Friday, 29 May 2009


This old sign "barber shop" must have remained there on Sadovnikova street in Riga since pre-WWII times.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Glory to Lenin

These are a couple of Soviet slogans found in Krāslava, East Latvia. The first says "Glory to Lenin" and the other "Peace for the World", both in Russian. Because they were built into the walls of apartment buildings with red bricks they have avoided destruction after the Latvia's independence.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Saturday, 23 May 2009


A couple of old shop signs in Rauna, a small place between Cēsis and Valmiera.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Friday, 22 May 2009

Coach factory

This old mural indicates of a Russian-Baltic factory of railway coaches and a year 1913 which is probably the year of foundation. Today the factory on Valmieras street in Riga looks pretty abandoned.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Thursday, 21 May 2009


I have no doubt that this shop sign Jaunrauna stands there since Soviet times. Jaunrauna is a small place near Cēsis.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Train bench

Some people in Krāslava, East Latvia have decided to create resting areas using the old wooden benches from trains.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Goodbye, chemistry hall

The destruction works of the chemistry hall of Technical university (RTU) started about a couple of weeks ago. It has become also some sort of touristic attraction for many passers-by.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Monday, 18 May 2009

Mobile shop

Mobile shops aka autoshops were popular in 1990s when shops in rural areas could not satisfy the growing needs of newly established consumer society. Today many villages got more shops than back in 1990s, turning some of the vans into scrap metal. However, autoshops still exist but at much lower scale. The abandoned van was found in Kraslava, East Latvia.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Water towers

Soviet times water towers that can be found all over Latvia can easily be spotted by distinctive architecture.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


There's a small place called Skulte near Riga airport that was a military town in Soviet times. This monument of an airplane is one thing that reminds of those times.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Monday, 11 May 2009


New Rosme is perhaps the biggest factory in Riga that produces underwear. Founded in 1952 as a maker of corselettes today most of its bras goes to Russia.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Victory day

Today in the Victory park (Uzvaras parks) in Riga the victory of the USSR in WWII is celebrated. For Russian-speaking community in Latvia it is perhaps more than just a Victory day but also a way to maintain a sense of community. Normally Latvians don't attend the event. However the atmosphere in the park is quite sincere. Youngsters are giving flowers to war veterans, grannies are making picnics and singing folk songs and everyone greets each other. At the same time political parties try to promote themselves before the city council and EU elections, while the fussy police forces hope for some ethnical clashes.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Thursday, 7 May 2009


This is quite rare - a shop in Priedaine, a place near Riga, has kept its name - Daina - and even the shabby sign of it from Soviet times.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


This mural can be found outside the sports centre in Kleisti suburb of Riga. The centre is run by the state for many years now, thus the faded mural has survived any renovation attempts. The mural illustrates what the centre is most well known - horse riding. Locals can improve their equestrian skills and occassionally watch horse races.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Monday, 4 May 2009


Sēnīte (Little mushroom) was a popular restaurant in Soviet times and even in mid-1990s. Located on the highway Riga - Sigulda, many people were attracted by this posh place. The building resembles a mushroom and did open its doors in 1967. Today it is closed and vandalized.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Friday, 1 May 2009

1 May

In Soviet times there was always a big mass demonstration on the 1st May, the Workers day. The majority of participants were factory workers. The above black and white photos are of 1987 by Latinform, while the color photo is from a book. Alfa used to be a factory and usually all factories were building carriages for the demonstration. These carriages were not just rolled to introduce a particular factory but their design and size should also express factory's progress, achievements and superiority over competitors. Today 1st of May is still a holiday in Latvia but no demonstration is being held.