Liepāja, Latvia

🇱🇻 Liepāja is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region and the third largest city in the country after Riga and Daugavpils. It is an important ice-free port. In the 19th and early 20th century, it was a favourite place for sea-bathers, with the town boasting a fine park, many pretty gardens and a theatre. Liepāja is however known throughout Latvia as "City where the wind is born", likely because of the constant sea breeze. A song of the same name, "Pilsētā, kurā piedzimst vējš", was composed by Imants Kalniņš and has become the anthem of the city. Its reputation as the windiest city in Latvia was strengthened with the construction of the largest wind farm in the nation (33 Enercon wind turbines) nearby.

The coat of arms of Liepāja was adopted four days after the jurisdiction gained city rights on 18 March 1625. These are described as: "on a silver background, the lion of Courland with a divided tail, who leans upon a linden tree with its forelegs". The flag of Liepāja has the coat of arms in the centre, with red in the top half and green in the bottom.

Economy In the second half of the 20th century under Soviet rule Liepāja became an industrial city and numerous high technology plants were founded, including: 1 Mashzavod (Машзавод, Лиепайский машиностроительный завод) 2 Liepajselmash (Лиепайсельмаш) – 1954 (now Hidrolats) 3 Sarkanais Metalurgs (now Liepājas Metalurgs) 4 SRZ-29 (СРЗ-29, 29-й судоремонтный завод) (now Tosmares kuģu būvētava) 5 LBORF (ЛБОРФ, Лиепайская база Океанрыбфлота) – 1964 6 Bolshevik (Рыболовецкий колхоз "Большевик") – 1949 (now Kursa) 7 Perambulator factory "Liepāja" (Колясочная фабрика "Лиепая") 8 Mixed fodder plant (Лиепайский комбикормовый завод) 9 Sugar plant (Лиепайская сахарная фабрика) 10 Match factory "Baltija" (Russian: Лиепайская спичечная фабрика "Балтия") – 1957 11 Ferro-concrete constructions plant (Лиепайский 5-й завод железобетонных конструкций) – 1959 12 Oil extraction plant (Mаслоэкстракционный завод) 13 SU-426 of BMGS (СУ-426 треста Балтморгидрострой) (now BMGS) 14 Lauma (Лиепайский галантерейный комбинат Лаума) – 1972 15 Linoleum plant 16 Shoes factory.

After the collapse of USSR's centrally planned economy, only some of these plants continue to operate.

Within Latvia Liepāja is well known mostly by coffee brand Liepājas kafija, beer Līvu alus and sugar Liepājas cukurs. In 1997 the Liepaja Special Economic Zone was established for 20 years providing a low tax environment in order to attract foreign investments and facilitate the economic development of Liepāja, but investment growth remained slow due to a shortage of skilled labour force. The main industries in Liepāja are the steel producer Liepājas Metalurgs, building firm UPB and the underwear brand Lauma. The economy of Liepāja relies heavily on its port which accepts a wide range of cargo. The most notable companies working in Liepaja's port are Baltic Transshipment Center, Liepājas Osta LM, Laskana, Astramar and Terrabalt. After joining the European Union in 2004, most of Liepāja companies were faced with strict European rules and terse competition and was forced to stop production or to sell enterprises to European companies. In 2007 Liepājas cukurfabrika and Liepājas sērkociņi closed down; Līvu alus, Liepājas maiznieks and Lauma have been sold to European investors.

Image: MichalPL

Liepāja has a population of over 68,535 people. Liepāja also forms the centre of the wider Kurzeme Region which has a population of over 237,407 people.

Twin Towns – Sister Cities Liepāja is twinned with: 🇸🇪 Nynäshamn, Sweden; 🇵🇱 Elbląg, Poland; 🇺🇸 Bellevue, United States; 🇩🇪 Darmstadt, Germany; 🇧🇾 Gomel, Belarus; 🇱🇹 Klaipėda, Lithuania; 🇵🇱 Gdynia, Poland; 🇳🇴 Årstad, Norway; 🇱🇹 Palanga, Lithuania; 🇸🇪 Helsingborg, Sweden; 🇩🇰 Guldborgsund, Denmark.

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