Gediminas tower

Gediminas tower, Vilnius

The Gediminas tower or Gedimino pilies bokštas is the town’s landmark of Vilnius, Lithuania. It is a tower made of red bricks standing on a 142 meters high hill close to the river Neris. It is the only preserved tower of the castle built in 1323 by Gediminas the Grand Duke of Lithuana. You can take the Gediminas hill lift, visit the museum inside the tower and climb on top of it to enjoy good views.

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Castle, Kaunas

Kaunas is the second largest city of Lithuania with around 300.000 inhabitants and is located at the confluence of the two rivers Nemunas and Neris. A castle at this place was first mentioned in the year 1361. It later became an important center of Jewish life in the region. When in 1920 Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania became Polnish the city of Kaunas became provisory capital city until 1940.

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Kryžių kalnas

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

The most famous place in rural Lithuana is the hill of crosses (Kryžių kalnas) near Šiauliai. It is a catholic place of pilgrimage that many tourists visit. Countless crosses are assembled on a ten meters high hill and you can walk on a wooden path between the more than 100.000 crosses – or buy one at the shop yourself and add it to the collection.

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Rundāle palace

Rundāles pils, Latvia

Somewhere in rural Latvia, not far away from the border to Lithuania you can find an impressive castle in baroque style: Rundāles pils, the Rundāle palace. It was designed with Versailles in mind and also has a french landscape garden – it is therefore often referred to as the Versailles of the Baltics. The palace was built between 1735 and 1740 by the order of empress Anna of Russia.

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Aiz šiem vārtiem vaid zeme

Concentration camp, Salaspils

In 1941 Latvia was occupied by Nazi Germany and a forced labour camp was created at Salaspils – 18 kilometers south of Rīga. Captives were intended to do peat cutting and the Nazis wanted to detain Jewish people here. The camp was built by Soviet prisoners of war and Jews mostly from the ghetto of Rīga – and it was used mostly for political prisoners and deserted soldiers. But what really happened here remains unclear because of insufficient research and political motives.

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Majori, Jūrmala

If you’re at Rīga, Latvia and want to see the Baltic sea you need to travel a bit. In contrast to Tallinn, Estonia the city center is some kilometers afar from the shore. The best place for that is the city of Jūrmala and the most famous place there along the shore is Majori (in German ‘Majorenhof‘). It is located on a languet between the Baltic sea and the river Lielupe which forms a beautiful landscape.

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Botāniskais dārzs

Botanical garden, Rīga

I like visiting botanical gardens while travelling around the world. It’s about relaxation, having a nice walk through a park, seeing wonderful plants and often the chance to have a look at exotic plants in greenhouses. The botanical garden (botāniskais dārzs) of Rīga, Latvia offers all of these, but has another nice feature: a house full of butterflies. There you can walk around in tropical atmosphere and watch those beautiful animals.

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Daugava river, Rīga

When you’re at Rīga, Latvia you will experience the Daugava river as a mighty and wide stream located near the city center and dividing the old town from the newer parts of the city. You need to cross it to go to the airport, the botanical garden or – by train – if you want to visit Jūrmala. The river is 1020 kilometers long, begins in Russia and passes through Belorussia and Latvia to the gulf of Rīga where it floats into the Baltic sea.

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Centrāltirgus, Rīga

The central market (Centrāltirgus) of Rīga, Latvia is located directly next to the bus station and not far away from the railway station. You can’t miss it because it is located within iconic buildings once used to built airships. On 72.000 squaremeters you can buy fruit, cheese, meat, fish, flowers and more. The market plays an important role in everyday life and I’ve never seen so many people accessing a market.

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