Liepaja Karosta: A timeless piece of history

If you are interested in history, do not miss to visit the city district of Karosta, the military harbour of Liepaja in Latvia. Though not really a lost place, it offers many spectacular views of the past.

Most definitely you should visit Latvia: The country is rich in both, culture and landscape. And if you do so, go to Liepaja in the very north. This 100,000-something city is striving up in all matters, mostly because it runs the competition to become European Capital of Culture in 2027. However, there is one rather lost place in Liepāja, that I would call a must-see: Karosta!

Liepaja has always been a military city as well as harbour on the Baltic Sea. Karosta is exactly that, a military harbour area. The Latvia word Karosta does indeed literally mean war harbour. In recent days the rather small Latvian navy does use other premises, so the place is without use in a certain way. So you will go there for past times.

Karosta was first build under Russian Tsarist rule and did expand in the Soviet era. That makes it an astonishing mix of 19th century fortress ruins and old communist bricks and concretes. Especially the ruins of the old tsarist fortress are right next to the sea and its great to just walk by or even climb or explore. But there is much more than military leftovers: You will find modern graffities, an exhibition in an old baraque and much more!

The whole area is huge and not really a lost place, as people do live here. If you go, go by car! The place was created for military and their families, so the old Soviet Chrustchovkas run for miles. That actually makes it even more special: Tsarist past meets Communism meets people actually still living here. And then again there is nature claiming parts of the area back.

But most of all there is a giant orthodox church in the very middle of this city quarter (yes, it is an official district of Liepaja). The church is beautiful, but completely surrounded by concretes. But as it is slightly higher, towering above the other buildings, it looks like… – well, kind of odd, kind of history inside history.

So if ever in Liepāja, go (drive!) to Karosta, get your own idea of this special place!