Riga Soviet History Tour

Girl with long hair whispering into the ear of a white bust of Lenin

About the Tour

Golden bust of Lenin in a garden in Riga with carnations at the base
Lenin in Riga

Explore the traces left in Riga by the Evil Empire on this fascinating tour!


From 1940 to 1991, Latvia was brutally occupied by the USSR. This left some lasting scars on the landscape, and some bad habits (Latvians are world leaders in drinking). But there were also brave acts of resistance and funny political jokes, and even some delicious foods.


Join the tour for sights, sounds and tastes from back in the USSR!

Buckle up, comrade!

Monument to anti-Soviet freedom fighter Gunārs Astra
Monument to Gunārs Astra

The tour begins in front of the Freedom Monument symbol of Latvia's struggle for independence and the scene of brave anti-Soviet protests. We then walk to the courthouse where anti-communist freedom fighter Gunārs Astra made a defiant speech in 1983.


Former Soviet KGB headquarters building in Riga
The Corner House

Next we stroll to the site of the former Lenin statue and the former Intourist  Hotel Latvija. Then we head to the old KGB headquarters, the dreaded "Corner House," where we go inside the first floor museum.



Academy of Science building in Riga
Stalin's birthday cake

We then travel by car to the former Lenin Museum, followed by VEF Palace of Culture, a model of "Stalinist Barque" architecture. Next we drive to two examples of the Soviet obsession with huge things - the Academy of Science building (aka "Stalin's Birthday Cake) and Riga TV Tower.

Table with Soviet-era delicacies and porcelain crockery
Soviet feast

Then we drive to Zolitūde, a typical communist housing estate to get a feel for how the masses lived. The tour concludes with a visit to an apartment in a typical Soviet building for tea and "proletarian" snacks.



Tour guide Philip Birzulis with 20 guests outside Riga's former KGB headquarters
Tour group outside KGB HQ

The tour is by car driven by the guide. I will meet you at your hotel and also drive you back to the city centre. Maximum of 6 persons per group. Duration: 4 hours. Price: 150 euros for the tour plus 12 euros per person. This includes transport, guiding, Soviet snacks and entry to the Academy of Science viewing platform.

Travellers' comments about the tour

Large porcelain vase with portraits of Stalin, Lenin, Engels and Marx in Riga Porcelain Museum
Comradely vase in Riga Porcelain Museum

"A small group of us on our first visit to Riga had the pleasure of Philips soviet tour , we had such a great time, Philip was informative and friendly and he made the whole experience fun. He was an amazing host and we loved the personal touch of the food and drink at his home, it’s something we’ll never forget."

Denise Tapp, U.K., April 2024


"We cannot recommend the Riga Soviet History Tour with Philip highly enough. This was truly the highlight of our visit to Latvia. Philip's passion, knowledge, and engaging storytelling as he showed us around different sites brought the complex history of Soviet occupation to life. Philip wove together painful history with stories of Latvian resilience, humor, and culture, as well as tidbits of his own personal history, in a way that was captivating and nuanced. Philip himself is a personable, thoughtful, and attentive guide. The visit to the Soviet-era apartment added a warm human touch to conclude the experience. If you're at all interested in Riga's Soviet history, don't hesitate to take this unforgettable tour with Philip. Highly recommended!"


Luigi Acerbi, Italy, March 2024

map of riga soviet history tour

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