Three for the Weekend: Lāčplēsis Spirit

Mid-November in Latvia is the time to remember the troops fallen for the country's freedom. Here are some ideas to mark the occasion and enhance or test your knowledge of the history surrounding Lāčplēsis Day on November 11.

Lāčplēsis Day events

To mark Lāčplēsis Day (you can find out more information about the significance of the day on our other story), there are numerous events in Rīga and in other cities of Latvia throughout the day, including concerts, parades, torch walks, and candle-lighting. The full program of the events in Rīga is available on svetki.riga.lv.

Larger events will also take place in Kuldīga with a military parade at 12:00, Valmiera with a light installation in Vecpuišu Park starting 18:00, Sigulda's palace square with a light show and military songs starting 18:00, and Cēsis palace park with a multimedia performance 'The spirit of Lāčplēsis' at 18:30.

Latvian Television will offer a special celebration program in the evening.

Historical walk

LSM's Latvian language service and the historian Kārlis Sils have designed a route through places on the left bank of the Daugava where decisive events on November 10 and 11, 1919, took place, fighting the Bermondt troops. 

The route leads through these places:

  1. Šampēteris manor (approximate location: current Liegu Street). The manor does not exist anymore, but it was a spot from which the Bermondt army controlled two of the main streets of Pārdaugava, Kalnciema and Kandavas Street.
  2. Zasulauks train station. The Rīga infantry regiment No. 6 was tasked to walk from Nordeķi station (no longer existing) to Zasulauks station and push the Bermondt army back toward the Daugava.
  3. Rīga City Hospital no.2. (nowadays the Stradiņš Hospital, Pilsoņu Street 13). On November 10 evening a shooting occurs, and the Latvian army wins the hospital back.
  4. Dzegužkalns (Dzegužu Street 11). Dzegužkalns was one of the most important strategic locations since it was the highest point in Rīga, providing a view to the Old Town and the Rīga port to aim the artillery.
  5. Mārtiņš Cemetery (Hāmaņa Street 4). Mārtiņš Church and cemetery was the only path of retreat left for the Bermondt army, which they lost late November 10 at night.
  6. Uzvaras Square (now Uzvaras Park), where fights continued early morning of November 11.
  7. Railway bridge over the Daugava, which the Rīga cadet school students marched across on November 11 to find the remaining Bermondt troops in Pārdaugava.
  8. Torņakalns church (Torņakalna Street 5). The Latvian army declared victory and rang church bells across Rīga, including at the Torņakalns church which had just been reclaimed.

The points are displayed in the historical map below (from the archives of the Latvian National Library):

Source: Latvian National Library

Quiz

To refresh your knowledge about Lāčplēsis Day and the surrounding events, we offer a quiz at our other story.

 

 

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