Let's meet in Jelgava. On a sunny weekend. We'll go to the observation deck on St. Trinity Church's tower and check out the birds' eye view of Jelgava. Then I'll tell You about flooded meadows, sculptures, and other interesting places to visit in Jelgava.
I'll start my list of attractions to see in Jelgava with a visit to the museum in St. Trinity Church's tower. Because the story You'll hear there is a perfect prologue for exploring the rest of the city.
Atklāj vēsturi caur mūsdienu tehnoloģijām Jelgavas Sv. Trīsvienības baznīcas tornī.
You can check the working hours and the entrance fee here.
Fun fact - there used to be a floating raft bridge in Jelgava. And they used to take it down in autumn and then put it back on in the spring. That sounds like a lot of work. Do You want to hear another fun fact? If You do, You'll have to visit the interactive exhibition in Jelgavas St. Trinity Church tower.
This place surprised me.
I've walked past it multiple times. I've taken pictures of it, as the building looks gorgeous. But this was the first time I went inside. The biggest surprise for me was the discovery that it matters not only what you tell but also how you tell it. I often struggle with focusing on long texts. So in museums, I typically only view the exhibitions. I don't read the descriptions they have. But in this place, the stories about Jelgava's history are told through games, video, and audio. That helped to keep my attention and created a desire to discover more.
What You'll learn:
- Do you hear the clatter of horseshoes in the ancient streets of Jelgava? On the 3rd floor, you'll find a map showing how Jelgava has been built over the years. And you'll learn various interesting facts about the history of the city.
- On the 4th floor, You'll have a chance to watch a fashion show. The theme is fashion in Jelgava through the ages. Wedding attire is in the spotlight there.
- But if You want to find out what's baptizing machine is and how this historic building used to look when it was functioning like a church, make sure to listen to the audio recordings on the 5th floor. You'll also hear the full story of what happened to the church's tower and why it has a glass pyramid on top of it.
- And on the top floor, just like a cherry on top of the cake, there is an exhibition room and a glass observation platform.
Next, let's stretch our legs at my favorite place to visit in Jelgava, Pasta island.
What to see on Jelgavas Pasta island
You'll find fountains, sculptures, and various types of activities. Did I manage to pique Your interest?
Trīs dažādi skulptūru parki, ko apskatīt Jelgavas Pasta salā.
Is that a horse? And what's that other thing? In the first sculpture park, You'll find fire-clay sculpturesplaced between the landscaping. Every year the park is extended with new sculptures that artists make in the international fire-clay symposium. These artworks tell all kinds of stories. Some are more abstract than others. You might notice all of them have a lot of holes. As it turns out, at the end of the symposium, they burn the sculptures from the inside. I haven't seen the fiery show myself. But I am keeping my eyes open so as not to miss the burning sculptures next year.
In the middle of the island, You can find sand sculptures. You've probably heard about them. Find information about working hours and ticket prices here.
You can find the third sculpture park on the other end of Pasta island. You'll have a chance to enjoy the peace and picturesque views of the river while walking there. In this park, sculptures are made from wood. The one that grabbed my attention was the upside-down horse.
Pasta salas romantika – strūklakas, tējnīca, bāka un kuģis.
Where is that mysterious music coming from?
On warm summer evenings, there is a romantic atmosphere on Pasta island. When it gets dark, the city turns on the lights. The fountains light up in various colors. If You want to point out that the fountains are actually on the other side of the river, You are right. But the best observation point for them is from Pasta island. The little lighthouse and St. Trinity churches' tower light up as well. I think it's a perfect place for a romantic walk.
But on sunny days I like to visit the tea house. I order a coffee and a cake and sit outside with a view of the lighthouse and the ship ( I think it's a celebration hall). I enjoy my snacks and try to understand where that quiet melody is coming from. Have You figured out that mystery? I hope it's not only in my head.
Aktivitātes dažādām gaumēm.
After the walk, You have a choice. You can go to the next attraction in Jelgava or enjoy one of the activities in the fresh air. In the warm season, Your options are :
- Catch some sun on the Pasta islands beach.
- Explore the river from a different angle by enjoying a ride with a boat, paddle board, or catamaran.
- Work out in the open-air gym. I am not an expert, but the equipment looks quite impressive. There are even weights.
- If You travel with little ones, let them enjoy the playground.
In the winter season, You can enjoy ice skating on the Pasta islands ice rink.
Pārej pāri Mītavas tiltam un apsveicinies ar Jelgavas studenta skulptūru.
Want to make a wish?
Then You have to go across the Mitava bridge. It's another popular tourist attraction in Jelgava. But don't forget to stop in the middle to observe the picturesque view of the river and Pasta island. You will find a sculpture of Jelgavas students on the other end.
I feel like "Jekabs Ceriņš" looks a bit sad. I want to buy him a hot coffee. Especially when it actually rains. A student's life isn't that sweet after all, I guess. But there is a saying that if you rub the handle of his umbrella You can make a wish.
After taking a picture with one of the Jelgavas symbols, let's start our way toward another unexpectedly beautiful place to see in Jelgava - the footbridge over Svete floodplain meadows. But on our way, there is another quick stop we will take to capture in the picture an environmental art piece with a powerful message.
Laika rats 100 – simts gadu, simts akmeņu un laiks, kas nekad neapstājas.
Here too, the story is told in a captivating way. The years of existence of Latvia are depicted as stones that people carry on their heads. But every human figure is a mirror. Looking into it, we see ourselves. Because we are the ones who are building and holding this country. It's a very powerful message.
Pastaigu laipa Svētes upes palienas pļavās – klusā dabas oāze pilsētā.
In summer, this place is full of life. The reeds are bright green. Time after time, You can spot some water peeking through the greenery. There's also a sprinkle of purple flowers (it's the willow weather vane if we believe the notice board). Before I arrived, I was worried that Footbridge over Svete floodplain meadows is located within the city. I wasn't sure how much I would be able to enjoy it as there are houses near it. But I am happy to report that the place is very peaceful. In summer, the grasshoppers were the ones making the loudest noise.
There are wooden footbridges to allow people to walk through the meadows. I was surprised by how extensive the bridge system is. First of all, it splits into two parts. There is quite a distance between both sections. You have to walk on a gravel road for a while. One of the footbridges is shorter than the other. But there is a pound next to it. So that's where You have to go to see ducks. The other footbridge is longer. It bends and branches out into multiple exits. The total combined length is 1665m. So it can be considered a good walk.
A bit later, we will talk about one more floodplain meadow You can see in Jelgava – the Lielupe floodplain meadows. But what I want to highlight about this place of interest is that, since there is a pond and ditches here, the water is here even at 30 degrees heat, which means that you don't have to wait until spring to catch the sight of plants sinking into the water. Although, the view would be more impressive in the spring.
If you still have energy left after visiting the walking trail, Jelgava still has something to offer. Let's visit Jelgava Castle. From outside.
Iemūžini foto Jelgavas pils šarmu.
I was attracted by the color palette of Jelgava Castle - dark red with white decorations and dark accents. A brave choice. If you have listened to history lessons, you will already know some things about Jelgava Castle. For example, the fact that it is the largest Baroque palace in the Baltic States.
But did you know there is also a beautiful park with a bridge near the castle? On hot days You can hide in the shade of trees there.
Finally, we will go to the meadows of the Lielupe floodplain and keep our fingers crossed that we will manage to see wild horses.
Uzkāp Pils salas skatu tornī.
Climb the observation tower. There is a chance You'll be lucky enough to see a wild horse. But it might be only as a blurry spec in the distance. Anyways You'll get to enjoy the view. On one side, there are Jelgava houses. You can see Jelgava St. Trinity Church and the spire of another church. On the other side, there is a picturesque view of the river. I recommend going to Pasta Island in warm weather. But this place I would recommend visiting when it's wet, and the meadows are flooded.
It's a game of luck with the horses. They are wild horses. They do what they want. There have been times when, in cooler weather, you can admire how a couple of horses proudly walk right along the fence. But it can also happen that the horses are hidden somewhere or can only be seen as spots in the grass, somewhere in the distance. On my last visit, on a hot summer day, I couldn't find any horses, so the picture with these beautiful animals is missing at the moment.
And my conscience would not allow me to publish this article without a reminder - it's forbidden to feed wild horses!
Bonusiņi – divi alņi, ko apskatīt Jelgavā.
I haven't included these in the base route, but if you happen to be near them, you can stop to take a picture. First of all, you will find the moose on the flag of Jelgava. And as moose is important to Jelgava, you will also find moose sculptures in two places in the city.
You will be able to say hello to the metal moose in Ozolskvērs(location). It's on the way to the Wheel of Time 100. So why not stop by? You will also find a children's playground and a special tree in the same square. Oak, of course (Ozolskvērs = Oaks square). After about 250 years of life, it was cut down and turned into an environmental object called Time Train.
You can get acquainted with the other moose at the Langervalde forest(location)This moose is made of wood and has some other wooden friends. The Langerwald is a forest crisscrossed by a network of walking paths. The place is suitable for those who want to get away from the city and enjoy a forest walk.
This concludes my list of places to see in Jelgava for now. But I hope to add to it in the future. If you are interested, let's talk a bit more about practical things.
Ready to see some of these places? Excellent. But how to move from one point of interest to another in Jelgava?
If you are interested in a more environmentally friendly option - Jelgava is a cycling-friendly city. That is the way I travel around Jelgava. Almost everywhere, there are bike paths and places to park your bike. In the summer season, you can find Bolt scooters on the streets. Even pedestrians should be able to cover most of the route. Only the footbridge in the meadows of the Svete floodplain might not be within suitable walking distance for many, as it is quite far from other attractions, and it would take about an hour to reach it on foot. Driving is a good option too. You can always find a place to park in Jelgava.
Shall we meet in Jelgava then?
What else to do in Jelgava
Jelgava Old town house
For the ones interested in architecture, history and stories
Karameļu darbnīca (Caramel workshop) in Jelgava
Visit the candy house and find out how caramels are made