Liepāja (pronounced [liepaːja] ( listen)), (German: Libau;
see other names) is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic
Sea. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region and the third
largest city in the country after
Riga and Daugavpils. It is an
important ice-free port. In 2017 population of
Liepāja is 69,443
In the 19th and early 20th century it was a favourite place for
sea-bathers with the town boasting a fine park and many pretty
gardens, and a theatre.
Liepāja is however known throughout Latvia
City where the wind is born", likely because of the constant sea
breeze. A song of the same name (Latvian: "Pilsētā, kurā piedzimst
vējš") was composed by
Imants Kalniņš and has become the anthem of
the city. Its reputation as the windiest city in
strengthened with the construction of the largest wind farm in the
Enercon wind turbines) nearby.
The Coat of Arms of
Liepāja was adopted four days after the
jurisdiction gained city rights on 18 March 1625. These are
described as: "on a silver background, the lion of
Courland with a
divided tail, who leans upon a linden (Latvian: Liepa) tree with its
forelegs." The flag of
Liepāja has the coat of arms in the center,
with red in the top half and green in the bottom.
1 Names and etymology
2.1 Early history
2.2 Livonian confederation
2.3 Duchy of
Courland and Semigallia
2.4 Russian Empire
2.5 World War I and War of Independence
2.7 World War II
2.8 Latvian SSR
4.2 Libava fortress
4.5 Closest cities
5 Architecture and sightseeing
5.1 Monuments and memorials
5.1.1 Former monuments
5.4 Notable buildings
9.1 Roads and bridges
9.2 Electricity distribution and generation
9.4 Sewer and water
9.6 Waste management
10 Society and culture
10.1 Literature, theater and films
10.4 Tourism and entertainment
13 Former city mayors
13.1 Russian Empire
13.3 Soviet Union
14 Education and science
15 Representation in other media
16 Notable natives
17 International relations
17.1 Twin towns – sister cities
19 See also
20 Notes and references
22 External links
Names and etymology
See also: Names of
Liepāja in different languages
It is said[by whom?] that the first settlement at the location of
Liepāja was known by the name Līva from the name of the river
Līva on which
Liepāja was located. The name was derived from the
Livonian word Liiv meaning "sand". The oldest written text mentioning
the Latvian name is said[by whom?] to be dated 4 April 1253. In 1263,
Teutonic Order established a town which they called Libau in
German. The Latvian name
Liepāja was mentioned for the first time in
Paul Einhorn in his work Historia Lettica. A Russian name from
the time of the
Russian Empire was Либава or Либау,
although Лиепая, a transliteration of
Liepāja has been used
since World War II.
Some other names for the city include Liepoja in Lithuanian, Lipawa
in Polish and ליבאַװע (Libave) in Yiddish.
It is said[by whom?] that the original settlement at the location of
Liepāja was founded by Curonian fishermen from
Līva, but Henry (Henricus Lettus) of Livonia, in his famous
Chronicle, makes no mention of the settlement. The Teutonic Order
established a town which they called Libau here in 1263, followed by
Mitau two years later. In 1418 the city was sacked and burned by the
During the 15th century, a part of the trade route from
Moscow passed through Līva, where it was known as the "white road to
Lyva portus". By 1520 the river Līva had become too shallow for easy
navigation, and development of the city declined.
Courland and Semigallia
Gotthard Kettler loaned all the
Grobiņa district, including
Albert, Duke of Prussia
Albert, Duke of Prussia for 50,000 guldens. Only in 1609
after the marriage of Sofie Hohenzollern, Princess of Prussia, to
Wilhelm Kettler did the territory return to the Duchy. During the
Livonian War, Libau was attacked and burnt by the Swedes.
In 1625, Duke
Friedrich Kettler of
Courland granted the town city
rights, which were affirmed by King Sigismund III of
Poland in 1626,
although under what legal authority Sigismund had is debatable. Under
Jacob Kettler (1642–1681), Libau became one of the main ports
Courland as it reached the height of its prosperity. In 1637
Couronian colonization was started from the ports of Libau and
Ventspils (Windau). Kettler was an eager proponent of mercantilist
ideas. Metalworking and ship building became much more developed, and
trading relations developed not only with nearby countries, but also
with Britain, France, the Netherlands and Portugal.
In 1697–1703 a canal was cut to the sea and a more modern port was
built. In 1701, during the Great Northern War, Libau was captured
by Charles XII of Sweden, but by the end of the war, the city had
returned to titular Polish possession. In 1710 an epidemic of
plague killed about a third of the population. In 1780 the first
Freemasonry lodge, "Libanons," was established by Provincial Grand
Ivan Yelagin on behalf of the Provincial Lodge of Russia; it
was registered as number 524 in the Grand Lodge of England.
Courland passed to the control of the
Russian Empire in 1795 during
Partition of Poland
Partition of Poland and was organized as the Courland
Governorate of Russia. Growth during the nineteenth century was rapid.
During the Crimean War, when the British
Royal Navy was blockading
Russian Baltic ports, the busy yet still unfortified port of Libau was
briefly captured on 17 May 1854 without a shot being fired, by a
landing party of 110 men from HMS Conflict and HMS Amphion.
In 1857 an Imperial Decree provided for a new railway to Libau, and
the same year the engineer
Jan Heidatel developed a project to
reconstruct the port. In 1861–1868 the project was realized –
including the building of a lighthouse and breakwaters. Between
1877–1882 the political and literary weekly newspaper Liepājas
Pastnieks was published – the first
Latvian language newspaper in
Libau. In the 1870s the further rapid development of Russian
railways, especially the 1871 opening of the Libava-
Kaunas and the
1876 Liepāja–Romny Railways, ensured that a large proportion of
central Russian trade passed through Libau. By 1900, 7% of Russian
exports were passing through Libau. The city became a major port of
Russian Empire on the Baltic Sea, as well as a popular resort.
On the orders of Alexander III, Libau was fortified against possible
German attacks. Fortifications were subsequently built around the
city, and in the early 20th century, a major military base was
established on the northern edge. It included formidable coastal
fortifications and extensive quarters for military personnel. As part
of the military development, a separate port was excavated for
exclusively military use. This area became known as Kara Osta (War
Port) and served military needs throughout the twentieth century.
Early in the twentieth century, the port of Libau became a central
point of embarkation for immigrants traveling to the United States. By
1906 the direct ship service to the
United States was used by 40,000
migrants per year. Simultaneously, the first Russian training school
of submarine navigation was founded. In 1912 one of the first water
Russia was opened in Libau. In 1913, 1,738 ships
entered Libau, with 1,548,119 tones of cargo passing through the port.
The population had increased from 10,000 to over 100,000 within about
World War I and War of Independence
Libau's 5 rubles (1915)
Following the outbreak of
The Great War
The Great War the German cruiser SMS
Magdeburg shelled Libau, while other vessels laid mines off the
approaches to the port. Libau was soon occupied by the German
Army, on 7 May 1915, and in memory of this event, a monument was
constructed on Kūrmājas Prospect in 1916 (destroyed by
1919). Libau's local government issued its own money for a while in
this period – Libaua rubles. An advanced German
Zeppelin base was
constructed at Vaiņode, near Liepāja, with five hangars, in August
1915. On 23 October 1915, the German cruiser SMS Prinz
Adalbert was sunk by the British submarine HMS E8, 37 km
(23 mi) west of Libau.
With collapse of
Russia and the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
the occupying German forces had a quiet time but the subsequent
collapse of German Empire and the Allied denunciation of the
Brest-Litovsk Treaty changed everything. The Independence of Republic
Latvia was proclaimed in November 18, 1918 and the Latvian
Provisional Government under
Karlis Ulmanis was created. Bolshevik
Russia now advanced into Latvian territory and met little resistance
here. Soon the Provisional Government and remaining German units were
forced to leave
Riga and retreated all the way to Liepāja, but then
the Red offensive stalled along the
Venta river. A Latvian Soviet
Republic was announced.
Latvia now became the main theatre of Baltic
operations for the remaining German forces in 1919. In addition, a
Landeswehr was formed to work in conjunction with the German forces.
Liepāja a coup organized by Germans took place on 16 April 1919
and Ulmanis government was forced to flee and was replaced by Andrievs
Niedra. Ulmanis government found a shelter on steamship "Saratov" in
Liepāja port. In May a British cruiser squadron arrived at Libau to
support Latvian independence and requested the Germans to leave.
During the war, the words of "The Jäger March" were written in Libau
by Heikki Nurmio.
The German Freikorps, having recaptured
Riga from the Bolsheviks,
departed in late 1919, and with some Polish assistance the Bolsheviks
were driven out of the Latvian hinterlands in early 1920.
During the interwar period
Liepāja was the second major city in
Latvia. In an attempt to put Libau 'on the map', on 31 January 1922
the Libau Bank was founded with significant new capital, transforming
the old Libau Exchange Bank which had belonged to the Libau Exchange
Association, and it eventually became the fourth largest of Latvia's
joint stock banks. However, when a
Riga branch of the bank was opened,
the business centre of gravity shifted from
Liepāja so that by 1923
Riga 'branch' was responsible for 90% of the turnover. The German
Liepāja reported at the time that "Riga, the economic heart
of the country, draws all business to itself." The Latvian government
ignored the pleas of the Libau Exchange Association to frustrate
this. In 1935 KOD (Latvian: Kara ostas darbnīcas) started to
manufacture the light aircraft
KOD-1 and KOD-2 at Liepāja. However it
became evident in this year that trade with the new
Soviet Union had
World War II
Top secret USSR document about creating a closed military port in
Liepāja. Signed by Stalin (note: there is a spelling mistake in the
word "Liepāja" – Russian: Лепая) (1951)
The ports and human capital of
Ventspils were targets of
Joseph Stalin. He signed the
Molotov–Ribbentrop pact in part to gain
control of this territory. When the
Soviet Union annexed the territory
in 1940, it nationalized private property. Many thousands of former
owners were arrested and deported to the gulag camps in Siberia.
Liepāja was among the first cities captured by the 291st
Army Group North after Nazi
Germany began Operation
Barbarossa, its war against the Soviet Union. German Nazis and Latvian
collaborators virtually exterminated the local Jewish population,
which had numbered about 7,000 before the war. Film footage of an
Einsatzgruppen execution of local Jews was taken in Liepāja. Most
of these mass murders took place in the dunes of
Šķēde north of the
city. Fewer than thirty Jews survived in
Liepāja by the end of the
During the period 1944–1945, as the
Soviet Union began its offensive
to the Baltic Sea,
Liepāja was within the "
Courland Pocket". It was
occupied by the
Soviet army on 9 May 1945. Thousands of Latvians fled
as refugees to Germany. The city had been devastated during the war,
and most of the buildings and industrial plant were destroyed.
On 25–29 March 1949, the
Soviet Union organized a second mass
Siberia from Liepāja. In 1950 a monument to Stalin was
erected on Station square (Latvian: Stacijas laukums). It was
dismantled in 1958 after the Party Congress that discussed his abuses.
During 1953–1957 the city center was reconstructed under the
direction of architects A. Kruglov and M. Žagare. In 1952–1955
Liepāja Academy of Pedagogy building was constructed under the
direction of A. Aivars. In 1960 the Kurzeme shopping centre was
opened. During the Soviet administration,
Liepāja was a closed city;
even local farmers and villagers needed a special permit to enter it.
The Soviet military set up its Baltic naval base and nuclear weapon
warehouses there; The Beberliņš sandpit was dug out to extract sand
used for constructing underground warehouses. In 1967 the Soviets
completely closed the port to commercial traffic. One third of the
city was taken up with a Soviet naval base; its military staff
numbered 26,000. The 14th Submarine Squadron of the USSR's Baltic
Fleet (Russian: 14 эскадрилья ЛиВМБ ДКБФ, call sign
"Комплекс") was stationed there with 16 submarines (Types:
613, 629a, 651); as was the 6th group of Rear Supply of the Baltic
Fleet, and the 81st Design Bureau and Reserve Command Center of the
Liepāja was awarded the
Order of the October Revolution
Order of the October Revolution for
heroic defense against Nazi
Germany in 1941. Five residents were
awarded the honorary title Hero of Socialist Labor: Anatolijs
Filatkins, Artūrs Fridrihsons, Voldemārs Lazdups, Valentins
Šuvajevs and Otīlija Žagata. Because of the rapid growth of the
city's population, a shortage of apartment houses resulted. To resolve
this, the Soviet government organized development of most of the
Liepāja districts: Dienvidrietumi, Ezerkrasts, Ziemeļu
priekšpilsēta, Zaļā birze and Tosmare. The majority of these
blocks were constructed of ferro-concrete panels in standard projects
designed by the state
Latgyprogorstroy Institute (Russian:
Латгипрогорстрой). In 1986 the new central city
Zaļa birze was opened.
Soviet-era apartment blocks in Liepāja
Latvia regained independence after the fall of the Soviet Union,
Liepāja has worked hard to change from a military city into a modern
port city (again appearing on European maps after the secrecy of the
Soviet period). The commercial port was re-opened in 1991, and in 1994
the last Russian troops left Liepāja. Since then,
engaged in international co-operation, has been associated with 10
twin and partner cities, and is an active partner in several
co-operation networks. Facilities are being improved. The city is the
location of Latvia's largest naval flotilla, the largest warehouses of
ammunition and weapons in the Baltic states, and the main supply
centre of the Latvian army.
At the beginning of the 21st century, many ambitious construction
projects were planned for the city, including a
NATO military base,
Baltic Sea Park, planned as the biggest amusement park in the
Baltic states. Most of the projects have not yet been realised due to
economic and political factors. Liepāja's heating network was
renovated with the cooperation of French and Russian companies: Dalkia
and Gazprom, respectively. In 2006, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands,
a direct descendant of
Jacob Kettler visited Liepāja. In 2010 the
coal cogeneration 400 MW power plant was built in
Liepāja with the
support of the government.
Liepāja enjoys a semi-continental climate noted as "Dfb" in the
Köppen classification. The major factor influencing the weather in
the region is the Baltic Sea, providing a relatively mild winter for
its high latitude (although snowy) and a relatively cool summer.
During the winter the sea around
Liepāja is virtually ice-free.
Although occasionally some land-fast ice may develop, it seldom
reaches a hundred meters from the shore and does not last long before
melting. The sea warms up fully only in the beginning of August, so
the best bathing season in
Liepāja is from August to September.
Summers are more affected by the maritime climate than east-facing
cities on similar latitudes in opposite Sweden, but winters are milder
than inland areas to the east. Regular meteorological observations in
the city have been conducted from 1857.
February: −3.1 °C (26 °F)
July: 16.0 °C (61 °F)
Absolute minimum of temperature: −33 °C (−27 °F)
Absolute maximum of temperature: 34 °C (93 °F)
Number of sunny days per year: 196
Average speed of wind: 5.8 m/s (13 mph)
Average annual norm of precipitation (mostly rain): 692 mm
Typical wind directions: in the winter – southern, in the summer –
Climate data for
Liepaja (1981-2010 temp and precipitation, 1961-1990
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
NOAA (sun 1961-1990)
Source #2: Weatherbase (precipitation, humidity, extremes) Source
#3: Météo Climat 
Beach in Liepāja
Liepāja is situated on the coast of the
Baltic Sea in the
south-western part of Latvia. The westernmost geographical point of
Latvia is located approximately 15 km (9 mi) to the south
Liepāja Latvia's furthest west city.
Liepāja is situated
Baltic Sea and
Liepāja Lake with residential and
industrial areas spreading north of the lake. The Trade Channel
(Tirdzniecības kanāls) connects the lake to the sea dividing the
city into southern and northern parts, which are often referred to as
the Old Town (Vecliepāja) and the New Town (Jaunliepāja)
respectively. The city center is located in the southern part and,
although called the Old Town, is relatively more developed. Most of
the administrative and cultural buildings are found here as well as
the main leisure areas. Along the coast the city extends northwards
until it reaches the
Karosta Channel (Karostas kanāls). North of the
Karosta Channel is an area called
Karosta which is now fully
Liepāja and is the northernmost district of the city.
Liepāja's coastline consists of an unbroken sandy beach and dunes as
does most of Latvia's coastline. The beach of
Liepāja is not as
exploited as other places (e.g. the Gulf of Riga,
Jūrmala and Pärnu
in Estonia) but also lacks the tourist infrastructure needed for a
fashionable, modern resort.
Jūrmala Park (Seaside Park) is located in the western part of the
city at the seaside. The park is 3 km (2 mi) long with a
total area of 70 ha and is one of the largest planted parks in Latvia.
It was developed at the end of the 19th century At the end of Peldu
Street are Latvia's largest drums – one of the objects of Liepāja's
environmental design which reminds one that
Liepāja is the music
capital of Latvia. The open-air concert stage Pūt, vējiņi! (Blow,
wind, blow!) was built in 1964. It has been the venue for a good many
concerts and festivals, with the festival "Liepājas Dzintars" ("Amber
of Liepāja") being the most famous among them, as it could be
regarded as the oldest rock festival of the former Soviet Union. It
was held for the first time in 1968. Alongside the stage is an
interesting building, the former Bath House built in 1902 and designed
by Max Paul Bertschy. At the beginning of the 19th century Liepāja
was a renowned health resort and the Russian tsar and his family had
been visiting Liepāja. This all encouraged other aristocrats from
Russia and Europe to spend their summers in
Liepāja as well.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Libava fortress was the most
expensive and ambitious project of the Russian army on the Baltic sea.
The massive concrete fortifications with eight cannon batteries was
built to protect the city and its population from German attacks.
Secret underground passages of the fortress became the most famous
Liepāja's urban legend.
The closest city to
Liepāja is Grobiņa, located about 10 kilometres
(6.2 mi) away towards Riga. Other main cities in the region are
Klaipėda (approx. 110 km (68 mi) to the south), Ventspils
(approx. 115 km (71 mi) to the north) and
100 km (62 mi) to the east). The distance to
capital of Latvia) is about 200 km (124 mi) to the east. The
nearest point to
Liepāja across the Baltic sea is the Swedish island
Gotland approximately 160 km (99 mi) to the north-west.
The distance to
Stockholm is 216 nautical miles.
Architecture and sightseeing
Liepāja is rich in different architecture styles: wooden houses, Art
Nouveau buildings, Soviet-era apartments and a number of green parks
all contribute to the character of the city. The main areas of
interest for tourists include the city center with its many churches,
the Seaside park with white sandy beaches and the northern suburb of
Karosta, a former secret military encampment which is now a major
tourist attraction. Other areas of interest for tourists are
Vecliepāja; Ezerkrasts, which is close to
Liepāja lake; and the
Karosta beaches with their picturesque blasted forts.
Monuments and memorials
Monument to the sailors and fishermen lost at sea – 1977
Monument to the Defenders of
Liepāja in 1941–1960
Monument to 1919 Freedom Fighters
Mirdza Ķempe – 1989
Monument to Ēvalds Rimbenieks – 2008
Memorial wall in Zaļa birze
Nikolay Dedaev Monument
Hermes (Liela 10)
1 Rock Café Guitar
The Amber clock
Imants Sudmalis – 1978 (partially dismantled and
Monument to Lenin – 1970 (dismantled)
Nelson Stepanyan (relocated to Kaliningrad)
Monument to the 11 sailors of
Soviet submarine L-3
Soviet submarine L-3 (relocated to
Monument to the submariners of the
Baltic Sea (partially dismantled)
Liepaja Museum "
Liepaja during the occupational regimes"
Museum "History of
Liepāja Community of Jews"
Museum "Liepājas Metalurgs" (founded in 2007)
Baptist Church (1895)
Lutheran Church (1587)
Liepāja Holy Trinity Lutheran Cathedral
Liepāja Holy Trinity Lutheran Cathedral (1758)
St. Joseph's Catholic Cathedral (1762)
Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (1867)
St Nicholas Naval Cathedral,
St. Meinhard's church
Rose square (Latvian: Rožu laukums)
Swan Pond (remnant of river Līva)
Peter The Great
Peter The Great house – the oldest house in Liepāja
Graudu 45 – Graudu nams (Jugendstil)
Graudu 42 – former "Bonic Café"
Pētertirgus – Central market
City council building – former District court
Restaurant "Vecais Kapteins"
University of Liepāja
University of Liepāja building
1st Latvian Rock Café
Public transport in Liepāja
The urban transport network of
Liepāja relies mainly on buses and
minicoaches. As of 2009[update] there are 12 bus routes and 5 minibus
routes in Liepāja. The city also has a single two-way
6.9-kilometre-long (4.3-mile) tram line running through some parts of
the city from north-east to south-west, which also provides a vital
transport link. The tram line was founded after the opening of the
Liepāja power plant in 1899, which makes it the oldest electric
tram line in the Baltic states; it is now operated by the municipal
company Liepājas tramvajs. The
Port of Liepāja
Port of Liepāja has a wide water area
and consists of three main parts. The Winter harbor is located in the
Trade channel and serves small local fishing vessels as well as medium
cargo ships. Immediately north of the Trade channel is the main area
of the port, separated from the open sea by a line of breakwaters.
This part of the port can accommodate large ships and ferries. Further
Karosta harbor, also called
Karosta channel, which was
formerly a military harbor but is now used for ship repairs and other
Liepāja also welcomes yachts and other leisure
vessels which can enter the Trade channel and moor almost in the
center of the city.
Liepāja has a railway connection to
Riga and through them to the rest of Latvia's railway network. There
is just one passenger station in the New town, but the railway extends
further and links to the port. There is also a northward railway track
leading to Ventspils, but in recent decades it has fallen into disuse
for economic reasons. The railway provides the main means of
delivering cargo to the port. Two main highways, the A9 and A11,
connect the city and its port to the rest of the country. The A9 leads
Riga and central
Latvia and the A11 leads south to
the border with
Lithuania and its only port
Klaipėda and to Palanga
International Airport. The city also hosts
Airport, one of three international airports in Latvia; it is located
outside the city limits, north of the Lake of
Cimdenieki. The airport is serviced by charter flights and an Air
Baltic connection to
Riga International Airport.
Communication systems in
Liepāja are well-developed. The city is
connected to the global Internet by three optical lines owned by
Lattelecom, TeliaSonera International Carrier and
Latvenergo and a
radio relay line owned by LVRTC. There are four
exchanges and the LVRTC TV station and tower, which transmits four
national TV channels, two local TV channels — "TV Dzintare" and "TV
Kurzeme" and six radio stations. It has two local cable TV operators
with a total number of subscribers about 15000 and three local ISPs.
The city also has its own amateur radio community and a citywide
wireless video monitoring system. As of 2010[update], digital
terrestrial television is fully operational; mobile television and
broadband wireless networks are ready for implementation. All four
Latvian mobile operators have stable zones of coverage (
UMTS, 2100 CDMA450) and client service centers in Liepāja. The city
also has fourteen post offices as well as DHL, UPS and DPD depots.
Men fish alongside the Tirdzniecības Kanāls (Trade Canal)
In the second half of the 20th century under Soviet rule Liepāja
became an industrial city and numerous high technology plants were
Mashzavod (Russian: Машзавод, Лиепайский
Liepajselmash (Russian: Лиепайсельмаш) – 1954 (now
Sarkanais Metalurgs (now Liepājas Metalurgs)
SRZ-29 (Russian: СРЗ-29, 29-й судоремонтный
завод) (now Tosmares kuģu būvētava)
LBORF (Russian: ЛБОРФ, Лиепайская база
Океанрыбфлота) – 1964
Bolshevik (Russian: Рыболовецкий колхоз
"Большевик") – 1949 (now Kursa)
Perambulator factory "Liepāja" (Russian: Колясочная
Mixed fodder plant (Russian: Лиепайский
Sugar plant (Russian: Лиепайская сахарная
Match factory "Baltija" (Russian: Лиепайская
спичечная фабрика "Балтия") – 1957
Ferro-concrete constructions plant (Russian: Лиепайский 5-й
завод железобетонных конструкций) –
Oil extraction plant (Russian: Mаслоэкстракционный
SU-426 of BMGS (Russian: СУ-426 треста
Балтморгидрострой) (now BMGS)
Lauma (Russian: Лиепайский галантерейный
комбинат Лаума) – 1972
After collapse of USSR's centrally planned economy, only some of these
plants continue to operate.
Liepāja is well known mostly by coffee brand Liepājas
kafija, beer Līvu alus and sugar Liepājas cukurs. In 1997 the
Special Economic Zone was established for 20 years providing a
low tax environment in order to attract foreign investments and
facilitate the economic development of Liepāja, but investment growth
remained slow due to a shortage of skilled labor force. The main
Liepāja are the steel producer Liepājas Metalurgs,
building firm UPB and the underwear brand Lauma. The economy of
Liepāja relies heavily on its port which accepts a wide range of
cargo. The most notable companies working in Liepaja's port are Baltic
Transshipment Center, Liepajas Osta LM, Laskana, Astramar and
Terrabalt. After joining
European Union in 2004, most Liepāja
companies was faced with strict European rules and terse competition
and was forced to stop production or to sell enterprises to European
companies. In 2007 Liepājas cukurfabrika and Liepājas sērkociņi
closed down; Līvu alus, Liepājas maiznieks and Lauma have been sold
to European investors.
Roads and bridges
Electricity distribution and generation
Sewer and water
Society and culture
Literature, theater and films
Liepāja currently has one cinema, one theater ("Liepājas
teatris"), one puppet theater, and two regional newspapers
("Kurzemes Vārds" with a circulation of about 10,000 and "Kursas
Laiks" with a circulation of about 6,500). The city also has several
regional Internet portals. Web forums, blogs, computer games and
social networking sites are very popular among young people.
Liepāja Concert Hall "Lielais Dzintars"
Liepāja is often called the capital of Latvian rock music. Many
famous composers and bands have been inspired by Liepāja, including
Līvi, Credo, 2xBBM and Tumsa. In the center of
Liepāja there was 1st
Latvian Rock Café (now bankrupt) and Latvian Musician's Walk of Fame.
The oldest in
Latvia pop music festival Liepājas Dzintars was held in
Liepāja from 1964 to 2006 presenting bands from
Baltic states as well
as internationally famous guests. Since 2011 the city is a place of
the LMT Summer Sound, the annual music festival with a stages raised
directly on the beach. It draws thousands of fans each year. Liepāja
is also a place of Organ Music festival and Piano Stars festival,
being organized by one of the country's two State Orchestras, Liepāja
Symphony Orchestra. There is also Wind Orchestra
was founded by Youth centrum and musical school of Emilis Melngailis.
This orchestra also made a new tradition, it made international
festival called Wind Rhythms which is widely known in between of
eastern European wind orchestras.
Liepāja's Olympic Centre
In 1998 an ice hall was built in the city which has since hosted
regular ice hockey games including two youth World championship games.
HK Liepāja became champions of
Latvian Hockey Higher League
Latvian Hockey Higher League in
Liepāja is also located Daugava Stadium and Olimpija Stadium –
the home stadiums of
FK Liepāja and tennis courts.
On 2 August 2008 a new multipurpose sports arena –
Centre was officially opened. It has been established as one of the
most modern multipurpose sports and cultural complexes in Latvia. 18
000 m2 large area
Liepāja Olympic center five floors located in a
wide range of functions gyms for basketball, volleyball, floorball,
table tennis, boxing, judo, Greco-Roman and free-fighting, as well as
space for concerts, conferences, seminars, performances, banquets,
contests, dances, meetings and celebrations.
Liepāja Olympic center
pool and SPA zone is the largest and most modern swimming pool and SPA
center in Kurzeme district with a relaxation zone, water massage,
bubble baths, three types of saunas, a water attraction zone for
children and two swimming pools. Gross floor area of the building is
3200 m2 on three levels: the 1st floor includes entrance hall,
reception, cloakroom, beauty salon. On the second floor you will find
changing rooms and massage rooms, but the swimming pools and SPA zone
are located on the 3rd floor.
Liepāja is home to the BK Liepājas Lauvas, a professional basketball
The city is also a place of international Rally Kurzeme and a chess
tournament Liepājas Rokāde.
Tourism and entertainment
Liepāja encourages tourism. The main attraction is the pristine Blue
Flag beach with white sand and rolling dunes, but the city also offers
a number of historical sites, including Protestant and Orthodox
churches and the ruins of military fortifications from the times of
the Russian Empire. A surprisingly well-preserved wooden hut was the
residence of Russian tsar Peter the Great for some time while he was
touring the region in 1697 during the Grand Embassy.
Red Sun Buffet Beach Club
in Summer Red Sun Buffet Beach Club
With 85,345 inhabitants in 2007,
Liepāja is the third-largest city in
Latvia. Its population has declined since the withdrawal of Soviet
military forces; the last of which left in 1994. In addition, many
ethnic Russians, emigrated to
Russia in 1991–2000. More recent
causes include economic migration to western European countries after
Latvia joined the EU in 2004, and lower birth rates.
According to the 2017 census, ethnic Latvians make up 55.5% of the
Liepāja (in comparison, the proportion of native
Latvians nationwide is 62.1%). Ethnic Russians make up 30.3% of the
See also: Roman Catholic Diocese of Liepāja
Liepāja has a number of churches. As elsewhere in central and western
Latvia, Protestant churches, mostly
Lutheran are predominant. Holy
Trinity Cathedral houses the seat of the
Lutheran Bishop of Liepāja.
Lutheran congregations are St. Anne, Church of the Cross and
Church of Luther. There are four
Baptist congregations in the city,
among them are
St. Paul church and Church of Zion.
Owing to the regional importance of
Liepāja during the last decades
of the Russian Empire, a number of Russian Orthodox churches were
established in the city early in the twentieth century. Their
congregations are chiefly drawn from the Russian-speaking population.
The Catholic faith is represented in
Liepāja by a St. Joseph
Cathedral - seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Liepāja, Catholic
primary school and the Catholic centre. The structure of the Catholic
centre was used to represent the Vatican in
Expo 2000 in
was transferred to
Liepāja after the event.
Other Christian sects include Old Ritualists, Adventist, Pentecostal,
Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses, who have single
congregations and churches.
Fourteen deputies and a mayor make up the
City's voters select a new government every four years, in June. The
Council selects from its members the Chairman of
City Council (also
City Mayor), the two Vice chairmans (Deputy Mayors) which are
City Council also appoints the members of four
standing committees, which prepare issues to be discussed in the
Council meetings: Finance Committee;
City Economy and Development
Committee; Social Affairs, Health Care, Education and Public Order
Committee; Culture and Sports Committee. The
Liepāja had an
operating budget of LVL 31 millions in 2006, more than half of which
comes from income tax. Traditionally, political leanings in Liepāja
have been right-wing, although only about 70% of the population have
voting rights. In recent years the
Liepāja Party has dominated the
polls. The party has an agreement with the Union of Greens and
Farmers, the leading party in the Kučinskis cabinet.
Former city mayors
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Johanns Ruprehts (German: Johann Ruprecht) (about 1631–1638) – the
first city burgomaster
Kārlis Gotlībs Sigismunds Ūlihs (1878–1880) – the first
publicly elected city mayor
Ādolfs fon Bagehūfilds (1882–1886)
Hermanis Adolfi (1886–1902)
Kristiāns Cinks (1902–1906) and (1908–1910)
Viljams Dreiersdorfs (1906–1908)
Alberts Volgemuts (1910–1914)
Teodors Breikšs (1914–1915)
Andrējs Bērziņš (1918–1919)
Ansis Buševics (19.01.1919–17 February 1921)
Jēkabs Cincelis (02.1921–08.1921)
Jānis Baumanis (
Liepāja mayor) (29.08.1921–27 February 1922)
Ēvalds Rimbenieks (1922–1928) and (1934–1940)
Leo Lapa (1928–1934)
Miķelis Būka (1941) First Secretary
Matīss Edžiņš (10.05.1945–05.10.1945)
Rodions Ansons (05.10.1945–21 April 1950)
Pēteris Ezeriņš (27.12.1950–18 June 1953)
Voldemārs Lejiņš (1953–1956)
Yuri Ruben (1960–1963) First Secretary
Ž. Revenieks (1963–1966) First Secretary
Kārlis Strautiņs (09.11.1965–09.1.1971)
Janis Vagris (1967–1973) First Secretary
Egils Ozols (19.03.1971–29 June 1977)
Jānis Liepiņš (29.06.1977–07.03.1985)
Alfrēds Drozda (1985–1990)
Imants Vismins (1990–1994)
Teodors Eniņš (1994–1997)
Uldis Sesks (1997–present)
Education and science
Liepāja has wide educational resources and long traditions of Soviet
education. Most well-educated young people leave the city because of
low wages and a lack of high-technology and prosperous firms. The city
has 21 kindergartens, 8 Latvian schools, 5 Russian schools, 1 school
with mixed language of education, 1 evening school, 2 music schools
and two internat schools. Interest education for children and youth is
available in 8 municipal institutions: Children and Youth Centre,
Youth Centre, Centre for Young Technicians, Art and Creation Centre
"Vaduguns", Complex Sport School, Gymnastics School, Tennis Sports
School, Sports School "Daugava" (football, track-and-field athletics)
and Basketball Sports School.
Higher and professional education in
Liepāja represented by:
University of Liepāja
Riga Technical University
Baltic Russian Institute
School of Business Administration Turiba
School of Business Administration Turiba
Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy Liepāja
Liepāja Applied Art School
Liepāja Marine College
Liepaja Medical College
Liepāja 48 College
Liepāja 31 College
Liepāja Central Library has six branches and audio record library.
Literature fund consists of about 460,000 copies and online
catalog. Average annual number of visitors – 25000.
Percent of resident population with only primary education (2001) –
Percent of resident population with secondary education (2001) – 40%
Percent of resident population with tertiary education (2001) –
Representation in other media
In 1979 a part of the film Moonzund was filmed in the town.
Indriķis Šterns – historian
Eugen Altschul – economist
Teofils Biķis – Latvian pianist
Aron Boyarsky – economist
Aleksandra Briede – sculptor
Valdemārs Baumanis - basketball coach
Herberts Cukurs – Latvian aviator and Nazi collaborator
Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler
Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler (1892–1953) – rabbi
Reuven Dov Dessler (1863–1935) – rabbi
Alexander Faltin (1819–1899) – lawyer, politician
Ivo Fomins and Tomass Kleins – artists
Dora Gordine – Estonian-Jewish sculptress
Morris Halle – Latvian-American Jewish linguist
Leonard Herzenberg – linguist
Zvi Harry Hurwitz
Zvi Harry Hurwitz – South African journalist, Israeli diplomat and
adviser to two prime ministers
Jēkabs Janševskis – writer
Arvids Jansons – Latvian conductor, father of the conductor Mariss
Stanisław Jaśkiewicz – Polish actor
Leon Josephson (1898–1966) – American lawyer and Soviet spy
Rolf Kahn – football player, father of the German goalkeeper Oliver
Mirdza Ķempe – Latvian poet
Talivaldis Kenins – Canadian composer
Woldemar Kernig – Russian and German neurologist
Jacob Klein (1899–1978) – Russian-American Jewish philosopher
Miroslavs Kodis – journalist, Latvian Television
Konstantin Konstantinovs - Russian powerlifter
Vinifreds Kraučis – translator
John Martens (1875–1936) – architect
Victor Matison – TV commentator, Rotarian
Yanka Maur – Belarusian writer
Zenta Mauriņa (1897–1978) – Latvian writer
Romans Miloslavskis – swimmer
Kristaps Porziņģis – basketball player
Jānis Rinkus - footballer
Arthur Sakheim (1889–1931) – writer and journalist
Anastasija Sevastova – tennis player
Mikhail Sheleg – Russian shanson singer
Simeon Shubin – physicist
Lina Stern (1878–1968) – Soviet-Jewish biochemist, physiologist,
first female full member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences
Eduards Tisse – Soviet cameraman
Miķelis Valters – Latvian politician
Janis Vanags – Latvian
Māris Verpakovskis – Latvian football striker
Voldemārs Zandbergs – actor
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Latvia
Twin towns – sister cities
Liepāja is twinned with:
Bellevue, Washington, USA (1992)
Arstad District in Bergen,
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Naval Cathedral (1901–1903), architect
Church of St. Anna
Liepāja railway station
Liepaja travel guide from Wikivoyage
List of companies in Liepāja
List of monuments of architecture in Liepāja
Ports of the Baltic Sea
Notes and references
^ Murray, 1875, p.85.
^ a b "Liepājas vēsture". liepaja.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 8
^ a b c "KNAB, the Place Names Database of EKI". Eki.ee. Retrieved
^ Turnbull, Stephen, Tannenberg 1410, Osprey Publishing, Oxford UK,
2003, p.82: Certainly
Lithuania invaded Prussia again in
1422, but no mentions of Libau.
^ a b c "Лиепая". Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Moscow:
Советская Энциклопедия. 1969–1978. Retrieved 8
^ "Liepaja". Encyclopædia Britannica. Britannica.com Inc. 1997.
Missing or empty url= (help)
^ "Masonicum". masonicum.lv. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
^ Colomb, Philip Howard. "Memoirs of Admiral the Right Honble. Sir
Astley Cooper Key". ebooksread.com. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
^ Palmer, Alan, Northern Shores, London, 2005, p.215.
^ "Liepājas Pastnieks". Latvijas Enciklopēdiskā vārdnīca (in
Latvian). Missing or empty url= (help)
^ Либаво-Роменская железная дорога.
Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian). 1907.
Retrieved 10 August 2011.
^ Гидроаэродром. Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian).
1969–1978. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
^ Palmer, 2005, p.255
^ Palmer, 2005, p.258.
^ Hiden, John, and Salmon, Patrick, The Baltic Nations and Europe,
Longman Group UK Ltd., 1991, p.32-6.
^ Hiden, John, The Baltic States and Weimar Ostpolitik, Cambridge
University Press, UK, 1987, p.101-3.
^ Hiden & Salmon, 1991, p.78.
^ "Crimes of
Einsatzgruppen in Liepāja". 1941. Retrieved 10 August
^ "Site of Liepājas slimnica" (in Latvian). Retrieved 10 August
Liepaja Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Griuzupe, Latvia". Weatherbase.
Retrieved February 4, 2013.
Liepaja Climate Normals 1981-2010". Météo Climat. Retrieved
October 11, 2017.
^ "Site of the
Liepaja museum" (in Latvian). Retrieved 10 August
^ "Site of
Karosta prison museum". karostascietums.lv. Retrieved 10
^ "Liepāju un Zviedriju savienos optiskais kabelis". Kurzemes Vārds
(in Latvian). 23 October 2001. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
^ "Site of Liepājas radio amatieru grupa". lrg.lv. Retrieved 10
^ "Liepājas kafija". likaffa.lv. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
^ "Statistika Latvijas rajonu un to centru griezumā". lursoft.lv (in
Latvian). Lursoft. 2005. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
^ "Site of Liepājas Teatris". liepajasteatris.lv (in Latvian).
Retrieved 10 August 2011.
^ "Liepājas simfoniskais orķestris". lso.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved
10 August 2011.
^ "LIEPAJA/TRIOBET basketball team". Eurobasket. Retrieved 28 July
^ "Sākums". www.liepajaslauvas.lv.
^ "Pilsonības un migrācijas lietu pārvalde - Kļūda 404" (PDF).
^ (in Russian) "Брокгауз и Ефрон", ст. Либава,
1907 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "BE" defined multiple
times with different content (see the help page).
^ Город родной на семи ветрах (in Russian).
Liesma. 1976. p. 263. Missing or empty url= (help)
^ "PASTĀVĪGO IEDZĪVOTĀJU NACIONĀLAIS SASTĀVS REĢIONOS UN
REPUBLIKAS PILSĒTĀS GADA SĀKUMĀ". csb.gov.lv (in Latvian).
Retrieved 10 August 2011. [permanent dead link]
^ Platība, iedzīvotāju blīvums un pastāvīgo iedzīvotāju skaits
reģionos, republikas pilsētās un novados gada sākumā. Centrālās
statistikas pārvaldes datubāzes.
^ "Liepājas pilsētas galvas, birģermeistari". Liepājnieku
biogrāfiskā vārdnīca (in Latvian). Letonika. Retrieved 10 August
^ "Ciemojas kādreizējā Liepājas galvas Lapas mazmeita". Kurzemes
vārds (in Latvian). 17 September 1999. Retrieved 10 August
^ "Catalog of
Liepaja central library". liepajasczb.lv (in Latvian).
Archived from the original on 24 February 2008. Retrieved 10 August
Liepaja profile". Urban Audit. 2001. Archived from the original on
28 July 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
^ "CV of Victor Matison". Archived from the original on 20 May 2011.
Retrieved 10 August 2011.
Elbląg - Podstrony / Miasta partnerskie". Elbląski Dziennik
Internetowy (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2011-03-15.
Elbląg - Miasta partnerskie". Elbląg.net (in Polish). Retrieved
^ "Washington's Sister Cities, Counties, States and Ports". Washington
State Lieutenant Governor's Office. Archived from the original on 5
^ "Städtepartnerschaften und Internationales". Büro für
Städtepartnerschaften und internationale Beziehungen (in German).
Darmstadt initiative for Liepāja" (in German). Retrieved 10 August
^ P.C., Net. "
Gdynia - International
Gdynia - International
co-operation of Gdynia". www.gdynia.pl. Archived from the original on
19 October 2016.
Мелконов, Юрий (2005). Пушки Курляндского
Берега. Riga, LV: GVARDS. ISBN 9984-19-772-7.
Кондратенко, Р. В. (1997). "Военный порт
Александра III в Лиепае". Saint-Peterburg, RU:
Исторический альманах "Цитадель", №2(5),
Вушкан, Янис Владиславович (1976). "Город
родной на семи ветрах". Riga, LV: Liesma.
Tooms, Viljars (2003–2007). "Liepājnieku biogrāfiskā vārdnīca".
Riga, LV: Tilde Letonika.
Sāne (Alksne), Līga (1991). "Ceļvedis Liepājas arhitektūrā".
Liepāja, LV: Liepājas pilsētas TDP IK Arhitektūras un
Jāņa sēta. (2003). Liepājas pilsētas plāns. Riga, LV: Karšu
izdevniecība Jāņa sēta. ISBN 9984-07-330-0.
Gintners, Jānis (2004). "Liepājas gadsimti". Liepāja, LV: Liepājas
Gintners, Jānis, Uļa (2008).
Liepāja Latvijas sākotnē. Liepāja,
LV: Liepājas muzejs. ISBN 978-9984-39-723-8.
Gintnere, Uļa (2005).
Liepāja laikmetu dzirnavās. Liepāja, LV:
Kurzemes Vārds. ISBN 9984-9190-4-8.
Lancmanis, Imants (1983). "
Liepāja no baroka līdz klasicismam".
"Liepājas 300 gadu jubilejas piemiņai: 1625–1925". Liepāja, LV.
Wegner, Alexander (1878/1970). Geschichte der Stadt Libau. Libau: v.
Hirschheydt. ISBN 3-7777-0870-4. Check date values in:
Tīre, Irina (2007).
Liepāja in graphics. Latvia: Poligrāfijas
infocentrs. ISBN 9984-764-92-3.
Dorenskis, Jaroslavs (2007). "Liepājas Metalurgs: Anno 1882".
Liepāja, LV: Fotoimidžs: 364.
Корклыш, С. (1966). Лиепая (in Russian). Rīga:
Evans, Nicholas J. (2006). "The Port Jews of Libau, 1880–1914". In
David Cesarani and Gemma Romain. Jews and Port Cities: 1590–1990:
Commerce, Community and Cosmopolitanism. London,UK: Vallentine
Mitchell & Co Ltd. pp. 197–214.
ISBN 978-0-85303-681-4. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter
Eberstein, Ivan H. The Amber Land: Libava's Tragic Fate and the Fall
of the Russian Empire. New York.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Liepaja.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liepāja.
City Council official website
History of Liepāja
Liepāja news in Latvian and Russian (in
Latvian) (in Russian)
www.portofliepaja.lv – Port of Liepaja
Liepaja Symphony orchestra
Kurzemes Vārds –
Liepāja regional newspaper (in Latvian)
Kursas Laiks –
Liepāja district newspaper (in Latvian)
Rožu laukums – Webcam showing "Rose square" in Liepaja
Libavas Nami – Real estate agency in Liepaja
Autoserviss 4U – Car service in Liepaja
The murder of the Jews of
Liepāja during World War II, at Yad Vashem
Latvia at JewishGen
First-level administrative divisions of Latvia
Cities and municipalities in Kurzeme Region