NORTHERN FORTS AND KAROSTA
Karosta – the largest historical military territory in the Baltics, occupies the northern one third of the city Liepaja. Today Karosta is a spectacular, paradoxical and unique site in the world’s history and architecture reflecting the interaction of Tsarist Russia military elegance and robust Soviet militarism. You may like or dislike it, but Karosta certainly won’t leave you indifferent.
Fortress and the Karosta canal were the first objects built in the whole massive military complex of Karosta. In the end of 19th century forts and coastline fortifications with artillery defense were built in many places – Sveaborg island, forts along the Gulf of Finland, Kronstadt, Osovetz (now territory of Poland), chain of Bukovine and Bessarabian fortifications along Austrohungarian border.
Forts of Liepaja are similar to fort Port-Artur in the far east of Russia. Karosta fortifications were built from 1893 to 1906, work lead by author of the project, major-general Ivan Mc-Donald. Some parts of fortifications were connected by canals and narrow-gauge railway. There were 140 warships and 30 submarines for the Liepaja navy fleet.
We offer an opportunity to take a guided tour (1,5 hours) of the Northern Forts of the Naval Port fortress and see underground labyrinths by torchlight and excursion with a guide in the Karosta territory (1-2 hours).
SIGHTS IN KAROSTA
Sv.Nicholai Maritime Cathedral is one of Karosta’s symbols. It was built in 1903 as a Russian Orthodox temple, but during Soviet occupation for a long time there was a Sailors club. Since the Red Army left, there is a Russian Orthodox cathedral again.
O.Kalpaks Swing bridge connects Karosta with the rest of Liepāja. The construction of this metal bridge was finished in 1906 and it has been reconstructed several times since. Today, just like before, the bridge is being opened for ships every day at certain hours.
The Northern mole protects the harbor from Northwestern winds and is also a popular place for long walks as well as fishing. The Northern mole is 1800m long. Next to the mole is café “Rietumkrasts”.
Manege used to have wide windows and glass tile roof. It was mostly used for soldier indoor exercises and festive meetings.
Water tower stands 37 meters above Karosta. It was built in the early 20th century to provide Karosta with fresh water. Tours to water tower can be arranged in Karosta Prison.
Beberliņi is a forest park with an artificial lake in Karosta. There are beautiful pic-nic, walking and swimming spots, and a wide range of activities available in Beberliņi.
SHKEDE MEMORIAL TO THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST
The name Shkede (Šķēde) is associated worldwide with the tragic events which took place in December 1941 affecting the Jews of Liepaja as well as those of Bikernieki and Rumbula. Here on the Baltic Sea coast, the centuries old Jewish Community of Liepaja was virtually wiped out. During World War II mass executions took place here which included Jews, Soviet prisoners of war and other civilians following the Nazi policy of mass annihilation of civilians in Liepaja during the German occupation.
The Memorial was inaugurated on 4 June 2005 in the presence of the Israeli Ambassador to Latvia, numerous dignitaries and Holocaust survivors.