Latvia isn’t precisely a rustic with a protracted checklist of established journey locations to its identify. So once I went again for my second journey there, I used to be extremely motivated to seek out new locations to go to. One which rapidly emerged was the town of Jēkabpils, Latvia’s smallest metropolis. Simple to succeed in, dwelling to a fortress and a UNESCO world heritage website, visiting Jekabpils appeared like a no brainer. A small and fairly modest metropolis, in the event you determine to go to Jekabpils you’ll study there’s a number of issues to see and do. Right here’s what you have got ready for you.
Metropolis of Jekabpils
Earlier than leaping headfirst into its sights, right here’s a little bit details about the town of Jekabpils. The town is positioned southeast of Riga, mendacity on the border of the Latgale and Kurzeme areas. Separating the town throughout these areas is the Daugava River, the longest river that passes by means of Latvia. Whereas all one metropolis now, these two halves of the town had been as soon as the unconnected cities of Jekabpils and Krustpils.
It’s solely since 1962 that the 2 have been joined collectively, though it looks as if centuries have separation haven’t been rapidly erased. With a go to right here, many of the sights you’ll see are over on the left-hand financial institution that was the historic centre of Jēkabpils.
We might as properly begin with the attraction I spent the longest at, Krustpils Fortress. Discovered on the far aspect of the river from the Jekabpils historic centre, this medieval fortress is well worth the stroll. They had been doing main renovations on the fortress whereas I used to be there, however fortunately there wasn’t an excessive amount of of the fortress that was off limits.
Visiting the fortress includes following an audio information tour that offers you a complete account of the fortress’s historical past. Krustpils Fortress is definitely one of many oldest medieval castles in Latvia and was probably inbuilt 1237. The fortress was used to guard commerce alongside the Daugava River for hundreds of years earlier than being put within the fingers of the Korf household. It was given to the Jekabpils Historical past Museum in 1994 they usually’ve been step by step engaged on it ever since.
I feel it’s essential to grasp that it’s extra of a manor home than your traditional fortress. It’s additionally price noting that there are some rooms within the fortress are nonetheless ready for some severe TLC. However I sort of just like the distinction between refurbished rooms and the untouched ones as you get an thought for the state of disrepair it fell beneath throughout the Soviet interval.
Touring the fortress you’ll go to rooms throughout a number of flooring and have the ability to climb the tower and revel in its panoramic views. You’ll additionally have the ability to delve down into the creepy basement, illuminated by candlelight that I couldn’t wait to go away. It’s one of many higher audio information excursions I’ve achieved, with loads of attention-grabbing historical past and native legends included. Plus, only a few different folks about to destroy the expertise.
Subsequent we have now the Daugava River, one of the essential waterways in Latvia and the identical river that flows by means of Riga. Standing on the bridge searching alongside the river, it’s a far cry from the river because it carves by means of Riga. At Jekabpils the Daugava is lined with grassy riverbanks and little grass islands that give it a delicate, languid really feel. Its untouched nature makes the town really feel even smaller than it already is.
Whereas there aren’t many entry factors to the river on the Krustpils aspect, it’s a unique story in Jekabpils. Right here there’s a raised strolling observe proper alongside the river that allows you to benefit from the tranquil riverside.
Strolling by the river you’re certain to catch sight of what’s in my thoughts the stand-out attraction in Jēkabpils. Only a block from the riverfront lies the Orthodox Church of The Holy Spirit and its small hooked up monastery. The skyline of Jekabpils is extraordinarily low, which make the domes and crosses of the church particularly straightforward to identify. When you discover it, likelihood is you’re going to need to see what this 19th century church is all about.
It’s much more attention-grabbing up shut although, with a little bit gate tower and a extremely detailed church constructing. The church’s Byzantine design is enhanced by numerous brick patterns and the small walled-off advanced has fairly an intimate feeling. I used to be the one customer once I was there, strolling alongside the backyard path and nodding to the couple of monks that had been about.
Simply up the road from the Orthodox Church lies Memorial Park. Surrounded by among the most conventional buildings within the metropolis, is extra of a public sq. with a number of gardens in it. This area was as soon as the Wednesday Market Sq. and was the place the town was first based in 1670. Now there’s a memorial boulder with the date engraved, added on the town’s 330th anniversary. However what’s almost definitely to catch your consideration is the shining statue of a horse and cart, one other reminder from an easier time.
Getting into Struve Park it might not appear notably particular, however seems to be could be deceiving. That’s as a result of that is dwelling to a bit of the Struve Geodetic Arc, a lesser-known UNESCO world heritage website. The Arc was an enormous worldwide endeavor designed to precisely calculate the dimensions and form of the Earth. To do that, triangulation factors had been setup in 10 international locations throughout north and jap Europe, with one right here in Jekabpils Latvia.
In addition to seeing the unassuming marker, there are a number of data boards. They assist clarify the mission, the person behind all of it Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve and its recognition by UNESCO. As a UNESCO website the Struve Geodetic Arc is exclusive because it’s not tied to any nation’s tradition.
The Little Violinist
Final we have now a comparatively current addition to Jekabpils, a statue often called the Little Violinist. This lifelike statue is a memorial to Latvian composer Jazeps Vitols, an instrumental determine in Latvia’s music scene after gaining independence in 1918. Actually, I didn’t know something about Vitols, I used to be merely drawn in by the great statue.
Journey Ideas for Visiting Jekabpils Latvia
To journey to Jekabpils there’s a number of issues price protecting in thoughts. Firstly, the town’s simply 2.5 hours from Riga by bus, so you can contemplate doing a Jekabpils day journey from Riga. Buses are inexpensive and frequent alongside this route so transport received’t be an issue and you’ll match these sights in a single day sightseeing.
Alternatively, the town makes an excellent cease in the event you’re travelling between Riga and Daugavpils. In that case, you may need to keep an evening or two. Lodging in Jekabpils is understandably restricted, however Central Riverside Flats the place I stayed was undoubtedly price it. Though positioned over in Krustpils, it’s near a bus cease and grocery store, and rooms have their very own cooking amenities.
After studying about its sights, would you be serious about visiting Jekabpils Latvia? What’s the most uncommon UNESCO world heritage website you’ve been to? Please share your ideas within the feedback under.
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Now, in the event you’re on the lookout for a information to this a part of Latvia, then it is best to actually have a look at this Lonely Planet information to Latvia and the Baltics. I’ve typically travelled with Lonely Planet guides they usually can actually make life simpler.
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