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 Russian language immersions. Daugavpils is a unique place – a Russian-language enclave, the largest Russian-speaking city in the European Union and NATO.

  • Daugavpils is a home to 80 thousand people;
  • In Daugavpils, nearly everyone speaks standard modern Russian as their native or primary language;
  • Russian is the language of everyday communication.

Daugavpils was founded in 1275 (at the time, it was known as Dünaburg). 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 and an important military, railroad, and industrial center.

From its turbulent history, the Daugavpils region has inherited a remarkable ethnic, confessional, and cultural diversity. This small territory has been a home for different communities – Russian, Latvian, Latgalian, Jewish, Polish, Belarusian, and Roma.

Daugavpils was once part of both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The city has a remarkable historical legacy tied to Russia and Russian-European relations. The city provides an environment and atmosphere that is comparable to various Russian cities. Students studying in Daugavpils will develop a better understanding of Russian culture, traditions, and lifestyle.

Interesting facts about Daugavpils


Daugavpils has changed names several times

Dünaburg (1275), Borisoglebsk (1656-1667), Dinaburg (1667–1893), Dvinsk (1893-1920), Daugavpils (since 1920).
Old Believers in Daugavpils

Russian Old Believers

Daugavpils has more Russian Old Believer churches than any other city in the world.
Daugavpils Fortress. The History of the Fortress

Dinaburg Fortress

Dinaburg Fortress is a unique architectural and cultural historical monument with an area of more than 150 hectares. Built in the middle of the 19th century, Dinaburg Fortress is the last bastion-type fortifications in the world.

Church Hill

Every traveler, who wants to get acquainted with Daugavpils, definitely has to visit the Church hill with churches of four different Christian confessions.
Stephen Báthory

Town rights

In 1582, Dünaburg was granted Magdeburg town rights by the Polish King Stephen Báthory.

Population in the 19th century

According to the general census of the population of the Russian Empire in 1897, Dvinsk was the 25th largest city of the Russian Empire.

Daugavpils Theatre

The theatre offers plays and shows in Russian, Latvian, Latgalian, and English.


Speedway motorbike races is the top international sport in Daugavpils.


Daugavpils is not a maritime city – the Baltic Sea is more than 200 km away. However, the city hosts a large colony of three types of gulls. That is why seagull is one of the most widely used symbols of Daugavpils.

Daugavpils Gallery