• Ralf Steinberger

On the road in Latvia and Lithuania

Updated: Sep 9

While traveling with my brother Wolf, I created this photo diary with daily updates. Photos were added below in chronological order. It is better to view them full-screen.



First day: Arrival in Riga, the capital of Latvia. I hope this was not the only sunny day of our 9-day trip!

Insight of the day: I should have brought warmer clothes!


Second day: After a walk through downtown Riga (wonderful Jugendstil/Art Nouveau houses!), we drove to Lithuania to visit the Hill of Crosses in Jurgaičiai. It is overwhelming! I wish I had been here before producing my photo zine 'Where the dead go' on cemeteries and death cults around the world. This pilgrimage place would have been a suitable addition.


Third day: We slept in a very simple accommodation in Šiauliai and explored the city. We then continued our road trip through Lithuania and stopped at a random place, which was Šeduva with its pretty cobble stone streets and many wooden houses.


Fourth day: Exploring Kaunas, Lithuania's second biggest city and the 2022 European City of Culture.


Fifth day: On the way from Kaunas to Vilnius, we stopped in the interesting, synthetic, electric city Elektrėnai with its reservoir lake and its theme park, abandoned in 2013, but partially rebuilt.


Sixth day (and part of days 5 and 7): We explored the pubs and restaurants of Vilnius, plus the market, the Open Gallery with plenty of graffitis and mural paintings, the Museum of Illusions and parts of the Old Town. Electrifying!


Seventh day: We visited the Museum for Contemporary Art in Vilnius (a surprise behind each curtain!) and the Museum of Modern Art (unfortunately closed), then we drove back to Latvia. On the way to Riga, we explored an abanonded tuberculosis hospital in Ziedoņi.


Eigth day: back in the wonderful Latvian capital Riga. We were lucky with the weather today.


Ninth and last day: We explored the huge Central Market and I visited the Latvian National Museum of Art where I discovered several great painters I did not know before, including Jānis Tīdemanis, Kārlis Padegs and Jānis Liepiņš. And the golden staircase is a piece of art by itself.



Photos taken on Day 1, taken in Riga, Latvia, which is known for its beautiful Art Nouveau houses. Riga is the largest city in the three Baltic countries.




Photos taken on Day 2, visiting the pilgrimage place Hill of Crosses in Jurgaičiai, Lithuania. There must be 100,000 or more crosses that pilgrims bring here. It is an overwhelming sight.





Photos taken on Day 3, visiting the city of Šiauliai and the small town Šeduva:






Photos taken on Day 4, exploring Kaunas. Kaunas is Lithuania's second biggest city and it is the 2022 European City of Culture.



Photos taken on Day 5, visiting the electric city Elektrėnai, which was created in 1961, during the Soviet aera, to maintain a new thermal power plant. The city was a modern place. Lamp posts were adorned with lightening bolts. The theme park 'Children World' was built. It became a city of sports, especially ice hockey and water sports. The theme park was abandoned in 2013, but only the abandoned roller coaster is left over. The city feels like a leftover of a 1960s dream. The Church of St. Virgin Mary was built after independence.





Photos taken on Day 6, showing the market, the graffitis and the murals shown at the Open Gallery, a few special effects experienced at the Museum of Illusions and some scenes taken in the historic town centre of Vilnius. Most beautiful.





Photos taken on Day 7, when we visited the Museum for Contemporary Art in Vilnius (a surprise behind each curtain!) and the Museum of Modern Art (mostly closed), then we drove back to Latvia. On the way to Riga, we explored an abanonded tuberculosis hospital in Ziedoņi.





Photos taken on Day 8, enjoying the good weather in Latvia's capital Riga.




Photos taken on Day 9, during which we explored the huge Central Market and I visited the Latvian National Museum of Art.






Please keep in mind that, like story telling and the writing of history books, photography is highly subjective. Photographers mostly notice and capture things that are different to what they are used to. They focus on differences. For instance, if they live in a rich country, they have little interest in taking photos of modern buildings and smartly dressed people while poverty or traditional clothes may capture their interest. This selection can cause the photo viewers to get a distorted impression of the shown country or region. If you are interested in this problematic issue, you may like to read my short article on Photographing religious rites.



Ein paar deutsche Stichwörter dazu, was Du auf dieser Seite findest: einen Foto-Blog oder Reise-Blog; die Baltischen Staaten Litauen und Lettland; den Pilgerort Kreuzhügel / Berg der Kreuze; die Orte Riga, Kaunas, Vilnius, Elektrėnai, Jurgaičiai, Šiauliai, Šeduva; Jugendstil-Architektur; Altstadt; die Abenteuer der Brüder Ralf & Wolf; das Museum der Illusionen; und vieles mehr.


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