from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Liepāja ( German : Libau)
Liepāja coat of arms
Liepāja (Latvia)
Red pog.svg
Basic data
State : LatviaLatvia Latvia
Landscape: Courland ( Latvian : Kurzeme )
Administrative district : Republic-city of Liepāja
Coordinates : 56 ° 31 '  N , 21 ° 1'  E Coordinates: 56 ° 30 '42 "  N , 21 ° 0' 50"  E
Residents : 76,535 (Jul. 1, 2018)
Area : 60.4 km²
Population density : 1,267 inhabitants per km²
Height : m
City law: since 1625
Post Code: 3401, 3402, 3405, 3407, 3411,
3414, 3416, 3430
ISO code: LV-LPX
Liepaja view.jpg
View over Liepāja

Liepāja (German Libau , Russian Лиепая ) is a port city on the Baltic Sea in western Latvia . With 76,535 inhabitants (as of July 1, 2018) it is the third largest city in Latvia.


Plan of the city of Libau, 1875

middle Ages

The city emerged from a small Curonian village at the mouth of the Lyva . The place was first mentioned as "Lyva" in 1253. As a small unfortified port in the state structure of the Livonian Order , Liwa (this spelling had prevailed in the 14th century) was burned down several times by the Lithuanians . In the 15th century, wood, meat, fish and butter were handled in the port of Liwa. But Liwa lagged behind the competing ports of Memel and Windau .

Early modern age

As a result of the Reformation, two Lutheran congregations emerged in Libau. One congregation ( St. Anna ) formed the Evangelical Latvian language, the other ( Trinity ) the Evangelical German language. In 1560 Libow was pledged to Prussia as part of the Grobiņa Commandery for almost 50 years (until 1609) . During this time, the population increased due to immigration from Germany, among other things. The city charter was granted in 1625 by Duke Friedrich von Kettler of Courland and Semigallia . King Sigismund III. Wasa of Poland-Lithuania , as suzerain of the duke, confirmed the city rights the following year.

Construction of the port facility began in the middle of the 17th century . In the Northern Wars, Libau suffered less from destruction than from contributions to the armies that passed through and from several plague epidemics . In 1698 a major fire destroyed most of the town's wooden buildings. The great plague from 1708 to 1714 fell victim to a third of the citizens.

From 1697 to 1703 the trade channel to Lake Libau was put into operation. The port is still located at the widened mouth of the canal and was navigable for large ships from 1730.

19th century

Libau fell to the Russian Empire in 1795 with the Duchy of Courland and from then on belonged to the Courland Governorate . For Russia, the city was of great military and economic importance because of its ice-free port. 4548 inhabitants lived in the city. After more than a hundred years of peace, there were 94,000 in 1914. In the 19th century Libau got a railway connection (1869/1876) and became an important industrial center . The first electric tram in the Baltic States was opened here in 1899 . In this year the expansion of the war port (see Karosta ) as a strategic naval base was started. From 1906 to 1914 there was direct shipping to New York . Several hundred thousand emigrants came through the port of Libau.

20th century

The First World War began for the people of Libau on August 2, 1914 with the bombardment of the port by a German warship. On May 7, 1915, German troops occupied Libau as a result of the battle for Schaulen . Due to forced evacuation inland and economic decline, there were only 43,600 inhabitants in the city at the end of 1915. After the end of the war, the Red Latvian Riflemen and the Red Army occupied almost all of Latvian territory and founded the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic headed by Pēteris Stučka . The Latvian Provisional Government, proclaimed by the People's Council in Riga , fled to Libau in early 1919, where ships from the British fleet were anchored. In addition, the representatives of the Entente as well as the soldiers' council and the general command of the German troops were in the city. On April 16, 1919, a coup attempt by a small unit of the Baltic State Army took place here, as a result of which a government cabinet was formed with the Protestant pastor Andrievs Niedra as prime minister. The Prime Minister of the Provisional Government Kārlis Ulmanis then lived until June 27, 1919 on the ship “Saratow”, which was anchored in the port under British protection.

Traffic in the port sank to a twelfth of what it was before after 1920. The connection to the railway line to Jelgava (1929) and the establishment of the free port (1931) were of economic importance . Cultural institutions such as the opera (1922) and the philharmonic orchestra (1927) also emerged.

Murder of the Jews in Libaus

In early 1940, 15,000 Red Army soldiers were stationed in Liepāja. The formal occupation of the country followed in the summer. On June 14th and 15th, 1941 alone, around 2,000 townspeople were deported to Siberia. After the capture of Liepāja by German troops on June 29, 1941, the city was occupied by the Germans until May 9, 1945. Most of the more than 7,000 Jewish residents were killed in the massacres in Liepāja by the Wehrmacht and SS in so-called hostage shootings, over 3,000 of them from December 15 to 17, 1941 in Šķēde.

In 1944 and 1945, the port was next to Windau the most important connection of the enclosed Army Group Courland . Many tens of thousands of residents fled the Red Army by ship. After 1945 the prisoner of war camp 349 existed for German prisoners of war .

Between 1945 and 1990 the Soviet leadership set up industrial and fishing companies. The port served as a base for the Soviet Navy . During the Cold War , the north German city ​​of Flensburg became the projected nuclear target of the Soviet submarine base in Liepāja.

By 1974 the city had 100,000 inhabitants again. Of these, more than half were families recruited from Russia.


Beach at Liepāja

The city center with the old storage district, the wide and fine sandy dune beach on the Baltic Sea are well worth seeing

  • the Protestant St. Anna Church (consecrated in 1587) with its monumental wood-carved altarpiece from 1697, a masterpiece of the Baroque period
  • the Evangelical Trinity Cathedral (inaugurated in 1758), a landmark of the city near the Rosenplatz. After the reconstruction in 1885 by Barnim Grüneberg , the organ of the Dreifaltigkeitskirche was still the largest in the world until 1912 with 131 stops, four manuals and more than 7,000 pipes. It is still one of the largest in Europe today .
Grünebergorgel in the Dreifaltigkeitskirche
  • the Catholic St. Joseph's Cathedral near the Old Market Square, first building from 1762, today's neo-Romanesque basilica 1894–1900
  • the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, built in 1867
  • the Karosta district (naval port) with:
    • the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nikolai , built 1901–03
    • the historic military prison, which was used by the various rulers for over a hundred years. The building now houses a museum and a hostel. All rooms have been preserved in their original state or are being gradually restored.
    • the fortress (nine parts, two of them at the naval port)
    • the ring
    • numerous old buildings that have been vacant since the withdrawal of the Soviet military
  • the Großer Bernstein concert hall (Lielais dzintars) , opening in October 2015

Diocese of Liepāja

Liepāja is the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese Liepāja and an Evangelical Lutheran diocese of the same name . Both extend over the area of Courland (Lat .: Kurzeme).


  • There is a ferry connection to Travemünde.
  • There are long-distance bus connections to the inland and nearby Lithuania .
  • Since February 15, 2010, the rail connection has only been offered on Friday / Sunday (Riga – Liepāja) or Saturday / Monday (Liepāja – Riga).
  • Liepāja has a one-line tram system that has been redeveloped in recent years. In May 2013, an extension to the Ezerkrasts 2 district went into operation.
  • The Liepaja Airport (LPX) located 8 km east of the city on a 217 hectare site and is open since May 26, 2016, following renovation. The size of the runway is 2002 × 40 m. Air Baltic has been offering regular flights between Liepāja and Riga since 2017 .


From 1995, the economy flourished again. The main export goods are steel goods, furniture and textiles. The service sector is currently growing in importance.

The port of Liepaja ranks third among the Latvian ports in terms of cargo handling (after Riga and Ventspils ). In 2016, 9% of Latvian imports and exports were handled by sea in Liepaja.

The Liepāja School of Applied Arts is one of the few training centers in the world where knowledge about the artistic processing of amber is imparted. Some of the artisans and artists involved in the reconstruction of the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace in Pushkin also attended this school.


Liepāja maintains the following cities and towns of partnership relations:


sons and daughters of the town

Sorted by year of birth

Associated with Liepāja

  • Paul Max Bertschy (1840–1911), city architect in Libau
  • Lev Rahr (1913–1980), exiled Russian publicist, lived in Libau from 1924–1941
  • Gleb Rahr (1922–2006), Russian exile journalist and church historian, lived in Libau from 1924–1941

Climate table

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Liepāja
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) -0.5 -0.4 3.0 8.4 14.7 18.4 19.9 19.9 16.1 11.3 5.8 2.0 O 9.9
Min. Temperature (° C) -5.7 -5.8 -3.0 1.6 6.4 10.7 13.2 13.1 9.8 5.9 1.4 -2.8 O 3.8
Precipitation ( mm ) 46 34 31 37 37 43 56 92 66 70 65 60 Σ 637
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1.1 2.3 4.2 6.2 8.8 9.8 9.0 8.0 5.8 3.3 1.4 0.9 O 5.1
Rainy days ( d ) 12 8th 9 7th 7th 7th 9 10 12 12 15th 13 Σ 121
Humidity ( % ) 85 82 81 77 74 76 78 79 79 82 83 85 O 80.1
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


in order of appearance

  • Alexander Wegner: History of the City of Libau . Rudolf Puhze Publishing House, Libau 1898; Reprint: v. Hirschheydt, Hannover-Döhren 1970, ISBN 3-7777-0870-4 .
  • Hans Feldmann , Heinz von zur Mühlen (ed.): Baltic historical local dictionary, part 2: Latvia (southern Livonia and Courland). Böhlau, Cologne 1990, ISBN 3-412-06889-6 , pp. 344–346.
  • Sigurds Rusmanis, Ivars Vīks: Kurzeme . In: Izdevniecība Latvijas Enciklopēdija , Riga 1993, ISBN 5-89960-030-6 , pp. 22–34 (city history and explanations of numerous sights, Latvian).
  • Arthur Hoheisel: The Libauer Council Line from 1597 to 1889. In: Baltic ancestors and family trees . Special issue 18. Cologne 1998. pp. 29–58.
  • Edward Anders: Jews in Liepaja, Latvia, 1941–1945. A memorial book . Anders Press, Burlingame 2001.
  • Uļa Gintnere: Liepāja laikmetu dzirnavās . Kurzemes Vārds, Liepāja 2005, ISBN 9984-91-904-8 .
  • Imants Lancmanis: Libau. A Baltic port city between baroque and classicism . Böhlau, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-412-02806-0 .

Web links

Commons : Liepāja  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Postcode Postcode Liepāja, Latvia - GeoPostcodes. Retrieved July 22, 2018 .
  2. Latvijas iedzīvotāju skaits pašvaldībās (= population figures of the self-governing districts of Latvia), status: July 1, 2018 (Latvian), p. 1, accessed on January 5, 2019.
  3. ^ Imants Lancmanis: Libau. A Baltic port city between baroque and classicism . Böhlau, Cologne 2007, p. 4.
  4. ^ Imants Lancmanis: Libau. A Baltic port city between baroque and classicism . Böhlau, Cologne 2007, p. 6.
  5. Hans Feldmann, Heinz von zur Mühlen (ed.): Baltic historical local dictionary, part 2: Latvia (southern Livland and Courland). Böhlau, Cologne 1990, p. 346.
  6. ^ Imants Lancmanis: Libau. A Baltic port city between baroque and classicism . Böhlau, Cologne 2007, pp. 8–9.
  7. ^ Imants Lancmanis: Libau. A Baltic port city between baroque and classicism . Böhlau, Cologne 2007, p. 9.
  8. ^ Imants Lancmanis: Libau. A Baltic port city between baroque and classicism . Böhlau, Cologne 2007, p. 22.
  9. ^ Imants Lancmanis: Libau. A Baltic port city between baroque and classicism . Böhlau, Cologne 2007, p. 23.
  10. Margers Vestermanis: Ortskommandantur Libau , appeared in a war of annihilation - crimes of the Wehrmacht from 1941 to 1944 , Zweitausendeins, 1995, ISBN 3-86150-198-8 ff, S. 241st
  11. ^ Kurt W. Böhme: The German prisoners of war in Soviet hands. A balance sheet (= on the history of the German prisoners of war of the Second World War , edited by Erich Maschke , vol. 7). Verlag Ernst and Werner Gieseking, Bielefeld 1966, p. 79.
  12. ^ Andreas Oeding, Broder Schwensen, Michael Sturm: Flexikon. 725 aha experiences from Flensburg! Flensburg 2009, article: Bunker
  13. Liepaja airport - Home. Retrieved May 20, 2017 (English).
  14. Latvian Business Guide , 2018 edition, p. 33.