Guide service around Karosta
We offer tours and guide services in Karosta and Liepaja. Cycling tours are also available.
The tours must be booked in advance by calling +371 26369470 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 hours 40 EUR
3 hours 60 EUR
4 hours 80 EUR
5 hours 100 EUR
Sights in Karosta
St.Nicholas Russian Orthodox Maritime Cathedral
Cathedral is like a shining gem in the Karosta architectural ensemble. The cathedral was built by the military department, because it was to be located in the Karosta military area and was meant to serve sailors. The biggest financial contributor to the construction of the cathedral was Tsar Nikolai II. Construction began in June 1900. The project was designed by a renowned St.Petersburg architect Vasily Kosyakov, who had already gained popularity as an author of many sacral buildings. The mosaic author and artist was V.Frolov. For the first time in Liepaja, the weight of the domes was directed to the outer walls. Thanks to the unusual construction of the arches, the cathedral could be build without columns, which makes its entire interior spacious and open.
In 1903, the Cathedral was ceremoniously opened, with Russian Tsar Nikolai II with his family and a large royal court attending the ceremony. The emperor was pleased with the construction results and generously rewarded the participating military, project engineers and artists.
Before World War I, many church icons, equipment and bells were taken to Russia. In the twenties and thirties the cathedral was adapted to the needs of the Lutheran community of the Latvian military garrison. However, the darkest period of St.Nicholas’ Cathedral’s existence should be considered the years of the Soviet rule, when an entertainment club for sailors and soldiers was established there. Soldiers watched movies about the heroic Red Army and practiced boxing in the middle of the cathedral.
In 1992, the cathedral was re-consecrated and from then on the church services have been regular, and the congregation vigorously restores and maintains the cathedral building and the area surrounding it.
When you visit the Northern breakwater, you can always feel the fresh sea air with a slight damp taste. This hydrotechnical construction was one of the first completed in Karosta military ensemble. The Northern breakwater is the longest breakwater in Liepaja – it is 1800 metres long and approximately 7.40 metres wide. The base of the breakwater is constructed of rocks carried from Pavilosta by 11 barges with opening hulls and 4 tugboats. The practical function of the breakwater is best seen and felt during strong winds and storms, when the trefoils and concrete trapezoids break the force of the waves carried by the north winds.
When Tsar Alexander III with his family and royal court arrived in Karosta in 1893 to oversee the construction of the naval port, a formal ceremony was held, during which Tsar placed tsarist regalia, gold, silver and copper coins of the Russian Empire and a special message in a concrete building block.
The construction of the Northern breakwater cost 2.88 million Russian gold rubles. This place is especially popular with fishermen who come from neighboring Lithuania, but for the locals it is both a beach and a place where to go for a walk.
There is cafe “Rietumkrasts” and public WC at the Nortern Breakwater.
On the shore of Lake Tosmare, the largest and most important fort was Redan. Redan (in French – protrusion in the fortress wall) is a part of the Liepāja fortification complex. It is built on a peninsula where the distance to the opposite bank is the shortest.
The defenses of the Redan included two counter attack 3 inch cannons facing front, eight 57 mm cannons – four in both right and left half-caponier, and an infantry platoon.
Redan’s main functions were to prevent the enemy from crossing the lake, to protect the fortress’s supply route (today 14.Novembra boulevard), and to cover the flanks north (to Lībiešu Street) and south (to Klaviera Fort) directions.
In Redan you can see artworks created in Karosta Festivals.
In 2022, the Karosta and War of Independence museum was opened in Redan. There are several exhibitions in the museum. One of them depicts the origin, construction and history of Karosta. The exposition is based on a timeline that marks the main events in the history of Karosta from its beginnings to the present day. The time line is supplemented by items corresponding to specific time periods. Interestingly, most of the exhibits were found in Karosta.
The second theme of the new museum is the War of Independence in 1919 and the freedom fights that took place in Liepāja. One of the decisive battles took place in Redan on November 14, 1919. In honour of this event, the street on which Redan is located was named 14.novembra bulvāris (the boulevard of November 14).
Redan has a well-maintained picnic area with tables, benches, buffet shelters and a small stage platform, created with the financial support of Liepāja City Council. The area is suitable for various new initiatives, educational events, as well as daily recreational activities.
The silhouette of the Water Tower on Ģenerāļa Baloža Street is noticeable from afar. It is an architectural monument of national importance, it was build in 1905. At that time, water was pumped into the attics of surrounding houses three times a day for certain hours, using steam powered water pumps. Then people could fill their baths, buckets and other containers with water. In Soviet times steam pumps were replaced by electric ones.
The water tower had a significant role in Latvian War of Independence in November 1919. While the Latvian Army repelled the attacks of the Bermont-Avalov battle group, Allied-British warship artillery fire was adjusted over the telephone from the water tower. It played a crucial role in the defense battles.
The interior of the tower is usually not available for daily viewing, but in summers the tower serves as a residence for artists. Thus, during certain working hours during the summer season, you can not only see the interiors of the grand tower but also visit the open workshops of artists, watch the creative process and enjoy the exhibition of works they brought with them.
Karosta Canal and Kalpaka bridge
Karosta Canal is a hydro technical structure, which is still an essential part of Karosta and Liepaja. Karosta Canal was excavated from 1894 to 1901. It is 3.5 kilometers long, 250 meters wide and has an average depth of 9 meters. Russian Empire had its first submarine base with 30 submarines located in the eastern part of Karosta Canal.
Light green metal structures of the bridge are visible from quite some distance. This swing bridge is only one of many structures from the entire Karosta military ensemble and it was build in 1906 by the German engineers’ H.Hall project.
Both bridge consoles are still performing their duties swiftly, and the bridge is opened when ships from the berths in Karosta or Tosmare Shipyard enter or leave the Karosta canal. The bridge structures were made in Bryansk, while the turning mechanisms and motor were made in Belgium. During its operating time, the bridge was severely damaged several times, for example, in 1926 a Norwegian tanker named Narte damaged the swivel mechanism and overlap, but more recently, in 2006, a Georgian tanker damaged the northern console leaving port. The bridge was repaired and opened for traffic in 2009.
Turaidas street is a constant reminder that we are in the military part of the city. The width of this street was determined by the need for military maneuvers and transportation of military equipment. Old cement slabs that once covered Liepaja - Grobiņa highway have been preserved and can be seen in Turaidas street.
Zemgales street, barracks
Zemgales street, on the other hand, is unusual because nowadays no one lives on this 800-meter-long street. The first of the barracks was build in the summer of 1898, ready to accommodate 1.5 thousand soldiers or sailors, and it had a steam heating system and a sauna inside. Barracks served all armies located in Karosta for almost 100 years, but unfortunately in the 1990s they were looted and demolished. Currently the buildings are managed by Liepaja SEZ.
The building was opened in March 1907 and the author of its project is unknown. The manege had a gymnastic equipment and served as a place for active recreation, as well as for festive gatherings and feasts, and also as a place of worship – the eastern façade door led to a 40 m2 church. A glass tile roof and huge arched windows were an unusual architectural solution for a military object.
The building was heavily damaged during World War II, and during the Soviet times it was used as a warehouse for machinery.
Initially, this cemetery was built for the needs of the Latvian Army and no civilians were buried there. The first burials were made there in 1927 and the area was 0.7 ha (now 3.9 ha). If someone from the military personnel had died at Karosta hospital, the deceased's funeral service was held in the hospital morgue, which had a lavish funeral chapel set up. In 1956, the cemetery was closed due to lack of space, and reopened in 1995. Nowadays, most of the people buried in the Garrison cemetery are the deceased inhabitants of Karosta and Tosmare.
Lazaretes Street, Navy Hospital
The name of Lazaretes Street (lazarete means infirmary) is yet another reminder of the Tsarist navy hospital ensemble of buildings. Each hospital unit was housed in its own building on this street, so doctors just had to walk from one building to another.
In 1904 the hospital had 401 beds, with 30 surgeries performed in the first half-year and later on about 150 surgeries performed per year. During 1905, 3253 people were treated at the hospital.
The chief doctor I. Bilibin had achieved a high level of hospital operations performance in Tsarist Russia. Thanks to him, ships were supplied with the latest medical equipment, courses for sanitary and medical personnel were organized and a pharmacy was opened. You can still see the former surgical ward and residential homes for medical staff on Lazaretes Street today.
Hospital Morgue and Chapel
Located in Invalīdu Street. A small but luxurious building with eclectic architectural elements. The exterior of Hospital morgue and chapel shows at that time modern and also pompous arhitectural style of the Naval port.
Even during the first Latvian Independence, if someone from the military personnel had died at Karosta hospital, the deceased's funeral service was held in the Hospital Chapel.
The Station of Homing Pigeons (Pigeon Post)
For almost 20 years, there were two actively working pigeon stations in Karosta. Pigeons could be used as an alternative communication system during military operations.
One station maintained up to 750 and the other approximately 450 trained homing pigeons cared for by military personnel of 8 people with the chief of staff being the captain of headquarters (štāba kapteinis). Each pigeon had a maintenance allowance of 1.29 Russian rubles per year. It wasn't small money back then, so it's no wonder that there were rumours that the station chiefs used it for selfish purposes, but the birds could neither confirm nor deny it.
Pigeons were a good means of communication between ships – if the weather was favourable for flying, they could reach a speed of up to 100 km per hour. Every year special maneuvers were organized for the birds to determine their abilities. The best result was achieved in 1907, when the pigeons were taken to Copenhagen and released. 90% of the birds returned to Liepaja.
One of the pigeon station buildings has survived to this day. In the 1930s it was reconstructed into a residential building.
The Garden of Lāčplēsis
The first trees in the then called Alexander III Park were planted in the end of the 19th century. There was a Summer Theater here, and some famous St. Petersburg artists at the time performed at its stage. Before World War I, the park was known as the Garden of Lāčplēsis. During the first Latvian Independence, two tennis courts were set up in the park, and a dance floor was renovated. During the Soviet rule, natural-sized plaster statues of a Stakhanovite worker, a kolkhoz (collective farm) worker, a Red Army soldier, a sailor and a pioneer-Michurian were placed next to the park paths. In late 1990s, a locally popular Flower Festival was organized in the Garden of Lāčplēsis.
In 2019, six stele monuments were erected on the corner of this park. They are dedicated to holders of the Order of Lāčplēsis related to Liepāja and have their names engraved in the stone.
The Order of Lāčplēsis is the highest Latvian military award, awarded for merits in Latvian War of Independence. It was named after the Latvian epic hero, Lāčplēsis. About 50 awardees related to Liepaja have been identified. However, only the names of those specifically known freedom fighters who defended the city and supported the activities of the Latvian government in Liepaja in 1919, are engraved in these monuments.
The monuments are located along Netkarības rotas Street and along with existing trees, they form an alley that symbolizes the gratitude of the Latvian people to the participants of the Latvian War of Independence. Not only the heroes names are engraved on the granite, but also the class of the Order received, birth and death data (if known). On the back of each monument there is an inscription "For the Heroes of the Latvian War of Independence in the centenary of Latvia".
The Naval Officers Palace
The Naval Officers Palace, which can be glimpsed behind the trees on Atmodas boulevard, is the closest palace building to the Baltic Sea shore – it is located only 300 meters from the sea. Built especially for Russian Naval officers, the palace was opened in 1907 with a lavish ball. The palace building is constructed in П (Slavic P) form and externally resembles the architecture of St. Petersburg's suburban castles. The main architect of the Naval Officers Palace is S.Galenzovsky, but several of St. Petersburg's best architects and artists at the time have taken part in creating this grand building and surrounding park dedicated to the fame of Russian warfare.
At the start of World War I, an extensive library of nautical charts and books, chandeliers, contents of the wine cellar, some paintings and furniture were evacuated to Russia. The building later accommodated the German Military Hospital and the Sanatorium for Bone Tuberculosis from 1928. During the Soviet occupation, here was a hospital for the USSR Navy, which used to employ the most famous doctors in Liepaja and had the most advanced medical equipment available at that time. Currently, the building is managed by the Naval Training Center and restoration and renovation works are underway.
The House of two Admirals
This beautiful, richly decorated house impresses with the precision and simplicity of its forms. This building has been preserved as an outstanding example of the urban architecture of Karosta. The house was originally planned as a residence for the Russian Tsar and his family. Tsar with his family and royal court visited this house in Karosta twice – in 1901 and in 1903. This building was named The House of two Admirals after two admirals who resided there – a fortress commandant and a commander of the naval port(cietokšņa komandants un kara ostas komandieris). During the first Latvian independence, the headquarters of Kurzeme division and Liepaja garrison were based in this house.
Holokausta memoriāls Šķēdes kāpās
Memoriāls (tēlnieks Raimonds Gabaliņš) ir atklāts 2005.g. 4. jūnijā. Tas veidots milzīgas stilizētas menoras veidā, kas izklāta ar skaldītu Kurzemes laukakmeni. Menoras gaismekļi ir granīta pīlāri ar rindiņām no „Eiha” (Jeremijas Raudu Dziesma) ivritā, angļu, latviešu un krievu valodā. Katru gadu decembrī pie memoriāla notiek piemiņas brīdis, veltīts Liepājas ebreju draudzes iznīcināšanas gadadienai.
2006.g. memoriālu papildināja piemiņas plāksne, veltīta visu nacistu okupācijas upuru piemiņai ar uzrakstiem latviešu, krievu un angļu valodā, kas precizē upuru skaitu.