvijas sākotnē. Liepāja, LV: Liepājas muzejs. ISBN 978-9984-39-723-8.
  • Gintnere, Uļa (2005). Liepāja laikmetu dzirnavās. Liepāja, LV: Kurzemes Vārds. ISBN 9984-9190-4-8.
  • Lancmanis, Imants (1983). "Liepāja no baroka līdz klasicismam". Rīga, LV.
  • "Liepājas 300 gadu jubilejas piemiņai: 1625–1925". Liepāja, LV. 1925.
  • Wegner, Alexander (1878/1970). Geschichte der Stadt Libau. Libau: v. Hirschheydt. ISBN 3-7777-0870-4. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Tīre, Irina (2007). Liepāja in graphics. Latvia: Poligrāfijas infocentrs. ISBN 9984-764-92-3.
  • Dorenskis, Jaroslavs (2007). "Liepājas Metalurgs: Anno 1882". Liepāja, LV: Fotoimidžs: 364.
  • Корклыш, С. (1966). Лиепая (in Russian). Rīga: Liesma.
  • Evans, Nicholas J. (2006). "The Port Jews of Libau, 1880–1914". In David Cesarani and Gemma Romain. Jews and Port Cities: 1590–1990: Commerce, Community and Cosmopolitanism. London,UK: Vallentine Mitchell & Co Ltd. pp. 197–214. ISBN 978-0-85303-681-4.
  • Eberstein, Ivan H. The Amber Land: Libava's Tragic Fate and the Fall of the Russian Empire. New York.
  • – Liepāja City Council official website
  • History of Liepāja
  • – Liepāja news in Latvian and Russian (Latvian) (Russian)
  • – Port of Liepaja
  • – Liepaja Symphony orchestra
  • Kurzemes Vārds – Liepāja regional newspaper (Latvian)
  • Kursas Laiks – Liepāja district newspaper (Latvian)
  • Rožu laukums – Webcam showing "Rose square" in Liepaja
  • Libavas Nami – Real estate agency in Liepaja
  • Autoserviss 4U – Car service in Liepaja
  • The murder of the Jews of Liepāja during World War II, at Yad Vashem website.
Source of information: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. We're not responsible for the content of this article and your use of this information. Disclaimer
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