Information about the tours

Skrunda 1 – Trip to Soviet Ghost Town

Have you ever heard of Skrunda-1? Yes, it is the biggest ghost town of the Baltic States once harbouring around 5000 people. But what makes it special is that is it not just a regular ghost town, but for years it had a status of a top secret closed down area that held the most novel military installations Soviet Union had to offer. It is truly a desert for anyone interested in touching the past with their own fingers. So join us in this trip, but remember: one thing is to get in the town, another to get out of it!

On the way back we will make a stop at Kuldīga – the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Kurzeme – now a popular tourist destination famous for its beautiful historic city centre and breath-taking natural landscape.

The star attraction of the town is the Venta waterfall, a wonderful natural landmark, the widest waterfall in all of Europe. During the spring and summer, locals and tourists alike can be found there taking a walk across the shallow parts of the whole length of the waterfall or enjoying a relaxing water massage beneath.

The colourful little town, with its old architecture and cobbled streets, captivates artists wandering about Kuldīga with their easels, looking for picturesque views.

Kuldīga is one of the few cities that was left largely untouched by warfare, which has allowed it to preserve much of its historic heritage. The arched brick bridge, built in 1875, is the most prominent example. Despite German attempts to blow it up during the war, the sturdy bridge has endured and remains to this day a beautiful addition to the town.

Included: trip Riga – Skrunda – Kuldīga – Riga, guided tour in Skrunda 1 + entrance tickets, quest in Skrunda, transfer to Kuldīga

Schedule:
9:30 – registration for the bus
10:00 – leaving from Riga
13:00 – 15:00 – the tour
15:00-17.00 – quest and the free time
17.30 – leaving for Kuldīga
18.00-20.00 – arrival at Kuldīga and the free time there
20:00 – 22:00 (23:00) – way home to Riga

Date: 26/08/2017 – around 9:30 AM
Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)
Price: 28 EUR per person.
Price: 15 EUR if you go by your own transport.

15% discount with ESN card and ISIC card!

Please apply and reserve the place before paying, so that you are sure that you have the place.

Payment details will be sent after the application. You will get the tickets couple of days after the receipt of the payment.

NOTE: The trip can be cancelled due to the army drills and if the group is incomplete. It will be announced one week before the trip.

About tickets to Skrunda, from 2016 Febr. it is obligatory to buy in case we do not want to pay penalty. Here is the original link in Latvian that explains it:

http://www.delfi.lv/news/national/politics/bijusaja-skrundas-lokatora-pilsetina-ievies-ieejas-maksu.d?id=47027449

If you are interested in visiting Skrunda-1, please do not hesitate and contact us. The trip is taking place if minimum amount of people have applied (25 people). If the excursion is cancelled, it will be announced 2 days before the trip.

Soon it is planned to close Skrunda-1 for the public, take your time and come with us to explore the city.

Register here: Get your ticket to Skrunda-1

Trip to skrunda-1 and Liepāja

Meet recent but no less fascinating history by literally walking into the past. What could be better than exploring a legendary place hidden away from the general public for decades? Seeing two such places in one day! This year we go back to Skrunda-1 former radar base to drag it out into the daylight again.However,in order to kill two flies with one slap, on the same day we also go to Liepāja and visit the forts of the former Naval Basenow guardingan entire century of stories and legends. The triptakes the whole day, and the price covers guide services and transportation from Riga to Liepāja to Skrunda-1 and back.

Date: 23/09/2017 – around 9:30 AM
Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)

Approximate schedule of the day:
9.00: Registration
9.30: Departure from Strēlnieku laukums
13.00-14.30: Arrival to Liepāja and the tour of the Northern Forts of the Naval Base
15.00: Departure to Skrunda-1
16.00-17.30 Arrival at Skrunda-1 and the tour of the town
18.00: Departure from Skrunda-1
Around 22.00: Arrival to Riga

The Naval Base of Liepāja offers an authentic Soviet atmosphere. This territory was military owned until 1994, it covers approximately one third of the all Liepāja’s city territory. Liepāja has been always known as a military city. Its port has been the major strategic place for Soviet military’s ships in Latvia until 1994. When going there, it’s easy to imagine how could have been the life of soldiers and their families. This city guests as well the only military prison in Europe that it’s open for tourists, and many unexplored underground labyrinths.

Skrunda-1 instead is the biggest ghost town of the Baltic States. It was used by Soviet Union for military purposes, especially for testing their novel military installations. Nowadays this city offers a suggestive sense of desolation, a big space full of abandoned Buildings, characterized by Soviet’s architecture style. Skrunda-1 is today still used for trainings of the NATO’s army.

Price: 40 euros. E-mail: trips@hieroglifs.com

15% discount with ESN card and ISIC card!

Apply: Get your ticket to Skrunda-1 and Liepāja
Info: +37167506189

Trip to Zeltiņi, Cēsis and Arāji

Let us discover the abandoned Soviet nuclear missile base at Zeltiņi.

This base located in the far northeast of Latvia is the most well-preserved of the three bases in this area.

Back in the Soviet times the base was armed with 4 medium-range ballistic missiles P-12 and Р-12У equipped with thermonuclear warheads with the blast capacity of one megaton. To help you imagine the power of the war machine that awaited the western imperialists at this base, let’s take both nuclear weapons detonated over Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combine them and multiply by roughly 25. And they had four of these. Sounds quite scary, right?

The base at Zeltiņi offers all kind of military buildings, underground bunkers, missile silos, launch pads, etc. You can also meet Lenin here. Well, not exactly with full set of body parts – this time it is only the 3 m high head that is one of the rare monuments dedicated to the great communist leader still remaining after the fall of the Soviet Union.

On the way to Zeltiņi, we will take a short pause at Cēsis which is one of the oldest towns in Latvia. It is a place where breathtaking scenery meets the centuries-old history and the peaceful small town atmosphere. One of the most remarkable sights of the town is Cēsis Castle complex, which embodies different eras – it includes both the medieval castle and the new castle with an exhibition hall, as well as the parks. You can also visit the brand new concert hall in Cēsis and take a stroll through the old town of Cēsis, enjoying the narrow streets and the relaxed pace of life.

We also plan to stop at Arāji, a place famous for its labyrinths. Altogether they have 5 different labyrinths. The longest of them – “The Naughty Labyrinth” – offers different spicy and erotic but at the same time entertaining wooden figures. You can also try the horror labyrinth in the forest with a matching composition of exhibits. In total, you will be welcomed here by 350 different wooden sculptures and other entertainment options.

So clip on your red badges and pack your hate against the capitalism because we are going back in time again.

The bus trip Riga-Cēsis-Arāji-Zeltiņi-Riga and a guided tour with an interpreter are included in the price.

Date: 07/10/2017 – around 10:00 AM
Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)
Price: 30 EUR per person

15% discount with ESN card and ISIC card!

Tour is in English and Latvian.

Feel free to apply by email: trips@hieroglifs.com or fill the online form: Trip to Zeltiņi, Cēsis and Arāji application

The trip is taking place if minimum amount of people have applied (25 people). If the excursion is cancelled, it will be announced a week before the trip.

The Other Kurzeme Tour: From Soviets Listening to Your Phone to the Legends of the World War I.

Irbene is one the three sites in Latvia the Russian Federation wanted to keep at all costs after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is a former Soviet secret military site now a ghost town who is still running the largest radio telescope in the Northern Europe and 8th largest in the world. During the Soviet time, they were constantly spying not only telephone conversations in a large area, but also were picking up information from submarines and even satellites. In fact this place was so secret, it was discovered only after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Nowadays you can still see two radio telescopes in their full glory and the military town with half of its buildings still standing. The third, smallest, radio telescope has lost its dish, but one can still climb it and see the panoramic view of the vast beauty of Courland. Also an underground tunnel connecting the radio telescopes is open for inspection. This summer might be the last chance to visit this place since the municipality is working on a renewal of the contract with a demolishing agency who have been operating there since 2012.

Our next stop in our trip is going to be a picturesque landmark – Kolka Cape – the most prominent cape Latvia has to offer which is notorious for the many ship crashes due its shoal that extends for another 6 km under water always waiting for the prey.

After that we go to the famous 20 metres high White Dune. The dune is staggering 6,000 years old – older even than the Baltic Sea itself and have been of particular interest to archaeologists. The White Dune is really a place for those who enjoy untouched and pristine nature.

On our way back to Riga we will also stop at the Great Ķemeri Bog. This place is a grandfather of the places with its 8,000 years long history. It is also a great place for amazing views due to the labyrinth of tiny lakes running through it. The bog became a mythical place during World War I when 9,000 Latvian soldiers perished fighting in it but later were brought back to life by many literary works.

So if you are interested in getting to know less tourist populated areas and still enjoy and learn a lot, this is a tour for you.

Please apply: trips@hieroglifs.com (Price 35 EUR per person – included transfer + guided tours (English and Latvian) and entrance fee where necessary)

Date: 02/09/2017 – around 9:30 AM
Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)
Price: 35 EUR per person

15% discount with ESN card and ISIC card!

apply fill the form The Other Kurzeme Tour application or write: trips@hieroglifs.com

The Secrets of Līgatne – A Place where History, Nature and Technology Intersect

On this trip we will journey to Līgatne to experience Soviet atmosphere in an underground bunker, gain insights into paper production technologies, as well as take a stroll through Līgatne’s Nature Trails.

The underground bunker in Līgatne was constructed at the end of the last century, in order to secure a base of operation for governing the country in case of an emergency. Up until 2003, only a few people had any knowledge of it, however, now it is possible for anyone to experience Soviet atmosphere in the spacious 2000 m2 structure hidden 9 m beneath the ground. Visitors can get to see not just different kinds of strategic plans, which depict a course of action in case war breaks out, but also all of the authentic equipment necessary to keep the bunker operational, as well as everyday soviet household objects.

Next we will proceed to the paper mill in Līgatne. Even though it stopped production in 2014, it is still possible to go see paper-making machines, as well as to take a look at things that the majority did not have access to before. Hence, it will be interesting even for those who have been to the factory while it was still working.

Afterwards our journey will take us to Līgatne Nature Trails, where we will enjoy a calm stroll and picturesque natural landscapes. The nature trails were made in established in order to give people the opportunity to witness the diversity of nature in Latvia, as well as to see animals that otherwise would be impossible to meet. Nature and animal lovers will love this place!

Put on your comfiest boots and join the adventure!

Date: 26/08/2017 – around 10:00 AM
Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)
Price: EUR 28 per person

15% discount with ESN card and ISIC card!

The price includes the rent of the bus with 1 driver and fuel costs (Riga-Līgatne-Riga), as well as services of the organizer of the tour and the accompanying guide.

*Entrance fees for the Bunkur and Līgatne Nature Trails are not included in the price.

To apply, fill in the form: The Secrets of Līgatne application or write an e-mail to: trips@hieroglifs.com

Naval Base of Liepāja

Sometimes it is worthwhile to leave the familiar urban environment with its all too well-known scenery to return to the recent past – to see a different face of the same city. Naval Base of Liepāja offers a unique opportunity to step into authentic Soviet atmosphere and to see with your own eyes how soldiers and their families used to live in this specially constructed district, which until 1994 was a restricted, secret military territory. The once mighty fortress, the derelict defence systems, and the ruined buildings evoke an uncanny and eerie mood, which reminds us of the inevitable passage of time and that nothing lasts forever.

Naval Base of Liepāja features various fascinating, must-see tourism objects, among them the sizeable Northern Forts, unexplored underground labyrinths, the old gymnastics and horse riding arena and the only military prison in Europe that is open to tourists!

Date:

  • 23/09/2017

Meeting point: Strēlnieku laukums (Old Riga near RTU University Kaļķu Street 1)
Price: EUR 40 per person

15% discount with ESN card and ISIC card!

Schedule:

  • 09:00 Registration
  • 09:30 Departure from Strēlnieku laukums
  • 13:00-14:00 Lunch at the prison of the Naval Base
  • 14:00-15:00 Tour of the prison and the free time
  • 15:30-18:30 Tour of the Northern Forts
  • 19:00 Departure from Liepāja
  • Around 22:00 Arrival in Riga

To apply write to: trips@hieroglifs.com

Apply here: Naval Base of Liepāja application

Latvian market and its secrets

We invite you to join us for a tour of Riga’s Centrāltirgus!

It seems that nowadays everyone knows that the hangars of Riga’s Centrāltirgus were built to store airships, not meat or fish.

However during this tour we will learn a lot of new things – why the Milk Pavillion is called Stalin’s Pavillion, we will take a look into the dark corners of the basement of Centrāltirgus, walk the 337-metre-long central corridor of the basement and see the old giant compressor, first installed in the 1930s, which ran until 1986.

We will also see the former railway station of the Central Market, located on the roof.

The excursion is available in English and Latvian. Tour times for each language will be announced.

 

Date: 03/09/2017
Let us meet at the Central Station clock and then we will go all together to the excursion.

LV language – 11:00
EN language – 14:00

PRICE: 10 EUR.

15% discount with ESN card and ISIC card!

To apply fill in the form: Latvian market and its secrets application or write an e-mail to trips@hieroglifs.com

Cemetery Tour – Whispers of the Past

The Great Cemetery of Riga also known as the Pantheon of Latvians is truly a mesmerizing experience for everyone who likes to be washed away by an ocean of memories and stories of great men.

The Great Cemetery was built in 1773 and gradually expanded over the next two centuries. The area is the last resting place of historical figures, noblemen and common people whose uncommon works elevated them among the stars. The serene green island rich of old trees in the midst of the bustling city life offer elaborate graves, vaults and gracefully carved headstones.

You are welcome to join us on the tour to leaf through the pages of the history of the last two centuries.

Guided tour.

Please register. Let us meet at the entrance from Miera Street. Precise meeting point shown in registration form.

Date: 20/08/2017 and 10/09/2017

Tour in Latvian – at 12:00
Tour in English – at 15:00

Price: 5 EUR

Place: Lielie Kapi – Miera iela, Riga.

Please register: buy ticket here

Tour is in English.

 

Free virtual tour to ghost cities

From time immemorial people have always been captivated by the great unknown beyond the horizon. We have always strived to explore faraway lands, look into the deepest forests and darkest depths of the oceans. Our inner Columbus has helped us to discover so much over centuries, and today it feels like there is nothing left to explore. But it is not true. Due to the ever-growing urbanization and other fortunate or unfortunate factors the planet still has a lot to offer us.

This time we want to look into the lost worlds that have been swallowed by history – the towns and cities long abandoned by people and faded in memory waiting to be discovered again! We invite you to REdiscover these mystical and mesmerizing places all around the world and feel the oblivion yourselves.

Email: trips@hieroglifs.com

 

DATE: please wait for the next dates planned
Contact us: +37167506189
FREE OF CHARGE

Schedule for the evening:

18.45-19.00 Arrival
19:00-19.45 Presentation part 1
19.45-20.30 Break, networking
20.30-21.30 Presentation part 2

Presentation is in English.

Free excursion to Daugavgriva Fortress, Bolderaja

Daugavgrīva Fortress plays an important role in the history of Latvia, Sweden and Russia. It was called Dynamynde during the Swedish rule and Ust Dvinsk while being part of the Russian Empire.

We will learn about the rich and fascinating history of the fortress, as well as look into the long and interesting life of the most famous constructor of the fortress and later Swedish Vidzeme General Governor Ēriks Dālbergs and his particular relationship with Daugavgrīva and Riga.

Date: 05/08/2017

Tour is in Latvian and English.
In Latvian at 12:00
In English at 14:00

Meeting point: at the entrance of Daugavgrīva Fortress at Birzes Street 2

You can get there by bus No.3. Name of the bus stop: Daugavgrīvas cietoksnis
Route: https://saraksti.rigassatiksme.lv/index.html#bus/3/b-a_67/1162

The tour is free of charge, but registration is mandatory:
EN: https://lvevents.typeform.com/to/PPGc1I
LV: https://lvevents.typeform.com/to/NNDecI

Let’s meet there!

Rīgas Meža kapi

Visiting the Forest Cemetery of Riga is like leafing through a book where every page offers a fresh story with new characters. Sometimes the story is more like a comedy, sometimes a drama, but it is always interesting.
The Forest Cemetery was established in 1913 and took up the baton from the Great Cemetery of Riga as the main and the most prestigious final resting place in Riga. With time it grew to be the largest cemetery in Latvia, and the list of prominent people buried there does not seem to have an end. This is the last destination of presidents, ministers, generals, scandalous and controversial personalities, eccentric artists and victims of great tragedies. Thus the cemetery also offers a large amount of monuments in good condition several hundreds of which possess real artistic value.
We invite you to join the tour and meet the people who shaped an entire century for Latvia.

Date: 17/09/2017

Tour in english and latvian.

In latvian at 12:00

In english at 14:00

Price: 5 Euro

Register: Buy ticket here