Ķemeri Water Tower and the Nature Tourism Centre
A part of Latvia’s industrial heritage, the Ķemeri Water Tower is an architectural monument of national significance and the only water tower in Latvia that combines its main function – the provision of water –with public use.
The revival of Ķemeri after WWI is largely due to doctor Jānis Lībietis (1885–1946), director of Ķemeri sulphur spring healing institution from 1928 to 1944 (with a break during 1940–1941). Thanks to State financial support for the development of the resort, a number of important buildings were erected in Ķemeri during the 1920s and 1930s, which have survived to this day and have been granted the status of a cultural monument. These structures were designed by outstanding Latvian architects.
Among them is the Ķemeri Water Tower: built for the needs of both the healing institution and the residents of Ķemeri, which was granted the status of a town in 1928. In August 1928, a tender for the construction of the water tower was announced, and the well-known Riga contractor Hermanis Liepiņš (1872-1942) started working on the tower in the same year. Early morning on 22 February 1929, a fire broke out in the new 40-metre-high building. It had been a very cold winter; a fire was lit at the bottom of the tower and the heat crawled upwards through the tin pipes. The wooden scaffolding around the tower’s outer and inner walls burned down. Still, construction of the Ķemeri Water Tower, designed by architect Frīdrihs Skujiņš (1890–1957), was completed the same year.
The elegant classical spire serves both as a technical structure and an observation tower. Historically, the tower used to house both mineral water and drinking water, but now it holds only a 300m3 drinking water reservoir. Its upper platform hosts a 42-metre observation deck offering spectacular views of Ķemeri and its neighbourhood.
The viewing platform was a popular tourist attraction from 1930 until 1941, however, after the war, it was used exclusively for water management services.
Improvements made within the project
A tourist information point and an exhibition on the history of Ķemeri is located in the water tower. Both viewing platforms, one on the third floor and one on the roof floor, have been renovated. The water tower is restored to its historical appearance . The historic paintwork of the facade is restored. The balustrade on the roof of the tower is restored. Inter-storey ceilings are constructed . A ramp is installed at the entrance door. An accessible toilet is established on the ground floor.
The multi-functional nature tourism centre nearby, scheduled for completion in 2023, will house a permanent exhibition as well as exhibition spaces for other independant exhibitions. In addition to the infrastructure required for the above, the project includes maintenance of the Ķemeri Forest Park.
Investments – EUR 6,674,343.81
ERDF funding – EUR 1,628,022.13
state budget grant – EUR 80,863.44
municipal funding – EUR 4,747,830.76
The project was implemented by Jūrmala City Council.
Tukuma Street 32, Jūrmala
Water Tower is open to visitors daily from May to October 10:00 – 18:00.
Times for visiting the upper viewing platform must be booked ahead on the website
At other times, a visit to the tower is possible within a guided tour of Ķemeri Park, available by prior arrangement +371 29126551
Free of charge
By private transport, the town’s public transport, by passenger train Rīga–Tukums, get off at the station Ķemeri and continue on foot to the Ķemeri Water Tower.