An Out of Town Tour by car or bus
Duration: ~ 4 h
List of sights:
  • Palace and garden complex Rundāle
  • Jelgava Palace
  • Academia Petrina
  • St. Simeon's and St. Anna's Orthodox Cathedral

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Rundāle – is a place where the “Courlandian Versailles” was raised up in the 18th century – a countryside residence of the Courland Dukes, which today is a true “Pearl of Baltics". Nothing similar in terms of scale or degree of preservation can be found in 500 km radius around.

Two well-known personalities of the past had a hand in creation of this grandiose complex. One of them is a famous architect of the Russian court Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli who was an author of the project of palace, and the second one is the Duke of Courland and the favorite of Russian Empress Anna Ioannovna – Ernst Johann von Biron who ordered the palace.

Today a museum resides in the palace and its interiors with an original decoration of 18th century are open for visiting. It took more than 40 years for restorers to return back the former look of interiors, so the halls and chambers of the palace could impress again with luxury and splendor. Besides the interior exposition the collections of fine arts and porcelain could be seen in the palace as well. The palace of Rundāle is unique; it is one of few places in Latvia, where the ambiance of 18th century is preserved.

After visiting the palace you can make a walk in gardens of the palace. You can learn different elements of a baroque garden – ornamental parterre, grove, alleyway, pavilion, pergola, amphitheater, labyrinth, etc. The main pride of Rundāle gardens are roses that bloom throughout the summer and form the largest collection of roses in Baltic. There are more than 2230 species of roses in the garden, 600 of them are historical. The collection of roses is replenished every year.

After visiting the complex of Rundāle, we will go to Jelgava, where you will see the second palace designed by F. B. Rastrelli – Jelagava Palace. Unfortunately, interiors of the palace were totally destroyed during the WWII, but even the exterior of the palace looks impressive. In additional you will see the building of Academia Petrina and St. Simeon's and St. Anna's Orthodox Cathedral, which is considered as the last work of the famous F. B. Rastrelli.

The program of the tour could be extended by visiting a small, but cosy town of Bauska. The urban fabric of its historical centre is a good example of Renaissance planning. It is worth to see also the medieval castle of Bauska, which is located in the picturesque place on the confluence of two rivers. Once this castle served as a residence for Courland Dukes, but now a historical exposition is placed inside it, as well as former ducal apartments was reconstructed there.

There is also one palace in 10 km away from Bauska that is worth to see – Mežotne Palace. It is considered that a design of the palace was created by Giacomo Quarenghi – also one famous architect from St. Petersburg. If the palace of Rundale charms with its harmonious combination of the baroque architecture and decorative art of Rococo, on the other hand the palace of Mežotne represents the best example of Classicism style in Latvia.

Detailed descriptions of these and other tourist attractions in Rundale could be found below.