Self-guided Ogre city walk
If you refer to someone as an ogre, you are saying in a humorous way that they are very frightening. As you may know, Ogre is a giant or monster in legends and fairy tales that eats people. The name Ogre, however, in Latvian does not mean anything like that as we have a lovely town named Ogre about 40 kilometres from the capital city, Riga. The name of Ogre city is derived from the River Ogre. Besides the River Ogre, the city also borders the biggest river in Latvia, Daugava. Ogre is rich in scenic walks and great opportunities for active recreation. The city is also called the Christmas capital of Latvia because of its gorgeous Christmas decorations. Ogre is also decorated beautifully during other festive seasons, like Easter and Latvian independence celebration days in May and November. So the best time to visit the city is during festive seasons, and let me start by explaining what you can expect in Ogre during these times. A bit later, I will offer you a city walk in Ogre, doable at any time of year.
Seasonal decorations of Ogre city
During Easter time, Ogre is decorated with large Easter eggs adorned according to motifs of paintings of Latvian classical painter Vilhelms Purvitis, born near Ogre in 1872.
Latvia national days
Around Latvian national days, the city is decorated with national flags, both pedestrian bridges are illuminated in the colours of the Latvian national flag, and the pedestrian street is decorated with red and white umbrellas like colours of the national flag.
Every Christmas season, the Ogre municipality adds new decorations to make the city adorable. They have a lighted pedestrian street, the Star of Bethlehem, and a carriage of light and light angels at any church in the city. In 2021, German magazine “Der Spiegel” listed Ogre among the most beautiful Christmas towns.
Ogre city walk
So let’s start our 9 kilometres walk in Ogre which will take you about half a day, including a visit to Ogre Library and lunch. I will introduce a few add-ons to this tour later on if you have more time. Our departure point is Ogre railway station (dzelzcela stacija) square. It’s convenient if you come by train. There’s a parking lot if you visit by car.
Ogre railway station square
Our tour of Ogre starts at Ogre railway station square, named after the first mayor of the city July Albert Marson. His statue is also located there, along with the smart bench to charge your phone.
Building on Brivibas 12
Keep an eye out for a fascinating building on one side of the square. It was built in 1901 as a dwelling house and place for shopping. Most locals remember this building as the police office because it had been located there for more than 40 years. Currently, the recreation centre “Police academy 98” is located in this building.
Continue your walk under the railway through a tunnel to the pedestrian part of Brivibas Street, and soon you will see the building on Brivibas 18.
Building on Brivibas 18
This building was built in 1926 and currently houses a tourist information centre and cafe. So if you are looking for more information about Ogre, it’s the right place to visit.After passing the digital water screen, soon you will notice a pink building on your right-hand side.
Building on Brivibas 32
It was built in 1926. The owner opened a cafe and guest house, “Oger-Kurhaus”, there. It was a nice place for recreation with local and Riga musicians performing in the evenings. Currently, there’s a restaurant in this lovely pink house.
Statue of the bear cub
The sculpture of a bear cub with its honey pot was set up in the 1950s and was a typical environmental element of the Soviet era. These sculptures were mass-produced at the time, and such bears were located in many Latvian cities. This bear got its name in a peculiar way. In 1999, its paw was broken off. The repair was done by the staff of the Ogre Art School after donations had been collected for the restoration work. Sadly, the only one to support the campaign was a 7-year-old boy Eriks Ozolins, who donated his lunch money for this purpose. Since the bear needed a name, the Ogre Art School decided to thank the boy and named the bear Eriks in honour of its only benefactor.
Address: Brivibas 21
Statue of the White wagtail
You will find a statue of White wagtail at the end of the pedestrian part of Brivibas Street next to the fountain. The White wagtail is a fragile bird that has always been able to protect its children, no matter the circumstances. This statue symbolises Latvian mothers who suffered from repressions in Soviet times, have survived in challenging conditions with their families and were able to protect their children. Continue your walk to Ogre Library on Brivibas Street 35.
Ogre Library and Marriage Registry
This building is quite unusual for such a medium-sized town, and we’re proud of that. It has been nominated as one of the four best public libraries in the world for the IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year Award 2022. The building is designed by lead architect Valdis Onkelis and his team to feel like an open place for the community and visitors to meet, educate and relax rather than just being a formal institution. The building houses a library with different reading and working rooms, a vast kid’s library, a separate youth library, a spacious conference hall with a terrace and children’s room, and a cosy summer café building for outdoor library activities. It even has a Civil Registry Office with a marriage ceremony hall. On the second floor, a ceremonial white hallway starts. At the end of it, there’s an ascetic ceremony hall with a large undivided glass wall facing the forest to the north. Nature has always played a central role in traditional Latvian culture and so it does in this hall. You are welcome to step in and see it all by yourself.
Address: Brivibas 35
After visiting the stunning library, continue your way to Brivibas Street until you reach Ogre Lutheran Church.
Ogre Lutheran Church
The Lutheran Church of Ogre was built in 1930 by local builders, and in 1940, the organ was opened in the church.
Address: Brivibas 51
Then it’s time to turn right on the Ogre river bank.
Krasta (Bank) promenade is a popular rest area and a place for walking, enjoyed by the locals and visitors of the town. It’s also a favoured venue for concerts and festivities. The restored promenade stretches along the River Ogre, revealing a gorgeous view of the river and its banks.
After a short while, turn left and cross the river on the Arched Pedestrian Bridge.
Arched Pedestrian Bridge
This largest arch-shaped bridge in Latvia is 94 m long and 4.5 m wide. The pedestrian bridge over the River Ogre was built in 1966, and it connects the central part of the city and Parogre.
Afterwards, continue to Lakstigalu Street.
Lakstigalu (Nightingale) Street has just 15 houses. The inhabitants wanted to make their street unique and made one central and 15 small nightingale images there. The big nightingale statue is made from an oak tree and is named Mother Nightingale. The 15 smaller metal nightingales can be found on the trees next to the houses. They are different and designed according to the life stories of inhabitants of the houses, like Fishermen, Cinema, Knitting, Sportive, Diligent, and Firefighter nightingale, among the others.
Then continue your way to the Daugava River promenade.
The Daugava promenade in Ogre is a popular rest area and a place for walking and fishing both for residents and guests. It attracts visitors with an excellent view of the confluence of rivers Daugava and Ogre. There’s also a possibility to go even further and visit the promenade in Ikskile town. The Daugava promenade in Ogre is 2.6 kilometres long and is suited both for walking and cycling.
Here the choice is yours: make a loop and walk the entire Daugava River promenade or make a shortcut walking on Riga Street and then turning right to Andreja Upisa Street.
Chrysler Voyager Club of Latvia
Do you own a Chrysler Voyager van? I don’t. Still, our next stop is the Latvian Voyager club located in Ogre. Voyager club was founded in 2003 by the enthusiast of this car brand. The club site is nicely decorated with old Voyager cars and tells the history of the building of those cars. There’s also Voyager service located there and premises for rent for your party as well.
Address: Andreja Upisa 12
Then make your way to Meza prospekts 6 to see a sundial.
Sundial at Meza prospekts
It looks like people living in Ogre have an entrepreneurial spirit as the sundial next to a house at Meza prospekts 6 was made thanks to their initiative in 2020. It’s made from red-brown granite and shows GMT+3 Summer Time.
After this, you can go back to the starting point of our tour, or if you are hungry, I have a recommendation for you.
Where to eat
“Melna Kamene’’ (Black Bumblebee) is a modern gastro bar serving late breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cosy atmosphere. You can also have a drink at the bar. Dishes of modern Latvian and World classical kitchens are delicious. Booking a table in advance to avoid disappointment is highly recommended.
Address: Tinuzu iela 1
If you have more time or decide to visit Ogre one more time, you can include the Ogre Blue hills walk in your tour.
Ogre Blue Hills
Zilie Kalni (Blue Hills) has been a popular recreational and skiing place for locals and visitors since the end of the 19th century. Part of this area was used for gravel mining in the second part of the 20th century. When gravel mining was stopped, the mine gradually filled with underground water, and therefore, the hills have a 20-hectare large Dubkalni pool attracting swim lovers. Currently, the nature park “Ogres Zilie Kalni” has an area of 312 hectares with several walking trails and a skiing trail in winter.From 30 metres high watchtower you can see Riga city when the sky is clear.
How to get there
There are several entrances to the nature park. Check out the map.
Another option to make your tour longer is to visit Spakovskis Park.
Spakovskis Park is one of the most beautiful places in Ogre. It owes its name to its developer Janis Spakovskis. It’s located about 3 kilometres away from the railway station of Ogre. Covering an area of 5.9 hectares, it has more than 7,000 different plants, including 412 varieties of trees. Lover’s pond with water lilies looks awesome in summer. Walking trails in the park are 1.8 kilometres long.
Address: Pavasara gatve 6
You can get to Ogre by train in some 50 minutes. There are many departures every day. Another option is to go by car as you can park it at the railway station parking lot. If you visit Ogre during festive time, check out the Ogre tourist information website to find the places where festive decorations are placed.
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What did you think? Have you visited Latvia and Ogre city? I’d love to hear from you so please add your comment below.
Author: Anita Sane