“TheCeļotājs” –
Pāvilosta Saka Parish Sights in Courland
 
   
                 
 
Introduction and History of Pāvilosta
 
Pāvilosta is home to tenacious fishermen families. The town is a paradise for Latvia's toughest windsurfers. In this town of low-rise housing, almost all the streets lead to the sea. The port, the marine, the large boulder by the sea, 
untouched nature and sharp sea air attracts creative people to this place. Once overrun by the Soviet Union Military, Pāvilosta now boasts a pristine beach where amber is generously washed ashore.
 
Pāvilosta is a quiet neat little town in Kurzeme, on the Baltic Sea coast in the West of Latvia. 
 
The little town is a favorite with the active sports fans arriving in Pāvilosta each summer to enjoy the waves and the winds one only meets on the Pāvilosta coast.
 
Pāvilosta is a typical Kurzeme fishing village which has now evolved into a small town. In the middle ages, the estuary of the River Saka had an active port, but after the Polish-Russian war of the 17th century, the port was filled in and came back to life only at the end of 19th century when the river bed was deepened again. The historic part of Pāvilosta is called Āķgals, an example of the peculiar town planning and building at the end of 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, every street reaches the sea.
 
Pāvilosta is popular among windsurfers and kite-broadest because of the strong winds, peaceful nature and clean beaches, yet other holidaymakers also like this place very much, a tidy environment, the possibility to eat fish and to venture into the sea themselves. The history of old Pāvilosta and its environs is presented in an interesting and even unique exhibition at the Pāvilosta Museum. The Museum is located by the sea in the town’s first brick building “Loči”.
 
History of Pāvilosta 
 
In 1879, the German baron Otto Friedrich von Lilienfeld founded a harbor and town here which was called in the name of his brother, Governor of Kurzeme Paul von Lilienfeld, Pāvilosta “Paulshafen”. Pāvilosta was used to be call Āķagals. In 1878, construction of bulwarks was started which cost 8 thousand golden rubles to Baron Lilienfeld. More rapid development of Pāvilosta began along with the construction of Liepāja Karosta which was started in 1893 and the stones of Pāvilosta and Saka were used in this construction work. At the turn of 19th and 20th centuries, construction of sailing ships started. 15 sailing ships were built in Pāvilosta and their farthest cargo shipment has reached the coasts of France and Spain. The fleet of sailing vessels and motor boats of Pāvilosta was badly destroyed by the fire of the First World War. Around 1935, fishermen joined together as a cooperative and having lived through the storms of the Second World War established a fishermen artel “Dzintarjūra” in 1947. Pāvilosta prospered and developed as a significant fishing harbor. A lot of population of Jūrkalne moved to Pāvilosta and found a job here. The “silver” taken from the sea turned into rubles. Houses were built, the streets were laid with asphalt and lighted, a new school and recreation centre were built and a fishing fleet was expanded to 17 vessels for the earned money. In 1974, the fishermen collective farm “Dzintarjūra” became a division of Liepāja fishermen collective farm “Boļševiks” according to the state policy. The changes brought by the awakening period have also affected Pāvilosta, the former fishermen collective farm was led to bankruptcy as a result of mismanagement, however, fishermen found their place, they started coastal fishing which was forbidden during Soviet times and renewed the motorboat fleet by purchasing them from the Gotland fishermen. But since 2000, SIA ”N-Stars” has been managing the former fishermen collective farm. 
 
History of Port 
 
Pāvilosta’s history began with the building of a harbor at the mouth of the Saka River.
 
Information about the history of Pāvilosta dates back to the period of Duke Jekabs “1642-1682” when ships could enter the Saka River and Pāvilosta served as Aizputes harbor. This harbor was used to export wood, grain and other products to various other harbors in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Trade agreements with Danish merchants were especially prosperous.
 
After the war between the Swedes and Poles in 1660, the Saka River was dammed per the Swedish occupants to guarantee the growth and development of Riga’s harbors. Boulders were placed on the ice during the winter months. In the spring when the ice melted, the sunken boulders narrowed the path for sea vessels. 
 
In 1855 during the Crimean War, Russian boarder guards built their cordons in Pāvilosta to protect this strategic location. 
 
In the winter of 1878 the German Baron Otto fon Lilienfeld, owner of a large portion of land in this region, commissioned the building of the first wooden pier. The pier cost 8000 gold rubles. That spring when the river thawed, the extreme melt water dredged the river’s bed enough that the first large ships could harbor in Pāvilosta.
 
The foundation for the Captain’s Quarters was laid in 1879 during the May 16th commemoration. This building was completed that very same year. During its existence it was utilized as a lodge, bar, German army bunks and a customs office. After World War II it served as an administrative office and warehouse for the local fishermen’s association “Dzintarjūra”. Later this building was reestablished as Pāvilosta’s museum which to this day houses information about Pāvilosta and the Saka region’s history.
 
The town of Pāvilosta remained nameless until it was named after Otto fon Lilienfeld’s brother Paul. Later the harbor was also known as “Pavlovskaja Gavan” and “Pavlovsk”.
 
Baron Lilienfeld purchased five small ships and a tugboat to transport exports from his own properties and the Liepāja market. This made him a very wealthy man.
 
In August of 1893 Russian Tsar Alexander the III commissioned construction of a naval port in Liepāja. This job required massive amounts of boulders, which were taken from Pāvilosta and transported by sea to the naval port.
 
From 1890 to 1895 the Pāvilosta harbor’s pier was extended by 90 meters. When transport of the boulders to Liepaja ended, the harbor’s main activity included ship construction, fishing and commerce. During this time the harbor was very active. Before World War I, Pāvilosta housed about 20 seaworthy ships and nearly 100 fishing boats. The harbor had its own rescue center. To ensure the necessary depth of the harbor, 70,000 cubic meters of sand were removed from the bed of the sea. Approximately 100 meters from Pāvilosta’s shore rests Latvia’s largest sea boulder “15 meters wide, 3.5 meters tall and 1.5 meters underwater”.
 
From 1923 to 1929 the harbor was reconstructed and financed by the government. The pier was widened and the mouth of the harbor was deepened. The government invested 2.4 million Lats into reconstruction work. While commercial activity was minimal at Pāvilosta harbor "mainly wood export" the harbor had its own border patrol and rescue unit. Pāvilosta was the best-maintained harbor among all of the small harbors in Latvia.
 
Local fishermen owned 18 motorboats and 6 rowboats with sails. They fished for silver breams, cod, sardines and salmon. The harbor included fish-works industry such as cleaning, preserving, smoking and freezing.
 
During World War II all commercial activities at the harbor were halted because the harbor was used only for coastguard ships. Many political refugees emigrated to other European countries and America via Pāvilosta harbor. During the war almost all private ships and boats were destroyed.
 
In 1949 a new landing for ships and a fuel warehouse were built. The harbor was dredged regularly.  
During Soviet occupation fishing collectives controlled all activity in Pāvilosta and local fishermen had limited access to the harbor.
With the building and grand opening of Pāvilosta Marina on 20 May 2006, the harbor has been reborn and a new and meaningful period in Pāvilosta’s history has begun. 
 
 
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Revised: 07/21/2013 – 17:40:14