Baltic Cities (Bradt Travel Guide)

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9781841622477: Baltic Cities (Bradt Travel Guide)

This new title from Bradt is an upgrade to the previous Baltic Capitals, recognising the changing nature of tourism and business travel to the region.

The capital cities of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius are still covered in depth with exclusive information on the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad; but the guide now also stretches away from the capital hubs to encompass other attractive cities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that are well-worth a visit in their own right.

 

A full Baltic itinerary, whether independent or tour-lead, can be plotted or followed with the aid of this guide, be it traveling along the peaceful Baltic coastline from Klaipeda to Liepaja, or striking inland to Daugavpils and Tallinn’s second city, Tartu.  Thorough background information on the complex history of the Baltics is one of the many useful features for travellers new to the region.

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About the Author:

Neil Taylor has previously run a tour company specializing in the Baltics, and has been traveling regularly to the Baltics ever since independence enabled them to open to tourism in 1992.  He is author of the Bradt guides to Estonia and Tallinn and divides his time between London and Tallinn.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Amber

Amber is formed from the resin which oozed from pine trees some 30 to 90 million years ago and gradually fossilised. It is found in several parts of the world, but the oldest source, some 40 50 million years old, is in countries around the Baltic Sea, including Latvia. The use of Baltic amber goes back a very long way: amber of Baltic origin has been found in Egyptian tombs from around 3200BC, and Baltic amber was regularly traded in Greek and Roman times. Animal figurines made of amber have also been found in Latvia dating back to the 4th millennium BC. After the Teutonic Order conquered Latvian territory, local people were forbidden to collect it on pain of hanging and only in the 19th century could inhabitants of the coast once again begin amber-working.

Traditionally Latvian folk costumes made use of three items made from amber: beads, brooches and kniepkeni (fastenings for women’s blouses). All of these items, and many others, can be found in shops in Riga. Are they all real natural amber? Definitely not. Unfortunately the only recommended test to establish authenticity is hardly a practical shopping tip: make a solution of water and salt and drop in your amber. Only real amber will float.

Dzintars, the Latvian word for amber, can be seen and heard all over Riga. It is the name of Latvia’s main perfume company, a brand name for a cheese spread, the name of a well-known choir, a children’s dance group, and is also a common first name (Dzintars for men and Dzintra for women).

 

 

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