“TheCeļotājs” –
Kuldīga Town Sights in Courland
    
 
   
Epilog –
Kuldiga Town Sights in Courland
 
Welcome to Kuldiga! And please join “TheCeļotājs” latest Travels around Latvia with our excursions of Latvian Cities, Towns and Villages as we visit the Town of Kuldiga Latvia and explore Kuldiga many historical sights. We will begin exploring the Town of Kuldiga historical sights with our host and guide Shoe Leather and a picture map of Kuldiga and thanks to the wonderful help from the staff of Kuldiga Tourism Information Centre, located at Baznīcas iela 5. So with our great picture map in hand and having know idea where we are going and what we are looking for, we will start exploring the historical Town of Kuldiga with a walk along the Promenade of Liepaja Street and working our way from there visiting the many historical sights located through out the historical old part of the Town of Kuldiga. Liepāja iela is the old transit route to Liepāja. It has been closed to traffic since 1991 and is now a pedestrian walk. Many 18th and 19th century structures can be found here. The inner doors of Liepāja iela 1 are beautiful examples of the baroque style. Liepāja iela 3 is one of the most unique buildings of Kuldiga as it was originally built in the first half of the 18th century as a warehouse. It is a log structure with a spacious attic. A Visually interesting combination are the three joining buildings at Liepājas iela 9, 11 and 13. They resemble the “Three Brothers” in Riga and have a unique water tower behind them. Located through out what is known as Medieval Historical Center of Kuldiga known as “The Old Town” section of Kuldiga has dozens of wooden structures that date back to the mid 13th century to early 17th and late 18th century. Running through the center of Kuldiga old town is the River Alekšupīte, which is a small stream that runs through Medieval Historical Center of Kuldiga known as “The Old Town” and flows into the Venta River after going over Alekšupīte Waterfalls next to the old Kuldiga Castle Paper Mill. The waterfall is the highest in Latvia at 4.50 meters high and 8 meters wide “13.62 feet high and 26.25 feet wide”. It was fortified in the 17th century to support the first paper mill in Courland.
 
Kuldiga has four churches located in the area of old town with the oldest one being Saint Catharine’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – ANNO 1252, Baznīcas iela 33 and the newest one being Saint Anna’s Evangelical Lutheran Church –  ANNO 1899, Dzirnavu iela 12. The most interesting church is Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church – ANNO 1641, Raiņa iela 6a and it's interior. Once a year, priest from around the country and those who are studying to become a priest ascend on Holy Trinity for a seminar. With permission, I was able to photograph the interior and its historical décor. Unfortunate, I am unable to find very little written text on its history other then a few lines. Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church has a rich historical history but if there is any written text I haven't been able to find it. This is also the case on the other three churches found in Kuldiga. 
 
Kuldiga is also known for its Old Brick Arch Bridge that crosses the Venta River, the bridge was built in 1873-1874 and is one of the longest brick bridges in Europe. It was built according to czarist bridge plans 164 meters “500 feet” across and 8 meters “26 feet” wide, wide enough for two carriages to pass. And the Venta Waterfall is the widest in Europe at 249 meters wide. Many legends and historic events surround this waterfall. One legend describes the waterfall as a result of a fight between two giants. 
 
Located across the street from the west banks of the Venta River is Kuldiga Town Garden “Sculpture Park” which was completely remade in 2011. During is reconstruction sculpture “Works of Artist Līvija Rezevska 1926-2004 was placed through out the park. A Stone Markers of Livonian Order Castle is also located on the east side of the park. The castle entrance to Livonian Order Castle is also located in the same area. This is also the location of the first Teutonic Knight castle constructed from stone and some remnants of the stone ramparts and cellar archer remain.
 
These are a few of the many historical sights that can be found through Kuldiga "Old Town" and Kuldiga in general. Depending on ones interest, Kuldiga has something for everyone to see or visit.
 
 
In Conclusion
 
Kuldiga has many interesting historical wooden buildings, churches and historical landmarks located through out Kuldiga Old Town, but I was quite disappointed in the way they present them either by written text or by audio descriptions. After reviewing both the written guide books and listening to the audio guide descriptions, I found that their guide books are a bit skimpy on historical descriptions and their audio guides are good, but they are not advertized. The only way I found them was by accident when digging through Kuldiga Tourism Information Center website. This part of their website is in Latvian and with out a browser translator one would not notice it. Their guide books only have a one line or short sentence high lighting a very brief history of the place you are looking at. This is fine, if all you want to know is what the building is and what it was used for. Myself, I like to know more about the history behind the buildings, who occupied it and a little bit more of the history of it all. The total history behind each building is what I look at when I visit and explore a given village, town or city. For every historical building has a history behind it. For this is a village's, town's or city's life blood behind in attracting tourism. The more written history that one can find about a historical structure the more interesting it becomes to see. With out this written history, it just becomes another old building, after awhile one old building looks like just another old building. I have spent hours searching for more information on some of the historical buildings, churches and sights Kuldiga has to offer with little to no luck. Majority of the time you will find is a ton of pictures of the structure and its name with no further description.
 
My biggest disappointed was the staff of Kuldiga Tourism Information Centre, after contacting the director of Kuldiga Tourism Information Center and requesting a guide for the time I would be in Kuldiga and being assured that his staff would arrange it, this was done before even leaving for Latvia and visiting Kuldiga I was assured it would be taken care of. When arriving in Kuldiga and going to Kuldiga Tourism Information Center they informed me they were short handed and didn't have a guide for me. But they did hand me map of Old Town listing its sights. If this was all I wanted, I wouldn't have contacted them and ask for and make arrangements for a guide. In my opinion at the time, they didn't want to be bothered.
 
Another thing I look for when visiting a Latvian village, town or city is information on both of the Soviet Union Occupations and their 1941 and 1949 Deportations as well as the German Army's Occupation during World War II and the atrocities that were committed against both the Jewish and non Jewish people, such as the number of Jewish and non Jewish people that were murdered and the location of these murders, the location of any Jewish Cemeteries as well as monuments or memorials dedicated to the people who suffered during the Soviet Union Occupations and the German Army's Occupation's atrocities as well as the Jewish Synagogue. I was most disappointed was when I asked the staff of Kuldiga Tourism Information Centre on information about the Jewish Heritage, the German Army's Occupation and the atrocities committed against the Jewish and non Jewish people as well as information on both Soviet Union Occupations as to locations to monuments or memorials dedicated to this period of time. They acted like this period of time no longer matters. When asked about the Jewish Synagogue, they informed me that it is now the town's library and since they don't have any Jewish people living in town it doesn't matter.
 
As for the former Jewish Synagogue Building Complex located at 1905 gaga iela 9 and that dates back to 1875, I have to agree that there is absolutely no sign it once was a synagogue neither inside nor outside. When I visited the synagogue, on 1 September 2012, I could neither find any sign of a Star of David or even a plaque describing its past history or that during the German Army's occupation that a large number of Jewish people were locked inside before being taken out to a near by forest and murdered. To the Kuldiga Town Officials, it is like this part of Kuldiga history never took place or happen. In fact, while exploring Kuldiga, I never did find any monuments, memorials or plaques referring to the atrocities committed during either of the Soviet Union Occupations or the German Army's Occupations period of time.
 
While getting ready to leave Kuldiga and returning to Liepaja I happen to stop by the former Vecie Cemetery, located along the Edoles iela and at the northeast edge of Vecie Cemetery, which today is a city park. While walking around this former cemetery I stumbled across a memorial that is dedicated to the 1941 Jewish Holocaust. This is the only one I was able to locate in Kuldiga. There are about a dozen Jewish graves located in this area. As for a separate Jewish Cemetery I was unable to locate one. This is also why I was quite disappointed with the staff of Kuldiga Tourism Information Centre.
 
These comments should by no means discourage you from visiting Kuldiga and seeing its many historical buildings and sights. For I look at the history of  village's, town's or city's and their historical sights in a much more different way then most other people do.
 
So if your plans include a visit to Kuldiga please enjoy your trip and its many historical sights!
 
"TheCeļotājs"
 
 
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Revised: 04/30/2013 – 15:42:41