Ethnic traditions

The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia

Just a half hour’s drive from Riga’s center, nestled in a pine forest, one of Europe’s oldest and largest outdoor museums can be found alongside the shore of Lake Jugla. It is called the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia.

Since its establishment in 1924, the museum has collected 118 historical buildings from all over Latvia. Riga and all of Latvia’s regions, Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale, and Latgale, are represented here. The buildings have been set up to give visitors a sense of Latvia’s rural landscape.

At the Open-Air Museum you can find farmsteads of Latvian farmers, craftsmen, and fishermen. They all contain permanent exhibitions – household and working tools, interior furnishings – which characterize the time period, the district, and the owner’s vocation.

From May until September, folk artisans such as potters, weavers, blacksmiths, woodworkers, and teachers of traditional games work at the Open-Air Museum. These experts are happy to give you the opportunity to try out their crafts. After a long walk through the museum, enjoy a meal at the Priedes krogs pub and visit our souvenir shop, which features works by our artisans.

The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia also has two sister sites, which are located in their original regions. Vēveri is located in the hilly district of Vecpiebalga, and the fisherman’s homestead Vītolnieki is located on the picturesque coast of Rucava.

Wooden church of the 17th century. Weddings are held here every Saturday.

Events at the museum

The Open-Air Museum hosts over 20 different seasonal events and annual traditions every year, in which folklore groups and artisans take part. These include Shrovetide, Easter, the Summer Solstice, the Harvest Festival, and Yule Log Eve. You can also visit multiple craft festivals, such as the large Traditional Folk Art Fair in June, Contemporary Craft Fair in August, and the Harvest, Martin Day, and Christmas fairs.

1932

The most well-known and unforgettable event is the Traditional Applied Folk Art Fair, which has been hosted by the museum for 50 years. The most talented artisans, singers, and dancers come together from all over Latvia. Source

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