The town of Kuldiga (Kuldīga or Goldingen) is less than an hours drive west from the town of Sabile. Founded in 1242, this former Hanseatic city is possibly the most photogenic town in Latvia. The charming testimonials of its past are visible at every step, with many centuries-old buildings still standing.
This has made Kuldiga's streets a popular filming location for both local and international films and TV series. The city's name stems from the original Curonian settlement named Kuldinga, which the invading Teutonic crusaders then Germanized and renamed Goldingen. A name that remained until the early 20th century. Even today, one will spot the word "Goldingen" in the name of local restaurants, cafe's and other establishments.
In Town Hall Square (Rātslaukums), where film crews can often be seen filming actors wearing historical costumes, one gets the feeling of having gone back 100 years in time. Only the newer car models parked along he streets, the pedestrians speaking in their cellular phones and a glass terrace jutting out to the cobblestones of the square remind one of the present.
The fact that Kuldiga's Old Town looks like the set of a movie is no accident. Even store signs and shop windows must be presented with a retro look to blend in with the city's historical heritage. Furthermore, Kuldiga has its own restoration center, which is working actively to keep the city's old wooden buildings. Based on well-researched restoration principles, skilled masters not only save, preserve and renew portions of wooden buildings, but also educate local property owners.
Next to the restoration center is the pride of Kuldiga, the Kuldiga District Museum (Pils iela 5). The museum has been set up as a family residence to create an authentically homey ambiance. It's decorated with authentic, ornate wallpaper imported from America.
Aside from its superb depiction of life a century ago, the museum is hosting exhibitions. Nearby, the arched red-brick bridge that spans the River Venta enhances the feeling of being in a peaceful and idyllic setting. Completed in 1874, the bridge was built to accommodate the width of two-horse carriages crossing in opposite directions.