A Northern Riviera

Jurmala is often called the „Northern Riviera” due to its close resemblance to its French counterpart in its historical development. The city, which is located on the Baltic coast, has formed as an agglomerate of dozens of fishing villages and bathing towns. In the middle of the 19th century, the region blossomed, as the newly built railroad line promoted greater number of visitors and helped to popularize the spa culture.

Jurmala, the pearl of the Baltic Sea, is also regarded as an open-air spa. The ionized air of Jurmala boosts body’s immune system, heals the respiratory tract and improves heart function. The healing mud and mineral waters beneath Jurmala aid in eliminating toxins. Due to the abundance of these incredible natural resources, the area is full of spa houses, spa centers and sanatoriums.  

In addition to its natural assets, Jurmala has a vibrant cultural life. Since the late 19th century, the outdoor concert venues and the internationally acclaimed Dzintari Concert Hall have been entertaining its visitors and local residents with unique festivals, theatre performances and art programmes.

For tourists: http://www.visitjurmala.lv/lv/jurmala/praktiska-informacija/


Dzintari Concert Hall

This place was devoted to music from the outset. The first concerts here were held back in 1891. Until 1922, the contemporary Dzintari was called ‘Edinburgh’; the name was given to commemorate the marriage of Princess Mary (Tsar Alexander II’s daughter) and Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1897, a theatrical stage was erected in ‘Edinburgh’ to host regular vaudeville shows and entertainment concerts accompanied by a small orchestra.

A turning point in the history of the concert hall came in 1910, when a larger orchestra, consisting of 70 musicians, was invited from Berlin to perform on a regular basis.   Until 1914, listeners could enjoy performances by the singers of Russian opera theatres, by the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and the specifically created Symphony Orchestra of ‘Edinburgh’.

Then the Great War began. The concert hall came back to life only in 1920; until 1931, the concerts were organised by the concertmeister Albert Bērziņš with the Orchestra of the National Opera, who invited conductors from Germany, Russia and Poland to perform on tour. Such world-renowned artists as Richard Hagel, Grzegorz Fitelberg and Nikolai Malko performed in Dzintari.

The venue experienced a major change in 1935, when, due to adverse weather conditions and frequent rain Arvīds Papus, who was responsible for holding and radio broadcasts of concerts, compelled the authorities to build a roofed concert hall, which opened its doors in 1936. Victor Mellenberg was the architect of the project. Leonīds Vīgners made his debut at the concert dedicated to the grand opening of the new venue with his first performance of ‘Minuet in a Classical Style’ in Jūrmala.

The year 1940 profoundly changed the fate of Latvia and the venue’s event posters were sure to reflect the change. A substantial portion of the programme consisted of performances by Soviet musicians and artists. The stage of Dzintari Concert Hall welcomed Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, David Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan and many others.  Tours by the internationally renowned orchestras, such as the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw National Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Danish Symphony Orchestra were always a tremendous success at Dzintari Concert Hall.

Official website: Dzintarukoncertzale.lv

Jurmala gallery