People about a hundred years ago didn’t have color photography, but they did have colors and creativity. It’s good they did, or else we might not be able to appreciate the scenes and buildings of this old town in Latvia, in a time before Nazi and communist dictators scarred the region with their brutal rule.
Welcome to the town of Liepaja, Latvia. It has 70,000 people and is by the Baltic sea. These photos (they look like paintings) are from the early 20th century.
Back then Latvia and its neighbors Estonia and Lithuania were not countries, but territories of Russia. The major languages were Lativan, Russian and German.
The writing here is Polish, but the church is still in Liepaja.
Until 1912 this church had the biggest organ in all Europe.
The town hall…
An imperial German flag flies.
Latvia was under the authority of the Russian tsar, but many German traders and businessmen worked and lived in the empire. Most of them left before the Soviet era.
Liepaja was occupied by Germany once before, in World War I.
Here, a Russian flag. It is the same one used today.
The contrast in rulers…
A bridge designed by the famous architect Eiffel, damaged by warfare.
The text reads: “Photo from the Eastern Front [World War I]. Bridge destroyed by Russians in Liepaja.”
In modern times, the bridge was rebuilt, but again damaged recently in a shipping accident.
Liepaja was pretty international. Aside from Germans and Russians, it even had ships going to New York!
Europe is full of charming small cities. We hope you get to visit one someday!