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Kuldīgā jauns tūrisma objekts – slīps skatu tornis

Kuldīga unveils its own leaning tower

February is the quietest month in tourism, but for several weeks now, many people have been making their way to Kuldīga, where an observation tower overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town and the Venta Valley is open to the public. The tower has an unusual appearance - it is leaning, Skrunda Television reports.

The slant of the lookout tower is as if it is pointing towards the Venta and the Old Town of Kuldīga. To reach the top platform, you have to climb more than 20 meters. If you can't climb that high, there are eight platforms at different levels, with views of Kuldīga Old Town, the Venta Valley, the ancient brick bridge and, from the top, the Venta hub.

There used to be a wooden observation tower in Pārventa Park, but time took its toll and it was demolished for safety reasons. Work on a new tower started seven years ago but was postponed due to lack of funding. As it is located in the Venta Valley Nature Reserve, thought has been given to how best to integrate it into the environment. 

Vita Škapare, architect and designer of the observation tower, said: "The idea was that the tower starts from the ground and grows and becomes a mountain or a land. A little bit sculptural in its form, which spills over that hillside and invites you to look at what is beyond that river, what is in that river. And at the same time, being at the top reinforces the feeling that we are above that slope, a little bit of flight."

Ance Reķe, Senior Project Manager at Kuldīga Development Agency, added: "The first platform of the observation tower is built in such a way as to ensure both environmental accessibility for people with reduced mobility and to provide a view."

Kuldīga's tourism stakeholders said that the project was very much anticipated. 

Jana Bergmane, Head of the Kuldīga Tourism Development Center, said: "The tower has opened in the most real tourist off-season because February is really the quietest time in tourism. This is the place that is attracting the tourist traffic at the moment like a little magnet. We could already see this at the weekend when the first sun shone. Well, then the number of visitors and guests in Kuldīga was the same as on a calm day in June or July."

Kuldīga's Klāvs Šlakorcins has been encouraging people to play with the tilt of the tower in photographs on the internet, just like people do at the famous Pisa Tower in Italy. The Pisa Tower has a slope of 3.99 degrees, while the Kuldīga Tower has a slope of 12 degrees. 

The tower is also illuminated during the dark hours of the day. At the moment, however, the lights are switched off after 23:00 to save money. There are also three nature trails from the site. 

The project has been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

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