Comparative analysis of the cities of the Baltic states


The Small Guild is an organization of artisans in Riga, which was founded after the Holy Cross and the Trinity were divided. It was founded in 1226, and it became the first Riga guild to bring together German citizens. In the XIV century it was split into two parts, which became the Guild of St. Mary, which united the merchants and the Guild of St. John, uniting artisans.

Narva Castle (German Castle)

German Castle is a medieval castle of the city of Narva (Estonia), located on the banks of the river of the same name. The Danes founded the castle in the 13th century. During its existence, the castle belonged to 5 states: Denmark, the Livonian Order, Russia, Sweden and Estonia. During the Second World War, the building was severely damaged, but then rebuilt and now there is a historical museum.

Amber Museum

The Amber Museum is located in the city of Palanga, it is a branch of the Art Museum of Lithuania. The museum is housed in the building of the Tyszkiewicz Palace, which was built in 1897. The museum was founded in August 1963 (contains 15 rooms, the total area of ​​which is 750 m²). The exposition contains more than 28 thousand units.

Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is located in Riga. The exposition highlights the period from 1940 to 1991, divided into 3 stages: 1940-1941, 1941-1944 and 1944-1991.

Kadriorg (Yekaterinental) is a baroque palace and park ensemble in Tallinn. The name Yekaterinental is translated from German as "the valley of Catherine", it is dedicated to the wife of Peter I - Catherine I.

Freedom Monument

Freedom Monument is located in Riga. U was installed in 1935 as a tribute to the soldiers who fell in the struggle for the independence of Latvia. The monument is located in the very center of Riga, on Freedom Boulevard (Brivibas). After Latvia joined the USSR in 1940, they wanted to move the monument or even dismantle it, but thanks to famous Soviet sculptors, the monument was preserved in the same place in the same form.

Spicy brama

Sharp brama is one of the most important sights of Vilnius. It belongs to the sphere of religious pilgrimage, is a historical and architectural monument. The structure of the Acute Brama includes a chapel with the image of the Mother of God of Ostrobramskoy, as well as the gates of the city wall that have survived to this day.

Estonian Maritime Museum

Estonian Maritime Museum was founded in the summer of 1935. It is located in the tower of "Fat Margarita" in Tallinn. The museum's exposition contains the history of navigation, local shipbuilding, port and lighthouse facilities. The exhibits of the collection of finds that were raised from the bottom of the Baltic Sea are especially popular and valuable. In addition, diving equipment of various time periods is presented. The courtyard contains an open-air exhibit and an observation deck with access to the port of Tallinn.

Mountain of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses is a shrine of Lithuania, a place of pilgrimage. It is located 12 kilometers from Šiauliai along the route from Kaliningrad to Riga. The Hill of Crosses is a fortification on which about 50 thousand Lithuanian crosses are located. Although outwardly the Hill of Crosses looks like a cemetery, in reality this is not so.

According to an ancient legend - whoever erects a cross on this hill will be lucky, therefore a huge number of people come here who leave at least small crosses on their neck, they hang large crosses up to 5 meters in size.

Baltic city ratings

The main criteria used in compiling the ranking of cities: the presence of famous architectural monuments (palaces, fortresses, churches, old residential buildings), the integrity of residential buildings of the pre-Soviet period (is the old look of the city well preserved or in the center a lot of “Khrushchev”, “brezhnevka”, industrial enterprises), the state of infrastructure (if the city center is repaired - this is undoubtedly a plus, if a significant percentage of houses are in disrepair - minus), the presence of beautiful parks, picturesque nature and terrain ty, the presence of charm / romance (the most subjective criterion, determined both by architecture, a sufficient number of cafes / bars / shops / markets revitalizing urban life, and the cultural level of the local population).

The three most interesting cities in the Baltic states are undoubtedly the three capitals - Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. Trying to compare them with each other is a thankless task, in each of them the traveler can spend considerable time without having time to explore all the interesting places. Fans of medieval architecture will prefer Tallinn to other capitals, eager to plunge into the busy city environment, see crowds walking along the streets and loudly sounding music, head to Riga, wanting to feel as much as possible apart from the Russian language, in a certain language abroad, choose Vilnius. In view of the extreme interest of all three capitals of the Baltic states, it seems most logical not to compare them with each other, but to consider individual Top-5 ratings for the cities of each of the three Baltic republics, separately adding the rating of cities in the Kaliningrad region of Russia.

"Russian" cities

As you know, in each of the Baltic republics cities are preserved, inhabited by representatives of "non-titular" nationalities, in which the number of Estonians / Latvians / Lithuanians is small.

Most of these settlements are the so-called "Russian" cities, it would be more correct to call them Russian-speaking. Their visit is of particular interest to the traveler, I traveled quite a lot. The rating below shows the five cities in the Baltic states in which this Russianness is manifested to the greatest degree, and travelers from Russia / Belarus / Ukraine can in the full sense of the word feel at home there.

These cities are placed in the ranking not only taking into account the percentage of "non-titular" nationalities of the total number of inhabitants. The general view of the city, the amount of Soviet and traditional Russian architecture, prevailing in the streets, train stations and cafes, are also taken into account.

  1. Daugavpils (historical name Dvinsk, Latvia) is the most Russian city of the Baltic States and the entire European Union. Historically, he was Russian from the 2nd floor. 18 century
  2. Sillamäe (Estonia) is a closed military city built in the USSR, in which Estonians were not particularly allowed in those years.
  3. Narva (Estonia) - historically a Russian city from the beginning. 18 century Part of it 20 years ago turned out to be abroad, on the territory of Russia (it is called Ivangorod), and a small bridge in the center of Narva became a border crossing point through which residents are forced to pass in order to get from one part of the city to another.
  4. Visaginas (Lithuania) is a city at a nuclear power plant, which was attended by experts from all over the USSR.
  5. Kohtla-Järve (Estonia) is a mining town that originated in the USSR near oil shale deposits.

Speaking of Russianness, it is worth placing in the mini-ranking then three Baltic capitals.

  1. Riga is the most Russian capital of the Baltic states.
  2. Tallinn.
  3. Vilnius is the least Russian city; in many areas of the city, the Russian language is almost inaudible.


The level of discrimination of national minorities by the governments of the Baltic countries (from larger to smaller)

  1. Latvia - national minorities are deprived of citizenship; they cannot vote either in parliamentary or local elections.
  2. Estonia - national minorities are deprived of citizenship, cannot vote in parliamentary elections, but can in local elections.
  3. Lithuania - all residents have citizenship and the right to vote.

Russian language proficiency

The level of Russian language proficiency by representatives of the "titular" nation in the Baltic countries (from larger to smaller)

  1. Latvia - in the cities most people own, except the youngest.
  2. Lithuania - in cities (in many, but not all), most people own, except the youngest. In Kaunas, it’s more difficult.
  3. Estonia - in the province, many people don’t understand Russian at all, even in Tallinn they don’t understand everything. They speak much worse than in Latvia and Lithuania, with a more noticeable accent and slowly.

Road quality in the Baltic countries (from best to worst)

  1. Estonia - I didn’t notice the broken roads at all (although somewhere, probably, they are)
  2. Lithuania - there are few among the main ones, but there are.
  3. Latvia - almost all roads in pits and potholes, a strong gap down from the other two countries

The number of abandoned / dilapidated houses and industrial enterprises in cities (from the smallest number of devastation to the greatest)

  1. Lithuania
  2. Estonia
  3. Latvia - abandoned buildings are everywhere, even in Riga in almost all areas of the city. The second city of the country Daugavpils in places reminds the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Many other settlements of the country look pretty used.

The amount of garbage on the streets of cities and on highways (from the cleanest country to the less clean)

  1. Estonia - very little garbage
  2. Lithuania - little garbage
  3. Latvia - there is much more garbage than in Estonia, Lithuania, but compared to Russia, Ukraine it is not enough

  1. Estonia is the largest salary in the Baltics and the former USSR (approx. 900 dollars per month net)
  2. Latvia and Lithuania - they receive approximately the same amount, as much as in Russia (approx. 600 dollars per month net), this amount is more than in other republics b. USSR.

  1. Estonia - significantly higher than in the other two republics
  2. Latvia and Lithuania

Baltic sights

In the west, Russia borders on the Baltic countries, which are a kind of gateway to Europe. Unique states such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are spread on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The uniqueness of each of them is based on culture and language.

Lithuania has the longest history of its existence, previously Lithuania was connected with Poland into one state - the Commonwealth. These places attract tourists with their beauty and tranquility.

The capital of Lithuania - Vilnius, the city captivates visitors with its temples, stone houses, Gothic buildings of the Renaissance architecture.

Latvia borders on Lithuania. By the area of ​​all Baltic cities, Riga - the capital of Latvia occupies the largest territory.

Riga is famous for many attractions including: St. Peter's Church, the Residence of the President of Latvia located in the ancient castle of the Livonian Order.

Many historical museums and museums of foreign art will not leave anyone indifferent.

The river flowing in the city is called Daugava, the locals call it the “River of Fate”, as well as dairy products brought from Latvia are known throughout the world.

In the ranking of Baltic cities that are worth visiting - the city of Revel, the current name of the city - Tallinn is always at the top of the list.

The architecture of Tallinn bears the makings of the architecture of ancient Germany, it is not surprising that the city was ruled by German aristocrats for a long time.

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. Estonia is surrounded by the sea, has about 1,500 islands. Saaremaa is an island, the cultural center of Estonia.

The main attraction worth visiting is the bishop's castle. The Baltic countries are worth a visit to anyone who wants to plunge into the atmosphere of “Old Europe”.

Riga, Latvia)

The capital of Latvia is deservedly considered the most beautiful and richest in sights city of the Baltic states. The historical center of Riga is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the city itself is named one of the cultural capitals of all of Europe.

By the way, it is convenient for our compatriots to get to Riga by any means. Not only is Novorizhskoye Highway leading here from Moscow, and trains regularly run from the Riga Station, but also Riga Airport - a base and a major interchange hub for the local low-cost airline AirBaltic. Even if you just fly with a transfer via Riga, you can take a few hours transfer tickets and take a walk to Riga, since the bus from the airport to the city takes only 20 minutes. To understand how to choose the best offer and how to buy the most profitable plane tickets, read our article “How to buy a plane ticket yourself online”.

So, we are a little distracted. Let's talk about Riga itself. What attracts tourists not only from Russia, but also from Central Europe in this city?

We will list the main attractions of Riga. But do not forget that this is only a small part of what can be seen in the city, which is also called "northern Paris". Gingerbread houses in the center, a wide and full-flowing bright blue Daugava River, theaters and cozy parks - all that is needed for a full cultural rest.

Old city

The old city is practically devoid of buildings of the last centuries, and for the most part consists of buildings, whose history goes back more than one century. You can also find houses of the 13th century in Riga (the oldest residential building in Riga is considered one of the three houses named “Three Brothers” located on Maza Pils Street), and later buildings, most of which are made in art style.

The center of the historical part of the city, of course, is the Town Hall Square, which for centuries has served as the main gathering place for citizens, celebrations and important ceremonies. Here is the famous House of the Blackheads, almost the most beautiful building in all of Riga. True, its present appearance is the merit of restaurateurs and builders, as the House of the Blackheads was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War. In addition to him, the Town Hall is located on the Town Hall Square.

Further from Radushnaya Square you can walk to the Dome Square, where the eponymous cathedral is located, or walk along the most “cinematic” and cozy street of the Old Town - Jauniela Street. You can climb to the observation deck of St. Peter's Church or walk to the Freedom Monument and Bastion Hill Park. The old city of Riga is not very big, you can get around it in one day, but at the same time, you will not be tired of studying every nook and cranny of its narrow streets and going to different museums and galleries, taking breaks in the pleasant cafes that we love so much in Europe.

Kadriorg Park

Kadriorg Park and Kadriorg Palace strongly resemble nearby similar ensembles in St. Petersburg. This is not surprising, this palace was donated by Peter Catherine. Today, the palace is open for visitors, it is possible to look not only at the interiors, but also at the exhibited art museum exhibits in Estonia. Entrance to the palace costs 4, 2 euros. It is very small, so plan to visit the palace for an hour or a half. You can get from the center to Kadriorg Park by trams No. 1 and 3 and by buses No. 1A, 5, 8, 19, 29, 34A, 35, 38, 44 and 51.

If you take a walk through Kadriorg park to the embankment, you can see another interesting attraction of Tallinn - the “Mermaid” monument - a majestic bronze sculpture installed at the site of the death of the battleship of the same name ship.

Vilnius (Lithuania)

The state neighboring Lithuania, at first glance, is not much different from it. And we often confuse the names. But there is a difference, and to be convinced of this, it is enough to go to their two capitals - Riga and Vilnius. Vilnius is not so popular with tourists, it is not so restored and not so bright as Riga, but this city also has its advantages and interesting places - do not underestimate it.

In fact, you can select just one day to explore the city - the historical center is not so great. But this does not mean that, having gone there for a few days, you will have nothing to do. By the way, it’s most convenient for car travelers, because Vilnius is almost on the way from Russia to Europe, so you simply have to stop by.

Here is a short list of what may interest a tourist in the capital of Lithuania. And again, this is just a small part of the sights with which the city is actually full.

Kaliningrad (Russia)

Most of all from the Baltic cities during the Second World War, Kaliningrad suffered. It was rebuilt a little bit like Koenigsberg, because that was what it was called before the war, at that time it belonged to Germany. The most unusual city in Russia combines the history of the European state with the culture of the Russian people who now inhabit it.

Despite all the hardships that fell on Kaliningrad, several sights still managed to be preserved. He will be curious to those who are interested in fortifications, the history of war, as well as those who like the sea, nature and wildlife. Here is such a strange combination in a city that precisely combines the incongruous.

In the Kaliningrad region there are several interesting towns that are better preserved than Kaliningrad, for example, Baltiysk, Zelenogradsk or Svetlogorsk. The region is also famous for the Curonian Spit - an amazing natural attraction. But this is not about them. It will be about interesting places in Kaliningrad. Although, if you find yourself there, then do not miss the opportunity to go at least on a braid.


The main pride of the inhabitants of Kaliningrad is, of course, the Cathedral. Its building has survived, even if not in its original form, but as close as possible, because the reconstruction of the church after the war took place, relying on old photographs and drawings.

There is a cathedral on the island of Kant. Find his work is not difficult - it can be seen from almost any part of the city center. By the way, the great philosopher Kant, a native of Koenigsberg, is buried here: if you go around the cathedral from the side, you can see his grave.

The cathedral is now operational, but services are held there only on major religious holidays. The rest of the time the museum is open in the cathedral, and organ concerts are sometimes held in the evenings. The unique fact is that there are already two bodies here, opposite each other.

The museum is located on the upper floors of the cathedral, which can be conditionally divided into several parts: an exposition of numismatics, the history of Koenigsberg, the history of the cathedral itself, an exhibition dedicated to Kant and his life, as well as an old library. Entrance to the museum costs only 150 rubles.

Fish village

Since Kaliningrad cannot boast of many preserved buildings of the pre-war period, the authorities have to rebuild new sights imitating antiquity. This happened with the Fish Village, which is, in fact, the center of the city (it is also quite difficult to distinguish it because of how the development was planned after the war).

From the village there is one name - in fact, the Fish Village is a few houses on the waterfront, next to the island of Kant, and a lighthouse. Everything was built recently, but in comparison with the dull panel houses sticking out on the other side of the river, the Fish Village is not overlooked. The houses have hotels and restaurants, and you can climb the lighthouse - at the top of the observation deck.

Museum of the World Ocean

The huge complex of museums in Kaliningrad operates under the auspices of the Museum of the World Ocean, the most promising and rapidly developing museum in the region. An impressive exposition devoted to the theme of the study of the oceans, including, for example, the world's first bathyscaphe developed in Russia, is collected here. In addition, the museum building has a small oceanarium. The museum is modern, interactive, you need to plan a couple of hours to visit it. Even more, if you want to visit the additional exposition of the museum, namely, drop by a research vessel or a submarine. Well, in addition, you can take a tour or visit one of the thematic events that are held daily in the museum. By the way, it is soon planned to open a new, even larger museum building, in which several more inserts will open.

The main building of the Museum of the World Ocean is located at: Embankment of Peter the Great, house 1. The museum is open every day except Monday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance to the main part of the museum and the aquarium costs 400 rubles, an extra charge is required for visiting ships. A complex ticket for all objects costs 1000 rubles.