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Destinations · Europe · latvia · Liepaja · Insider's view ·

Insider: Baiba Bartkeviča

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Insider: Baiba Bartkeviča

Liepāja is located between a lake and the sea. That's what makes this city so unique, so charming, and also so exclusive. I don't know many cities in Europe that enjoy such a close relationship with nature on a day to day basis. In addition, unlike other seaside cities, the beach in Liepāja has not lost any of its authenticity. It is neither built up nor commercialised. The genuine spirit of nature still rules here, untouched by urbanisation, and spending time on the beach here is like returning to the essence of life. And really, nowhere in the world will you find sand that is so fine as that in Liepāja!

There might be truth in the saying that residents of Liepāja can be divided into two groups: those who live by the lake, and those who live by the sea. I've noticed among my colleagues that almost every morning at least one of the “lake-dwellers” has taken a photo of the lake, and at least one of the “sea-dwellers” has taken a picture of the sea. I live by the sea, and, despite the small size of the city, it's been ages since I've been to the lake.

Liepāja has always been known for its creative streak. The Liepāja Theatre is the oldest professional theatre in Latvia, and many say it's also the most beautiful. The city's arts and music schools are also very strong. Vivid reminders of many historical eras can still be seen in the city's features: the Medieval port, Late Baroque buildings from the 18th century, Art Nouveau buildings, wooden buildings from the late 19th century, and the Soviet legacy.

The quality of life in Liepāja is very high, and residents generally enjoy a very active lifestyle. Everyone rides a bicycle – no matter the weather – and Liepāja's Jūrmala Park is one of the largest landscaped parks in Latvia. In fact, the park is practically the most “inhabited” part of the city. 

Perhaps it's due to the proximity of the sea and the constant wind, but residents of Liepāja have always been known for their stubbornness and their proud and slightly arrogant character. I must admit that I tried very hard to get rid of my arrogance and sense of self-sufficiency while living abroad for twenty years. The people of Liepāja have also always been ambitious – in the positive sense of the word. And our “The World in the Great Amber” concert series is proof of that statement. 

The goal of the programme is to put the Great Amber Concert Hall on the map of Europe's best music spaces. The series of ten projects has featured (or will feature in the near future) outstanding musicians from the United States, Cameroon, Spain, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries. Many of the artists are visiting Liepāja as part of a European tour that might also include concerts at the Elbphilharmonie and the Berliner Philharmonie. For example, Cameroon-born African blues phenomenon Roland Tchakounté played here in June of 2017. In October current world-music superstars The Gloaming from Ireland will play their only concert in the Baltic States at Great Amber. And the Berlin Philharmonic will be visiting us in November. It's worth visiting Liepāja for events like these!

Baiba Bartkeviča, artistic director of the Great Amber Concert Hall in Liepāja

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