Forty panels and two screens introduce the most important facts about the establishment of an independent Latvia, whose territory was historically at an important trade crossroads. The famous trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, connecting Scandinavia, Kievan Rus' and the Byzantine Empire, was even mentioned in the Primary Chronicle.

Due to its strategic geographical location, the area has always been exposed to invasions by other nations. For centuries, it was consecutively under German, Swedish, Polish and Russian rule.


Patriotic sentiments

However, a strong patriotic sentiment began to awaken among the Latvian people at the beginning of the 19th century. The first newspapers in Latvian were printed and there was active cultural development. At the beginning of the 20th century, the idea of ​​an independent Latvia was born. During the First World War, this idea became even stronger.

Latvia declared its independence immediately at the end of the Great War, on the 18th of November 1918.


Latvia, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland

The exhibition also documents the hardship during the nation’s early years. It introduces the establishment of the independent Latvian state in the context its neighbours, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as Poland and Finland, which were also founded or reinstated after the First World War, and also celebrated their centenaries in the years 2017 and 2018. Finland became independent on the 6th of December 1917, Lithuania on the 16th of February 1918, Estonia on the 24th of February 1918, and Poland on the 11th of November 1918.

However, these newly declared independent states also faced military, political and diplomatic struggles for national independence and international recognition even after their establishment. Despite all the hardship, they did not give up and continued building their own national identity. The first governments were formed, representatives of individual parliaments elected, and cooperation developed between the newly formed countries.

If the topic is of interest to you, come to Vítkov to learn more about it.


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