Theodore Slate - Aug 24, 2009

A former soviet sanatorium in Latvian seaside resort of Jurmala still manages to lure visitors. Tourists willing to pay may experience a vacation in a facility that was used by the highest-ranking soviet officials in times of the USSR.

Soviet-era architecture is often synonymous for ugly buildings. Nevertheless, some structures lure tourists even nowadays precisely because of this heritage. This is the case of the Amber Coast sanitarium (known in Russian as Yantarny Bereg), which was constructed in the 1970s in the Latvian seaside resort of Jurmala some 35 km from Riga.

Soviet officials, including Leonid Brezhnev, often visited the venue and the old times are still commemorated by a portrait of Lenin on a wall or by a clock with a hammer-and-sickle pendulum. A visitor may experience here the “true” Soviet-era atmosphere.

Despite the sanatorium being some 40 years old it still provides quality services. It is located in the National Park Kemeri. There is pleasant fresh sea air for there is no industrial activity going on in the vicinity of the resort. The sanatorium has private parking as well as sport facilities. The Amber Coast sanatorium also features a conference hall for 40 people and a 264 seats concert hall. There are tennis courts, a gym, swimming pool and sauna.

Visitors may also play volleyball or walk-in beautiful alleys. Except for the healthy air, Jurmala can also offer its mineral water springs and healing mud. At the sanatorium, a visitor may undergo various healing procedures ranging from acupuncture to massages as well as the services of a dentist.

In times of the USSR, Jurmala was the third biggest resort within the country right after Yalta and Sochi. These days there is still a strong Russian influence. After all the Amber Coast was a sanatorium for high ranking Soviet officials and even now the sanatorium still belongs to the Russian president"s office. Plenty of Russians come here during the annual New Wave song contest. Some Latvians are not happy about them coming to their country but they realize the tourists bring money, which is now in the time of crises needed more than ever.



Communist Heritage Sites 


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  1. Why are people so nostalgic about the Soviet era? Did they forget the terror of the communist leaders? I hope none of us will ever forget the atrocities of communist regime - not much different from Hitler really.


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