Salaspils Memorial Ensemble0
Price & Hours
- 0.0Food Scene
South of Riga, the Salaspils Memorial Ensemble commemorates the thousands of victims who died at the area's concentration camp during World War II. Set up about a third of a mile away from the Salaspils train station, the camp was the largest in the Balkans, and is responsible for anywhere between 12,000 and 15,000 deaths, particularly of children.
Now, the site/memorial is hidden in the woods out of plain view. Recent visitors have even commented on how difficult it is to find without proper signage, so here's a tip: Walk the concrete bike path that runs parallel to the train station's tracks from the north, eventually letting you in the area woods. Within 15 minutes you should find yourself in front of the memorial. Many are struck by its non-sensationalized, non-touristy appearance.
At the site, the former buildings have been razed to their foundations, and the small houses for the children have toys and flowers to memorialize the fallen innocents. But the most eye-catching monuments are the three stone giants that convey the agony and strength of the camp's victims. A TripAdvisor traveler reports: "The solitude, the statues, the toys, and the metronome work together to form a memorial which will remain with me. I have visited many historic sites, including Dachau and Auschwitz but this one sums up the suffering more than they do."
The Salaspils Memorial Ensemble is free to tour. For the best experience (and because there's a lot of walking) we strongly suggest you visit when the weather is good.
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#0 Old City Riga (Vecriga)
It's hard to believe that most of what you're seeing when walking the cobblestone streets of Old City Riga is relatively new. Much of this historic urban center was destroyed during 20th-century wars; since then, the city has recovered and rebuilt some of its oldest structures. Cars are not allowed, so you can leisurely stroll the narrow avenues and grand squares much like 19th-century Latvians did. Be sure to sample some of the traditional Latvian fare -- restaurants here are renowned for their quality, plus they're affordable compared to other major European cities. Plus, other top things to do, like St. Peter's Church and the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia pepper this area, so you are bound to spend some time enjoying the sights.
There are tours -- including a free one -- that will narrate the buildings' historical significance, but as one TripAdvisor user suggests, the best way to experience the neighborhood is to pick up a map “from the tourist information site in the center and walk through the old town" on your own. While exploring, look out for the Town Hall Square (Ratslaukums) with the impressive House of Blackheads andandand the Swedish Gate along the remains of the ancient city walls.
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