Love stories from Latvia

Love is one of the most beautiful and contradictory phenomena in the world. It makes some people do desperate things, while others are happy for many years. Some people find it easy to love, some people go through enormous trials for the sake of love. On Valentine's Day, here are six beautiful / terrible / difficult / magical love stories from Latvia.

Love stories from Latvia

Connecting two shores

One of the most romantic love stories is connected with one of the most picturesque towns in Latvia — Sigulda. It began with an ordinary romance: young Aivars fell in love with Genoveva, an employee of the Krimulda sanatorium, and every evening he walked her from one bank of the Gauja River to the other. The road was long and winding — first you had to go down to the river, and then you had to walk up for a long time. 

At some point Aivars saw the cover of the 19th issue of Ogoniok magazine for 1956, which showed a ropeway in the Georgian town of Chiatura. And then the idea struck him: why not build one in Sigulda to make the journey to Krimulda and back easier? He caught fire with this idea and was ready for difficulties on the way to it.

Love stories from Latvia
Aivars with Genoveva
Love stories from Latvia
Love stories from Latvia

Indeed, he had very difficult tests ahead of him: starting with a visit to Chiatura and ending with numerous bureaucratic approvals with Latvian and Moscow officials. But all this could not stop Aivars, because he promised his beloved that one day they would «fly» over Gauja like birds. And he kept his word, although it happened many years later — the Sigulda cable car was officially opened on January 3, 1969.

Letters of youth

The beautiful love story between actress Ausma Kantāne-Ziedone and poet Imants Ziedonis is known to many. They met in the 1960s and never parted until their deaths. Their couple charmed the whole of Latvia with their romanticism and strong love. In 2023, the movie Dzejnieks un Auķis, based on their love letters, was released, which reawakened interest in the relationship between the two creative people. 

Ausma outlived her husband by almost ten years. The actress passed away recently — at the end of May 2022. Some time before her death, she often said that she had finally found the letters of her youth. They are filled with lyricism, enjoyment of life, reverent attitude to the partner and, as is often the case in personal letters, a special vocabulary, the meaning of which is surely understood only by lovers.

Love stories from Latvia
Imants Ziedonis with Ausma Kantāne

Forbidden love

Two loving people decided to live together, get married and have children, but the state condemned their union. This story illustrates how conservative ideas about relationships between people are incompatible with a happy life. 

Arvīds and Alvīne met during an important period for Latvia, when the country was fighting for its independence. Their marriage was blessed by the Lutheran Church in 1920. But the pastor did not know that Arvīds was born in a woman’s body.

Love stories from Latvia
Arvīds with Alvīna

They lived together for several years and had children registered as born in the marriage. Trouble began when the civil registry office in Valka considered the children illegitimate, as they had been informed that Arvīds might have forged documents.

From 1933 to 1936 the couple was brought to several courts. After lengthy proceedings, the Supreme Court ruled that a claim to declare a marriage nonexistent could only be made by a husband or wife. And according to the law, Arvīds and Alvīne were. The story had a happy ending — the two people continued to live in marriage.

Dark waters of the Daugava

Due to unhappy love Latvia lost a beautiful poetess — Austra Skujiņa. She was only 23 years old when she decided to pass away. 

Austra’s childhood and adolescence was spent in poverty. She did well at school and university, but due to constant financial problems, the question of her expulsion arose regularly. Eventually classes had to be abandoned. During this time she was a typist in the accounting department of the Ministry of Agriculture Republic of Latvia and also worked part-time as a model.

Love stories from Latvia

When Austra was 21 years old, she met poet Valdis Grēviņš. But their relationship was not happy — Valdis had another woman he loved. On the night of September 5, 1932, she, standing in front of Old Riga at the edge of the AB dambis, threw herself into the waters of the Daugava. 

The further life of Valdis Grēviņš was unhappy. In 1951 he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in a Gulag colony for anti-Soviet activities. Some time after Stalin’s death he was allowed to return to Latvia, but for many years he was not allowed to publish his works.

Love and a coral castle

This amazing story begins in the Latvian countryside. Edvards Liedskalniņš, young and poor, falls in love with sixteen-year-old Agnese Scuffs. Mīļoto Sešpadsmitgadnieci, or Sweet Sixteen, is what he called his beloved. Nothing is known about their relationship, but the night before their planned wedding, his bride leaves him. It is believed that the engagement was hindered by the girl’s father, who did not receive the promised money from the groom.

Love stories from Latvia
Edvards Liedskalniņš
Love stories from Latvia
Agnese Skuvst

News of the separation prompted Edvards to travel the world. Around 1919, he moves to Florida, the warm climate helping him cope with a progressive form of tuberculosis. And here something very strange happens: instead of living an ordinary life, Edvards begins to build an amazing thing — Rock Gate (better known as Coral Castle). According to him, he single-handedly, under the cover of night, hauled and processed hundreds of tons of limestone. The logical question is why? 

All because of his unrequited love for Agnes. However, we know this story from Edvards, who, as we know, liked to invent mysterious stories. By the way, Billy Idol’s famous song Sweet Sixteen was inspired by this strange love drama.

Fatal road

Love stories from Latvia
Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics with Anna

All Latvian newspapers wrote about this tragedy. The first foreign minister of the independent country, Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics, lived a bright but short life. He died at the age of 38 under ridiculous and even strange circumstances.

His first wife was the beautiful Anna. But after one of the foreign European business trips in their marriage came a difficult period — Meierovics met another woman. It was an energetic social activist Kristīne Bahmane. In February 1924 Zigfrīds divorced Anna and in May married Kristīne. But their relationship did not last long.

At the end of the summer of 1925, the minister decided to visit his new wife, who was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis in a sanatorium on the Gulf of Riga. On the way, Zigfrīds wanted to visit Anna and their children, who lived on a farm in the Tukums region. He asked the driver of the car to turn off onto a secondary road, where Anna and her three children and the son of the farm neighbors got in. Together they drove on, but soon the car hit a large pothole. All but Meierovics managed to jump out of the overturning car. The speed of the movement did not exceed 15 kilometers per hour, but the first foreign minister of Latvia died.

Author : editor nbhd
Date: 13.02.24