The historical route from Rīga to Liepāja passes through Jelgava, Dobele, Saldus, Skrunda, Durbe and Grobiņa, and it dates back to the 13th century. Remnants of Scandinavian settlements near Grobiņa also testify to the antiquity of the region.
Many things happened on the road and around it that were directly linked to the establishment of the Republic of Latvia and to its subsequent freedom battles. At the Tīreļpurvs swamp, Latvian riflemen demonstrated their battel capabilities and heroism during the so-called Christmas battles, thus proving that a new country had been born. The trails of the swamp are open to visitors, and there is an historical exhibition at the Mangaļi homestead. Rīga is clearly marked along this route by the Latvian National Theatre, where independence was proclaimed in 1918. Later the hostile attack of Bermont’s forces was stopped at the banks of the Daugava, and the superior force was ejected from Rīga and Latvia.
Jelgava is of note not just in this context, but also because of the Academia Petrina, which was established during the age of the Duchy of Courland and Zemgale. That was the period of the Enlightenment, and the school was the first university in the region. It opened its doors in 1775 thanks to Duke Peter. Approximately 70 km from Rīga is the Pikšas museum, which is the birthplace of Latvian President Kārlis Ulmanis and a good example of farming between the two world wars. The museum of Colonel Oskars Kalpaks at Airītes offers a look at battles that occurred in the region and at things that Kalpaks did during World War I and the subsequent liberation battles. There were battles near Skrunda and Saldus, and it was in Liepāja that German General von der Goltz conducted a coup that led Latvia’s temporary government to seek refuge on the ship the Saratov, upon which it sailed to Rīga after the city’s liberation. Liepāja has always been an important port, and once it offered passenger services all the way to New York.