Theme Week Latvia – Jūrmala

Friday, 27 May 2022 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Jomas Street © Raul Cortez999/cc-by-sa-4.0

Jomas Street © Raul Cortez999/cc-by-sa-4.0

Jūrmala (Latvian: “seaside”) is a city in Latvia, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) west of Riga. Jūrmala is a resort town stretching 32 km (20 miles) and sandwiched between the Gulf of Riga and the Lielupe River. It has a 33 km (21 miles) stretch of white-sand beach, and a population of 49,325 in 2019, making it the fifth-largest city in Latvia. While Latvia was part of the Soviet Union, Jūrmala was a favorite holiday-resort and tourist destination for high-level Communist Party officials, particularly Leonid Brezhnev and Nikita Khrushchev. Although many amenities such as beach-houses and concrete hotels remain, some have fallen into disrepair. Jūrmala remains a tourist attraction with long beaches facing the Gulf of Riga and romantic wooden houses in the Art Nouveau style.

The city of Jūrmala actually consists of a string of small resorts. From west to east, these include Ķemeri, Jaunķemeri, Sloka, Kauguri, Vaivari, Asari, Melluži, Pumpuri, Jaundubulti, Dubulti, Majori, Dzintari, Bulduri and Lielupe and others. Jūrmala’s reputation as a spa destination began in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Wealthy landowners began the tradition of relaxing at the seaside, and Russian army officers came here to rest after the Napoleonic Wars, returning later with their families. The peak of the Jūrmala area’s development was the opening of the Riga – Tukums railway in 1877 (which still passes through Jūrmala) that gave a great boost to the numbers of visitors, and thus a boost to the development of the town as a resort. Jūrmala also gained a reputation as a health spa. The sea breeze, pine aroma, mineral springs, and sandy beach encouraged many sanatoriums to develop within the city. In Soviet times Jūrmala was popular with the Communist officials because of its beach and sanatoriums – holidays were also given as rewards for top union members. It became one of the most popular holiday destinations in the whole Union. The spas offered facilities from mud baths to riding therapy and hiking in the woods. In summer there are many concerts. Whereas Riga has advanced rapidly to embrace and cater for growing numbers of Western tourists, Jūrmala has lagged behind. Russians are now subject to strict visa requirements and its beaches have yet to attract significant numbers of Europeans, leaving the tourist industry with a hard task on its hands. However, during the past few years, Jūrmala has started to recover. Many Russian celebrities, successful businessmen and others buy houses near the beach, and a variety of festivals and other activities attract increasing crowds each summer. At the moment, Jūrmala has almost resumed the popularity that it had with the Soviet elite. The main beach at Majori and another at Bulduri now bear blue eco-flags signalling the sea is clean and safe to swim in, and the Latvian Academy of Science boasts a hotel for its members in the town. There is also the Midsummer Festival in June, celebrating the longest day of the year. The “Jaunais Vilnis” New Wave (competition) music festival showcases the latest music from all over Europe. The Lonely Planet guide to the region states that it is one of the highlights of Latvia.

Former Swimming Establishment of Emilija Racene on the beach in Majori © Raul Cortez999/cc-by-sa-4.0 Fountain at Dzintari Concert Hall © Texaner/cc-by-sa-4.0 Jomas Street © Raul Cortez999/cc-by-sa-4.0 Jomas Street © Roquai Majori Hotel © panoramio.com - Dmitrijs Purgalvis/cc-by-3.0 © JIP/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Former Swimming Establishment of Emilija Racene on the beach in Majori © Raul Cortez999/cc-by-sa-4.0
The most distinguishing architectural feature in Jūrmala is the prevalence of wooden houses dating from the 19th and first half of the 20th century. Most of the buildings were built by Baltic German and Latvian architects, but there are also works of Russian, Finnish and other architects. Jūrmala’s architecture typically falls into classicism, national romanticism, and modern styles. The town has an official list of 414 historical buildings under protection, as well as over 4,000 wooden structures. Dubulti Station is an example of sculptural concrete shell Modernist architecture.

Jūrmala’s beach is 33 km (21 mi) long, covered with white quartz sand. The shallow coastal waters are suitable and safe for children. The beach is equipped with playgrounds, small benches, football fields and volleyball courts, as well as descents for prams and wheelchairs. In spring and autumn amber pieces can be found on the beach. Each region’s beach has its own character. In Majori and Bulduri, where the Blue Flag flies, it is possible to rent water bicycles or relax in the beach cafe. In Dubulti and Dzintari competitions in beach football and volleyball take place, but on Pumpuri beach there is kite surfing and windsurfing. International water sports contests, including rowing, sailing, and waterskiing that take place on the river Lielupe.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Jūrmala, latvia.travel – Jūrmala, Wikivoyage Jūrmala and Wikipedia Jūrmala. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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