Daugavpils, Latvia: unique cultural environment for Russian immersions

Daugavpils is situated in Latvia, a small country on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Daugavpils is the second largest city in Latvia and the perfect location for a Russian language immersion in the European Union.


Daugavpils is a multinational city:

  • Home to 96, 000 people – the second largest city in Latvia;
  • Nearly everyone speaks standard modern Russian as their native or primary language;
  • Russian is the language of everyday communication.

This is a unique place – a Russian-language enclave, the most Russian city in the European Union.

Daugavpils was founded in 1275 (at the time, it was known as Dinaburg). In the 17th century, Russian Old Believers, who had broken with Russian Orthodox, started to settle in the region in order to worship according to their ancient traditions. In the 18th century Daugavpils became part of the Russian Empire.

From its turbulent history, the Daugavpils region has inherited a remarkable ethnic, confessional, and cultural diversity. This small territory is a home for different communities – Russian, Latvian, Latgalian, Jewish, Polish, Belorussian, Roma – where they have been living and cooperating for centuries.

Travel Information

Recommended International Airport Riga (RIX)
Alternative International Airport Vilnius (VNO)

Flight time to Riga from:

Berlin, Oslo, Stockholm, Warsaw less than 2hrs
Brussels, London, Paris, Rome, Vienna less than 3hrs
Bus or train ride from Riga to Daugavpils 3hrs 40min

Fun Facts about Daugavpils:

  • Daugavpils has changed names several times throughout its history: Dinaburg (1275), Borisoglebsk (1656-1667), Dvinsk (1893-1920), Daugavpils (since 1918).
  • Daugavpils has the largest number of Russian Old Believer churches  in the world.
  • Daugavpils is the birthplace of the famous painter Mark Rothko, the national Latvian poet Janis Rainis, and actor Solomon Mihoels.
  • Daugavpils Fortress – the only unrestored 19th-century Eastern European fortress.

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