Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Soviet Era Riga 1980, Latvian SSR -- Tourist Photos and Overview

Printed in 1980 this postcard folder contained 18 cards devoted to Soviet era Riga in the Latvian SSR. Many of the cards have multiple images and they look at the streets, monuments, stores, attractions and other aspects of the city at the time. 

By 1980 the population of Riga had risen to just over 800,000. By 1990 it would reach the 900,000 mark though it has since declined to around 650,000. 

Standouts in the collection include the terrific shot of the Sakta Gift Shop, the city panoramas and the powerful monument to the victims of fascism in Salaspils, where the Nazis and their collaborators had constructed a concentration camp. 

There are also views of the resort town of Jurmala, near Riga. This was a hugely popular tourist destination in the Soviet Union. Included is a photo of the "control room" of the famous Soviet night club the "Juras Perle" in Jurmala as well as of its structure which jutted out over the beach. 

I have translated the text on both the folder and on each of the cards and have provided it.

Folder text:

The capital of Soviet Latvia - Riga - is always unique.

The history of the city is rich in events and the names of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom and happiness of the people. Their names are immortalized in many monuments and in the names of streets, squares and ships. There is the Monument to the Latvian Red Riflemen who fought in the revolution and whose names are inscribed in the history of the socialist homeland.

Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten. The Eternal Flame and monuments at Salaspils where during the Great Patriotic War in this camp the Nazis killed more than 100,000 people. Here the elderly and children, mothers and soldiers, people of different nationalities and from different countries were martyred. In the place of the former concentration camp now stands a memorial.

For many of the years of its history, Riga did not know such a fast growth and prosperity. In the post-war period the capital of Soviet Latvia has changed beyond recognition. Wounds caused by the war are healed. Now it is a highly developed industrial city and a scientific and cultural center of the republic. 

Seventy-five thousand students study in seven universities of the city. Every year seven theaters of the city put on dozens of new performances which are visited by about 2 million spectators. The best works of Latvian Soviet writers are recognized in the fraternal republics all across the country. They can be read in more than 50 languages.

There are also the concert programs in the halls of the State Philharmonic. There is not an empty seat during performances of the Riga circus. A large army of fans gather for hockey battles at the Riga ice palace, as well as for international competitions of the masters of figure-skating.

The traditional hobby, passed from generation to generation, of choral singing is popular and the same can be said about outdoor dances. On the republic's holidays, songs, colorful and poetic, can be heard on a large variety of cultural tours and at recreational events. There are choirs, dancing ensembles and brass bands that will draw crowds of more than 30,000 people.

The squares, streets and architecture of Old Riga. Here the spire of  St. Peter's Church rises. Its height is more than 123 meters. The unique wooden tower collapsed repeatedly. Last time it burned in the summer of  1941 due to artillery fire. Rebuilt it is now a characteristic sign of a new time in the life of an ancient city.

There are huge new residential areas: Yugla. Kengarags. Imanta, Purvciems, Krasta. For the people of Riga Soviet power successfully developed the many branches of the national economy. From the highways, to the Riga diesel and electric trains, to the "Latvia" minibuses.

In all corners of our country and in many countries of the world, can be found the telephones, radio receivers, refrigerators, mopeds, washing machines, lamps and industrial products of Riga. Perhaps most popular are the radio receivers and telephone sets.

Riga is a city of scientists. Now in the institutions of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR, higher educational institutions, branch scientific research institutes and laboratories are working thousands of scientists, including many candidates and doctors of science.

Latvia is proud of having creating a powerful energy sector. Once again the old Kegums hydroelectric power station on the Daugava was reconstructed as the largest in the Baltic States. Riga has other hydroelectric power stations. In Riga there is the united dispatcher-management of the power system of the whole Northwest of our country.

One the successes achieved in the development of the national economy is that the old capital has been restored. The appearance of the past was preserved though instead of wooden structures they are now metal. 

The rooster on the spire of the Dome Cathedral shows the direction of the wind. The construction of the cathedral and monastery began in the 12th century. At the end of the nineteenth century it had one of the largest organs in Europe with 6768 pipes. Now the Dome Cathedral is a concert hall that is visited by thousands of Soviet and foreign guests.

Rigans and guests of the republic's capital like to walk and rest in the city's cozy parks. The park of culture and recreation occupies an area of ​​about 400 hectares on the shore of Lake Kish. In it are held exhibitions of achievements of the Latvian national economy, as well as a children's railway and zoo which attract a large number of visitors.

Jurmala is a favorite recreation place for Riga residents and their guests. The city stretches along the coast of the Gulf of Riga for 30 kilometers. This resort is famous for its white sandy beaches. Over recent years, Jurmala has become an all-union resort of the entire USSR. There are many medical institutions, sanatoriums, recreation houses, children's camps, and cultural, domestic and sports facilities.

If you look from the observation platforms of the tower of St. Peter's Church, from this bird's eye view the labyrinths of the streets will be well visible with the roofs of houses, towers and spires of Old Riga, as well as the new buildings.

Here you will see that this ancient city has a spring mood of eternal renewal and eternal youth.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Sakta Gift Shop

 View of the central part of the city /
Front of the building of the Academy of Arts of the Latvian SSR

 The building of the State Philharmonic Society of the Latvian SSR /
Fragment of the arch decoration of the Riga Castle

Memorial Museum-Monument Latvian Red Riflemen

Performance of ballet dancers /
The building of the State Academic Opera and Ballet of the Latvian SSR

Dome Concert Hall /
View of the Dome Cathedral and Pardaugava

City panorama

Monument to the victims of fascism in Salaspils

One of the quarters/
Monument to PI Stuchka (Latvian Bolshevik)

 In Jauniela Street /
Gate of the Riga Castle

Control panel and the control room of the restaurant "Juras Perle" (famous Soviet night club and bar) /
Management of the power system of the Northwest USSR 

 In one of the city parks

At the Riga Lenin State Electrotechnical Institute

Monument to the national poet of Latvia Jan Rainis /
The building of the new Art Academic Theater of Latvian SSR named after J. Rainis

Participants of the Song Festival

 Jurmala on the beach /
Juras Perle Restaurant

Part of the ensemble of medieval living houses the "Three Brothers" /
Old Town Houses

A new residential area - Imanta /
On Lenin Street

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