Despite its 67 km distance from Riga, Bauska region is one of the most visited by tourists. The main tourist attractions are Mezotne Manor, Bauska Castle and
Rundale Palace, which is a marvellous architectural and historical monument. Rundale Palace was designed by and built under the supervision of the outstanding Italian architect Franchesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who designed the Winter Palace and some manors in St. Petersburg. In 1736 the first foundation stone of this baroque palace was laid. Construction was finished by 1740. The first owner of the palace, Ernst Johan Biron, was the Duke of Courland (the previously independant western portion of Latvia), and is remembered for being the favourite lover of the Russian Empress Anna Joanovna. Nothing in Russia happened without Biron’s input. Rundale Palace has 138 premises surrounded by a lovely Baroque park.
Bauska Castle was built in 1443 and was one of the last castles of the Livonian Order. After the Great Northern War, the castle became deserted and local inhabitants secretly began to take bricks from the castle as building material. The walls and one of the towers remained intact over the years, but the remaining four towers have been rebuilt. The fortress ruins and the castle’s central tower viewing platform are open to the public.
Mezotne Manor. This Empire-style manor was built in 1802, and was the property of Princess Charlotte von Lieven, a governess of the Russian Emperor Pavil I. The manor is surrounded by an English park.
When travelling by car from Riga to Bauska, visitors may wish to stop at the fascinating museum of ancient cars and tractors, which is housed in a hangar, located just at Bauska’s outskirts. The exhibits include a ZIS-110 from 1938, a
Chrysler made in 1938, and tractors and war vehicles from 1915.
The annual “International Early Music Festival” takes place at Bauska Castle and Rundale Palace in July.
How to get there
By bus: Buses for Bauska leave every hour from Riga – see the schedule on the bus station link (LV, EN, RU, DE).
Rundale Palace is situated 12 km from Bauska and can be reached by bus leaving every hour, or every hour and half from Bauska.
By car: The drive takes one hour.
Bauska Tourism Information Centre
Ratslaukums 1, Bauska, tel/fax +371 392 37 97