Ever wondered how life was lived under Soviet or Nazi occupation? This is your chance to get a taste of the Latvia Occupation era and learn about the past life of Riga.
On this Riga tour, you'll explore a whole different side to the city by visiting sites and areas that still hold the hard memories of the occupation era in Latvia. You’ll learn about daily life in occupied Latvia and get to know more about the country's history under the Russian and Nazi regimes.
On the eve of World War II, Russia made its move into the Baltics and Finland, and by 1940, Latvia was part of the USSR. The Russians quickly started deporting anyone who posed a threat to the new regime. But the Russians were quickly replaced by the Germans, who forced many Latvians to fight against the Russians, who still had a lot of Latvian soldiers in their army. Sucked into a war between super powers, Latvians were forced to fight against each other in a war they didn't ask for.
After the war, Latvia once again became part of the USSR and Russia continued it mass deportations to Siberia, in an attempt to decrease Latvian resistance. Groups of Russians came to settle in Latvia and thousands of Russian descendants continue to live in Latvia to this day.
Your tour begins with a visit to the Riga Panorama Observation deck at a building often called ‘Stalin’s birthday cake’ – one of the few sites standing from Soviet times. From this high perch your guide will give you an overview of the city, pointing out most famous sites of Soviet times, such as the Riga TV tower and a blockhouse area called Kengarags.
Back on ground level, we’ll have a short stroll through the Riga Ghetto museum and Riga Central Market, where you can get a closer view of areas that haven’t changed much since 1990.
Afterwards, we’ll move towards the Old Town to visit more sites that are connected to the time of occupation. Before visiting the Museum of Occupation, we’ll enjoy a Soviet-style snack and drink in a true Soviet-style café and bar.
We’ll finish your Riga tour at the KGB building – one of the darkest places in Latvia, the so-called ‘Checka.’ If you’re brave enough, after visiting the main exhibition, you can even explore the basement’s prison cells (not included in tour price).