Walking Tour
Duration: ~ 2 h
List of sights:
  • Wooden architecture
  • Former gypsum factory
  • Žanis Lipke Memorial

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The oldest known scene of the Riga skyline can be found in one of the most popular books of the 16th century – the Cosmographia by Sebastian Münster that was published in 1544 in Basel. Nowadays the best place to admire the famous skyline is the island Kīpsala near the left bank of the Daugava river.

The island Kīpsala is a unique place, which is located in the very centre of Riga and where the authentic environment of Riga’s suburbs has preserved from the 19th century. The main inhabitants of Kīpsala were always people whose trade was connected with water: ferrymen, raftsmen, fishermen and sailors. Even today old wooden houses still could be seen here, and each of them has a story to tell. The wooden architecture of Kīpsala is like an open-air museum, telling about the traditions of the folk architecture, about the life of the inhabitants and the difficult fate of the buildings that managed to survive throughout all the troubles. Kīpsala is experiencing a Renaissance now; the interest of the society to its architectural heritage is increasing all the time, though Kīpsala remains a place where everyone can feel the “rural” idyll just 5 minutes drive from the vanity of the city.

During the walking tour we will stroll along the main street of the island and get known with the “Collection of Wooden Houses”. We will see the former “Zelm & Behm” factory, as well as visit an important sight – the Žanis Lipke Memorial, where you will learn a fascinating life story of a “simple” Latvian guy who saved many people from the inevitable death during the World War II. People often call Žanis as the “Latvian Oscar Schindler”, and his feat is also worthy for filming.