The second largest Latvian city, Daugavpils, has been renamed four times in its history. And although its original history went from the Dinaburg fortress, which belonged to the Livonian Order, later the city passed “from hand to hand” either to the Lithuanians, then to the Poles, then to the Russians. Merging of histories, cultures and destinies has created a special atmosphere and charm in the modern city of Latgale region. See Citypopulationreview for weather information.
How to get there
Daily from Riga to Daugavpils there are 4 trains (4 hours on the way) and 8 buses (every 2 hours, 3 hours 30 minutes on the way; www.autoosta.lv). Buses can also be reached from Rezekne (every 7 hours, 2 hours on the way) and Aglona (3 runs daily, 1 hour 30 minutes). The schedule of routes from Daugavpils can be viewed on the official website www.buspark.lv. Trains also run from Gomel, St. Petersburg and Vilnius (3 trains daily, 3 hours on the way).
The nearest airport is in Riga, but the Latvian authorities promise to soon open flights to Daugavpils itself.
The journey by car from Riga will take about 3 hours. There is also an international highway E262 going from Lithuania (Kaunas) to Russia.
Entertainment and attractions of Daugavpils
The main pearl of Daugavpils is its fortress, which today is the largest in all of Europe. This architectural structure was built at the beginning of the 19th century to strengthen the borders of the Russian Empire and has seen and survived many wars and battles in its lifetime.
All buildings in the historical center of the city are classified as “Latgale baroque” – the buildings are distinguished by their original shape and facades made of red brick with various decorations. For example, the building of the city museum of local lore with an openwork pattern on the vault of the front doors, which was built in the 2nd half of the 19th century using multi-colored tiles. Even in the center, you can look at the Jaunbūve church ensemble on the Church Hill, consisting of an Orthodox cathedral, a Lutheran church and a Catholic church (all buildings of the late 19th – early 20th century). The central street of Daugavpils is Rigas, along which there are 80 architectural monuments. In the 80s of the last century, it became the first pedestrian street in Latvia. In the middle of the 20th century, the House of Unity was built between Rigas and Saules Streets, which today houses a library, a theater, shops, cafes, bank. All major city events take place here.
For detailed information on “what to see and where to go”, as well as about all the events and performances in the city, go to the Daugavpils tourist information center: Rigas street, 22a.
At the end of the 19th century, the head of the city, Pavel Dubrovin, created a park of 3 hectares in the center of Daugavpils – today this park bears the name of its founder and is a favorite vacation spot for all citizens. In the northeastern part of the city, Stropi, in the area of Lake Lielais Stropu, there is a popular recreational area. Daugavpils is also proud of its sports complex with the Ice Palace and the largest open-air swimming pool in the Baltic states.
On the way from the Daugavpils to Kraslava, on the picturesque banks of the Daugava River, there is the national park Daugavas loki. On its territory, a model of the Dinaburg fortress of the 13th century was built, which laid the foundation for the history of the city. Also not far from Daugavpils, in the town of Pilskalne, there is a forest landscape park Pilskalnes Siguldina with educational trails and thematic wooden figurines.
In general, Daugavpils, like no other Latvian city, is surrounded by water and forest resources: 15 lakes, 8 rivers, countless streams and 10,000 hectares of forests and parks.