Photo Essay: The Magnificent Churches of Daugavpils

January 28, 2013

in Latvia

Prior to my arrival in Daugavpils, I knew merely two things about the city.  The first was that it was Latvia’s second largest city.  And the second was that it had very beautiful churches.

Daugavpils is a hybrid hotbed when it comes to cultures and religion and the city reflects that in every manner possible.  One segment that is poorly represented today is that of the Jews, for very obvious and grim reasons…but the Kadisha synagogue still stands in the heart of Daugavpils and was the only synagogue left standing after WWII and Soviet times.  The synagogue was built in 1850 and is now also home to a museum dedicated to the Jews of Daugavpils and Latgalia.  I, unfortunately, did not get any photos of it as I didn’t realize what it was while I was there.  It looked like more of a bank than a center to worship.  I’m sure there is a provocative story behind that one…

Also in the heart of Daugavpils lies the St. Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Chapel (consecrated in 2004).  This is not a massive piece of architecture, but rather a memorial to pay homage to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which once stood in its place.  The Cathedral, which was built in 1864, was demolished by the Soviet Union in 1961.  This chapel sits right in the middle of A. Pumpurs public garden and is extremely hard to miss.

The St. Peter’s in Chains Roman Catholic Church is located on one of the main streets in Daugavpils- Rigas Street.  It was built around 1848 and again rebuilt from 1924-1934.  The church has similar features to that of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and displays very Classicism architecture.

While there are a few churches in the center of Daugavpils, the more famed ones sit up on Church Hill, which is the name given to an area that boasts four magnificent churches.  One can reach this area by taking tram #1 towards Uzņēmums, or “Lokomotive”.

The first is the Martin Luther Cathedral which was built by V. Neimanis in 1893.  The church is pretty much comparable to any other Lutheran Cathedral I have seen, but I found it to be particularly special in Daugavpils, a city known for being built up with red bricks.

The second is the Roman Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1902).

The Church of the Community of Old Believers was built from 1908-1928.  This is the first of two Russian Orthodox Churches on Church Hill.

The second of the Russian Orthodox churches, and perhaps the most notable of all churches in Daugavpils, is the SS Boris and Gleb Russian Orthodox Cathedral.  Photos can not do this place justice.

It was remarkable and the colors reminded me of cotton candy and bubble gum.

And unlike many sights that shine during the day…this one was equally as stunning at night.

Many thanks to the Tourism Board of Latvia and Visit Daugavpils for hosting me in Daugavpils.  All opinions are, as always, 100% my own.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarabell January 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Look at all of these! I always find big, ornate churches to be so gorgeous and fascinating.
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Megan January 29, 2013 at 3:04 am

i sometimes get sick of churches and temples in certain cities because they are all so similar…but the ones in this city were anything but! thanks for your comment :)


Sarabell January 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm

That’s true, some of them are all the same. We just recently “moved” to Utah and the Mormon temple in Salt Lake is just gorgeous! A lot of the other, smaller churches look the same though.
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Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:07 am

i think the mormon temple in SLC is just stunning!


Christine January 29, 2013 at 3:52 am

Love the colors and architecture of the Russian Orthodox churches! The first one reminds me of the churches in Greece with the white and blue.
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Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:10 am

thanks christine! the churches just blew me away in daugavpils :) glad someone else saw it through the photos!


Amy January 29, 2013 at 4:03 am

Great pictures, I love the variety of styles and the colors. So fun!
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Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:11 am

thanks amy :)


Alex @ ifs ands & butts January 29, 2013 at 4:13 am

Definitely different than so many of the churches in Europe. I kind of now go by this theory that once you’ve seen one church you’ve seen ‘em all and they normally become very “skipable” landmarks to me, so it’s nice to see something different!
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Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:14 am

im right with you. i like seeing them if they are different and offer something that others dont…but lets not kid ourselves, how many actually do that? although i will say i loved vilnius, lithuania because it was full of churches. but all had a unique look to them like the ones in daugavpils :)


Ashley of Ashley Abroad January 29, 2013 at 4:22 am

Great photos, I love all of the colors!!
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Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:20 am

thanks ashley! that was my favorite part too :)


Melanie Fontaine January 29, 2013 at 5:35 am

This town really has some beautiful churches! The architecture is really different from the one in Central Europe, which I really enjoy!


Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:29 am

i agree with you! :) thanks for your comment!


Bess January 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Wow, that last church is amazing! The Russian architecture is so unique.
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Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:33 am

i think so too bess!


Liz January 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Those are some beautiful churches! I love the colors, I hope to make it up there one day!
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Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:35 am

you will girl ;) maybe with me! haha


Sylvia January 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I had no idea what to expect from this post when I saw the title in Bloglovin.. Haha… But wow! The second last looks like candy and the one before looks like a castle in a fairytale! It’s crazy how churches differ from one country to the other!
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Megan January 30, 2013 at 4:36 am

these churches actually helped make a grey and dreary day a little less grey haha :)


val February 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Those churches are stunning!!
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Megan February 7, 2013 at 4:01 am

thanks val! they were even more gorgeous in person :)


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