A trip to visit Latvians on Lithuanian roads

Lithuanian industry did not develop as fast as Latvia’s between the wars, and was therefore more economically backward. Trade and industry grew particularly rapidly in Latvia, which had two large trading ports, Riga and Liepaja, while Lithuania was cut off from its geographically natural ports, Klaipėda and Königsberg. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Lithuanians went to Latvia to work in such large numbers that the Lithuanian government of the time had to “roll up its sleeves” and invite them to work in their homeland even more intensively. However, on the eve of the First World War, 37,000 Lithuanians lived in Riga alone. Daugavpils, Liepaja, Riga, Jelgava and Durbe have the most Lithuanian traces. Can we erase the imprints of Vaižgantas, President A. Smetona, Aldona Treija, the founder of the Lithuanian school in Riga, and the Radvilas family from the history of Lithuania and Latvia?

1 day. We leave for Liepaja via Palanga, Būtingė.

In May 1921, in the Lithuanian-Latvian border area, the Convention for the Determination of the Borders between Lithuania and Latvia was signed in the presence of Prof. James Simpson of Edinburgh University, an international arbitrator. Many Lithuanian elite figures, ministers and presidents between the wars attended the Liepaja Gymnasium (before the war, Lithuanians made up about 25% of the population in Liepaja). In 1910, Liepaja had more than 50 companies employing around 7 000 workers, including many of the 18 000 Lithuanians living in the town at the time. In the autumn, wagon loads of grain and other farm produce would clog the roads leading to Liepaja. From there they would return to buy tools, furniture, sugar, jewellery for the women, sweets for the children, and other goods for the family and the farm. On 22 March 1939, after the ultimatum to Germany to surrender the Klaipėda region, the only Lithuanian warship, the “Prezidentas Smetona”, was transferred to the port of Liepaja.

During the tour we will visit: the Liepaja Anthem Character Alley, St. The tour will take in the Liepaja Anthem Alley, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Sea Church, the Military Port and Beach, the St. Peter’s Market, the Latvian Musicians’ Walk of Fame, Rose Square, Liepaja Gymnasium, and the Liepaja Lithuanian Community Centre. After free time, we depart for Durbe, where the famous Battle of Durbe took place on 13 July 1260, near the lake, between the Teutonic Knights and the Samogitians, whose side was taken by the Curonians, who had been called by the Teutonic Army. We leave for Riga. Leaving aside the traditional tourist routes, we will start our exploration of Riga from Alberta and Elizabete Streets, lined with Art Nouveau buildings. Art Nuveau is a bouquet of nature, bunches of flower blossoms, ornaments, sinuous and undulating lines, and fantasies, perfectly reflected in the 800 buildings of Riga. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2. Riga – Jurmala

Breakfast. “Riga is a Latvian city, but you can’t tear its history away from Lithuanian history” – Vaižgantas. Riga is home to the largest and most active Lithuanian community in Latvia. Of the 25 000 Lithuanians living in Latvia, about 8 000 live in Riga. The main engine of Lithuanian activity in Riga is the Riga Lithuanian Secondary School. In the second half of the 19th century, Lithuanians also travelled to Riga in search of work, just as they did to the cities of Liepaja and Jelgava. Already then, capital was being minted in Riga, and Lithuanians found work in the construction of Riga’s railway carriages, in paper and rubber factories, in distilleries and breweries, in flax spinning mills, in sawmills, in furniture workshops, in tramways and railways, in the ports and elsewhere.

Before the tour at 9 am, those who wish to participate in the Lithuanian-language St. Mass!

We will travel to the Old Town and visit: the castle, built in 1330, which is the residence of the President of Latvia; the largest Lutheran cathedral in the Baltic States, the Cathedral Square; St Peter’s Church – the tallest in Riga; the monument to the musicians of Bremen, commemorating the history of the medieval Hansha Merchants’ League; the breath-taking Blackheads Palace, the St Peter’s Church, which is the largest in the Baltic States. The breathtakingly beautiful St. James’s Cathedral, restored to the Catholics in the 16th century. We’ll wander through the streets of Konventa Seta, which is like a Christmas card; the Freedom Monument, a symbol of the freedom and unity of the Latvian nation; and many other places you may not have seen even if you’ve been there many times before. We will visit the Latvian Lithuanian Gymnasium, founded by A.A. Treija, a native of Gargždai.

After a tour of Riga, we depart for the trendy Jurmala seaside, where you can spend the afternoon swimming (weather permitting). After free time, we will return to Riga for overnight. You will have the opportunity to dine in the Old Town and possibly take a boat trip on the Daugava River.

3 diena. Jelgava
After breakfast, we depart for Jelgava. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city was famous as a centre of Lithuanian cultural and political activity. At that time, it had a great influence on the cultural and political life of Lithuania. It is also closely linked to the history of the Duchy of Biržai.

Ekskursijos metu apžiūrėsime garsiuosius caro Petro I architekto iš Italijos B. Rastrelli suprojektuotus rūmus, Šv. Trejybės bažnyčios bokštą, Šv. Simono ir Šv. Onos ortodoksų katedrą, buvusią latvių. Ekskursijos pabaigoje ne tik aplankysime latvių ir lietuvių intelektualų „kalvę“ Academia Petrina gimnaziją, vietą, kurioje mokėsi prezidentas A. Smetona, bet paminėsime Lietuvos nacionalinę šventę ir sugiedosime Lietuvos himną. Juk tai vienintelis himnas, kuris yra giedamas visame pasaulyje vieną ir tą pačią dieną! Todėl pasiimkite Lietuvos vėliavą bei smagią lietuvišką nuotaiką! Kupini įspūdžių keliausime namo.

During the tour, we will see the famous palace designed by B. Rastrelli, the Italian architect of Tsar Peter the Great, the tower of the Holy Trinity Church, the towers of St. St. Simon and St. Anne’s Orthodox Cathedral, the former Latvian. At the end of the tour, we will not only visit the Academia Petrina Gymnasium, the “smithy” of Latvian and Lithuanian intellectuals and the place where President Smetona studied, but we will also celebrate Lithuania’s national holiday and sing the Lithuanian anthem. After all, it is the only anthem that is sung all over the world on the same day! So bring the Lithuanian flag and a fun Lithuanian mood! We will go home full of impressions.

Notes: Single room, lunch, tickets to attractions, local guides in Liepaja and Riga at extra cost.


Registration and information: info@jnd.lt / +370 679 02200
The program is flexible for groups.
© The program may not be copied or used for commercial purposes without the author’s permission.

Tour operator UAB JND

Certificate No 16407 issued by the State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy. Guarantee of Swedbank. No. 20-046812-GM.

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