Getting acquainted with the city

 
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UNITY HOUSE
The dominating structure of the historical centre is the Unity House built during the years of the First Republic (22a Rigas Street). The Unity House was constructed at the suggestion of the country’s president Karlis Ulmanis using donations and funds provided by the state. The corner stone was laid in 1936, and on December 19, 1937, the blessing of the building and the opening ceremony took place. The Unity House was designed by the architect Verners Vitands. It was the most modern multifunctional building in Europe housing the Daugavpils theatre, the Latvian Society, a library and other community organizations. The use of antique forms in the architectonical solution of the building implemented in the spirit of functionalism met the aesthetic requirements of that time. At present, the Unity House accommodates the Daugavpils theatre, the Latvian Cultural Centre, a tourist information centre, the Central Library of Latgale, the US Information Centre, a bank, a bookshop, a café, a fitness club and other institutions. The interiors of the Unity House have been renovated since 2005, and in 2009 the restoration of the facades was started.
ANDREJS PUMPURS PUBLIC GARDEN
Located opposite the Unity House. Created in the second half of the 19th century. The public garden contains a bust of the poet Andrejs Pumpurs created by I. Krumina in 1966. The most popular meeting place for the residents of Daugavpils is the fountain “A Girl with a Lily” in the centre of the garden. The garden also contains St. Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Chapel and a monument to innocent victims of the Red Terror (by Y. Volkova).
ST. ALEXANDER NEVSKY RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHAPEL
Consecrated in 2004. Located in A. Pumpurs public garden (20 Saules Street) on the former site of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (1864–1961). In Soviet times, in 1961, the cathedral was closed and in 1962 – demolished. The chapel is a memorial structure that has a symbolic meaning, serving as a reminder of the demolished cathedral.
DAUGAVPILS UNIVERSITY PUBLIC GARDEN
Located at 13 Vienibas Street, it is rather a small square in front of the education building of the Daugavpils University. The features of the square are a small fountain, a bust of the poet Rainis (by I. Folkmanis, 1966) and a sundial.
SUNDIAL
Located in the Daugavpils University public garden. The sundial was created in 1910 (designed by A. Yaskov, a teacher of the non-classical secondary school). The sundial is affixed to the quadrangular pedestal. The lines of the dial correspond to the geographical latitude of Daugavpils – 56˚.
DUBROVIN PARK

Located between Rigas and Parades Streets. The development of the park was actively supported by Pavel Dubrovin (1839–1890), who was
the city mayor from 1876 to 1890. The park was named after its creator, and not far from the fountain there is a monument to P. Dubrovin – a bronze figure, about two metres tall (by A. Taratynov, 2007). Another feature of the park is a memorial for the Soviet Army soldiers that was erected in Soviet times. Dubrovin Park is the favourite rest and recreation place for local residents. In the sultry heat of summer nothing is more pleasant than to feel the refreshing coolness of the fountain, while in the evenings one can admire a fantastic play of water and light.

PROTECTION EMBANKMENT
A unique 6-km long engineering structure along the bank of the Daugava River, which not only protects the city against floods, but also serves as a road. The protection embankment was designed by P. Melnikov, a military engineer-captain, and constructed in 1830–1841. In some places the embankment is 9 meters higher than the water level in the river.
DAUGAVPILS REGIONAL STUDIES AND ART MUSEUM (DRSAM)
One of the oldest museums in Latgale, founded in 1938. Located at 8 Rigas Street, in a magnificent eclectic building with the elements of Jugendstil, constructed in 1883. The facades are decorated with coloured glazed tiles, and the entrances have openwork metal roofs covered by glass. Each entrance is guarded by two sculptures of lions. The museum has the room of the world-famous painter Mark Rothko and the room of the Daugavpils painter Leonid Baulin. It also houses Māra Art Show. The museum offers cultural, historical and nature displays.
RIGAS STREET
Daugavpils was one of the first Latvian cities to turn its central street into a pedestrian mall at the end of the 1970s. About half a kilometer long Rigas Street is the busiest street of the city leading from the railway station to the Daugava River, with a passage through the embankment to the former landing place. In 2009, the city finished the reconstruction of Rigas Street, as a result of which Daugavpils got an excellent example of harmonious synthesis of the past and the present. Taking a leisurely walk down Rigas Street one can not only admire the beautiful facades of the buildings, but also do some shopping and enjoy a tasty meal. Especially splendid is the building at 61 Rigas Street, constructed in 1860 and representing one of the brightest examples of eclecticism, standing out from the rest with its richly decorated facades. Opposite Post Office No. 1 it is possible to see the sculpture of a pond turtle (by I. Folkmanis, 2009), and at the end of the street, opposite the railway station – water cascades.
ST. PETER’S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Located at 39 Rigas Street. Built in 1848–1849, rebuilt in 1924–1934. The architecture of the church has certain features of Classicism. It has some resemblance to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. The main dome of the white church is supported by four double pillars.
GARDEN OF SCULPTURES
Located between St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church and Mihoelsa Street. The garden is decorated with the works of Latvian sculptors and magnificent carpets of flowers.
DAUGAVPILS RAILWAY STATION
The most dramatic changes in the economic life of Dinaburg (Daugavpils) were introduced by the opening of Petersburg – Dinaburg – Warsaw and Riga – Dinaburg – Oryol railways lines in 1860 and 1861. The Petersburg – Warsaw railway line together with bridges, viaducts and some railway stations was designed by Stanislav Kerbedz, an engineer of the Polish origin. Daugavpils is a railway hub with 5 railway lines. The present building of the railway station was constructed in 1951.
CENTRAL PARK
Located near the bus station. The park designed by Selecky was developed on the site of residential blocks completely destroyed during the Second World War. This modern park with numerous flower beds and plants is a real jewel in the heart of the city. It has a skate park and a playground for children. The park also contains a shooting gallery, a chess club and a Marriage Palace. Near the park, in 1999, the city built an ice hall.
SYNAGOGUE
Daugavpils synagogue Kadish built in 1850 is located at 38 Cietoksna Street. It is a corner building in the central part of the city with the facades facing Lacplesa and Cietoksna Streets. The engineering equipment of the building was repaired after the Second World War, and in 2005, with the support provided by M. Rothko’s children, the synagogue was fully restored. Latvia’s president Vaira Vike-Freiberga took part in the opening ceremony of the renovated synagogue.
JUGENDSTIL BUILDINGS
Located at 8 Rigas Street, 41 Saules Street, 55 Saules Street and built at the end of the 19th – the beginning of the 20th century. Their facades are richly decorated with mouldings and other ornamental elements.
ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDINGS
The building at 11 Gimnazijas Street was constructed at the end of the 19th century. Formal eclectic facades remind of detailed and rich plastic forms of the so-called Naryshkin baroque. Nearby, at 12 Gimnazijas Street, there is a building of the State Bank constructed at the end of the 19th century. This is another architectural example of eclecticism. The facade of the bank is richly decorated with details typical of Classicism and Renaissance.

Ensemble of Administrative Buildings and the Building of the City Classical School Located in the block between Lacplesa, Vienibas and Gimnazijas Streets. Designed by A. Y. Shtaubert, a famous Russian architect, the buildings were constructed at the beginning of the 1840s in the classical style. Their facades still contain the elements of décor characteristic of the Empire style: cornices, borders of the semicircular window openings, etc.

RED BRICK BUILDINGS
Daugavpils is exceptionally rich in red brick buildings. This style was developed by many outstanding architects. In Daugavpils this variety of eclecticism is most widely represented in the buildings designed by Vilhelm Neimanis, an architect of the German origin, who was the chief architect of Daugavpils from 1878 to 1895. Bright examples of brick architecture are the buildings at 1/3 Saules Street and at 8 Muzeja Street. The shape-forming techniques typical of eclecticism that were applied in the facades of these buildings even many decades later make one appreciate and admire the striking accuracy of detail.
DAUGAVPILS FORTRESS
The symbol of Daugavpils. An outstanding fortification that occupies more than 150 ha. The only early 19th century fortress in Eastern Europe that has remained virtually unchanged. A zigzag line of fortifications is formed by a rampart with 8 bastions, 6 ravelins, 6 counterguards and other protective structures: lunettes, redoubts and a moat. On the left bank of the Daugava River there is a bridgehead. Each detail of the fortress was developed using the construction experience of the best architectural schools of Tsarist Russia and Europe. Inside the fortress was planned as a traditional military town: in the centre there was a parade ground, surrounded by blocks of administrative and residential buildings. All the facades of the buildings represent the Empire style, except Nickolas Gate and the water tower built in the Pseudo Gothic style.
MARK ROTHKO ROOM
In the Daugavpils Regional Studies and Art Museum (8 Rigas Street) there is an exhibition hall, where it is possible to see large size reproductions of the paintings by Mark Rothko (1903–1970), a world famous artist born in Dvinsk (Daugavpils). They reflect the realistic, surrealistic and modernistic periods of the painter’s work and give an idea of abstract expressionism – a style created by M. Rothko. The meditative mood of the room helps to perceive M. Rothko’s works.
CHURCH HILL
Each traveler who wants to get acquainted with Daugavpils should definitely visit the Church Hill that has gathered the churches of four different confessions. Martin Luther Cathedral designed by V. Neimanis was built in 1893. Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1902, and 7 years later it acquired an organ created by A. Homan from Poland. SS Boris and Gleb Russian Orthodox Cathedral was built in 1905 as a garrison church. St. Nickolas Church of the Old Believers’ Community was built in 1908–1928. The church contains the icons of the 18th–20th centuries and a collection of rare books of the 17th–20th centuries.