How much do you know about Daugavpils? Do you know, for example, that it is the second-biggest city in Latvia? Or that culturally it is a borderline zone between Latvia, Belorus, Lithuania and Russia? Most probably not. Because even in its own country Daugavpils is far from the most popular tourist destination.
It is definitely not a postcard-perfect town with fairytale streets and colorful houses, but it’s the advantage of Daugavpils, it’s something different and something unique.
I was lucky to explore it with the people from Visit Daugavpils and I’m happy to share with you the 5 reasons why you should absolute visit this charming underdog of Latvia.
1. The eclectic architecture
Soviet blocks next to splendid Orthodox churches next to red-bricked Protestant cathedral next to a factory. Only in Daugavpils. The WW2 and subsequent industrialization transformed the city and each period has left its marks. Nevertheless, right now it is trying to embrace its eclectic architectural landscape and gives lots of exploration opportunities along the way.
- Martin Luther Cathedral
- Orthodox Cathedral of St Boris and Gleb
Also, check out:
- House of Prayer of Daugavpils First Old Believer’s Community
- Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception
- Daugavpils Unity House
2. The Fortress
It’s all about the fortress in Daugavpils. Built at the beginning of the 19th century, it’s an impressive sun-shaped city-in-itself. Mounds, numerous gates and museum inside the fortress walls make it a unique cultural and architectural ensemble of Northern Europe.
Be sure to check out the quirky Museum of Contraception as well as adjacent Museum of Medicine featuring many curious objects from the older times.
3. Mark Rothko
The celebrated pioneer of the abstract expressionism movement, Mark Rothko was born in Daugavpils in 1903. His childhood passed here until he left to the US in 1913.
The city hasn’t forgotten its famous son and devoted a large museum to him – Mark Rothko Art Center. It features original works of the artists as well as an interactive exhibition about his life. Also, it regularly hosts exhibitions of interesting domestic and international artists.
4. The nature
Nature is never too far in Daugavpils. It takes several minutes to get absorbed by the surrounding countryside. And you have lots of choice of where to go.
One of the most beloved local weekend destinations is the Stropu Lake with beaches, adventure parks, villas, spas and beautiful forest walks.
5. The local food and drinks
Being a city at the cultural crossroads often means… great food. Daugavpils stands up to this rule. Its culinary proposition may be simple but the food here is amazing. Get acquainted with the local tastes at Gubernators restaurant, check out superb city views from the rooftop Plaza restaurant at Hotel Latgola, enter the top-notch dining world of Art Hub and finish with the coffee-dessert pleasantry at Šokoladņa.
As for the drinks, Daugavpils has something other Latvian cities don’t. It’s Šmakovka, the most famous alcoholic beverage of the Latgalian region, a strong homemade liquor. Discover its history along with the history of Latgale region at Shmakovka Museum.
The article is written as a part of cooperation with Visit Daugavpils