April 26, 2006
In a forest just to east of the city limits of Riga, exists the Latvian Ethnic Open Air Museum. Take the A2 (E77) road ot of town and if you get to the crossroads of the E67 and A4 then you have gone too far, but dont worry, turn south on the A4 and after a little while turn west to double back towards Riga and on that road you should find ETHOGRAFISKAIS BRIVDABAS MUZEJS.
Laid out amongst the trees are about 50 wooden buildings that have been disassembled and then rebuilt here as examples of the heritage of Latvia. There are four regions to Latvia (Latgale, Zemgale, Kurzeme, the Liv land and Selija) and each had its own traditions and buildings styles, these are all represented here.
Over the last 50 years or so, real structures have been found across Latvia and removed to Brivdabas. Many of these buildings are about 200years old and were still in use until about 50years ago before being taken apart and moved to this Museum.
It is very pleasant to amble about through the trees and discover the many wooden structures full of character, tradition and history.
There are dwelling houses, farm buildings, windmills, barns, and churches. Our visit was in the evening (the park is open until dusk) so we could not enter any of the buildings, but in the main opening hours you will be able to inside. Demonstrations of Latvian crafts and of milling etc are given to visitors during the main opening periods.
Some catering is provided on site, and we enjoyed a good beer in a bar located within a large farmstead building, whilst a birthday party merrily tucked into a medieval style feast at long tables in an adjacent room.