Fish smoking in Jūrmala Open-Air Museum.
Jūrmala Open Air Museum visitors on a daily basis can get acquainted with the oldest fundamental activity of inhabitants of this city – fishing history, but during the summer season museum offers informative and entertaining series of events “Thursday – fish day”, which allows to everyone to try our “local taste”.
Up to the 19th century, fishery was the main occupation of the inhabitants of Jūrmala. Fresh smoked fish was casual dish and was delivered to cottagers and sent also to Riga.
Fish smoking is a good way for tourists to get to know the ancient culture and life of the inhabitants of Jūrmala a few centuries ago. Fish smoking days are held in summer every Thursday from 12.00 to 15.00. Everyone is able to watch the fish smoking trade’s educational demonstration, as well as participate in the process of preparing hot-smoked fish and blend with local people.
Fish smoking is a long and complicated process. For a pleasant result it requires not only fish and a smoke box, but also a lot of knowledge and great experience. Fish are caught in local waters, after cleansing they are salted and placed in the smokehouse, where they are assembled on the iron rods and prepared in the heat and a large amount of smoke.
In addition, visitors can try their hand at net patching agility, seaman’s knot tying and rope twisting. Youngest visitors will be able to find out and learn the characteristic pastimes and games of ancient fishermen’s children. Visitors can buy fresh and just smoked fishes. Entrance fee to this event is very symbolic – 1.00 EUR.
In this museum solstices and different festivities are also celebrated, for example “Wine festival in a fisherman’s farmstead” with home wine tasting, the best winemaker honouring, creative workshops, soup cooking and other activities. It allows to keep alive old traditions and ancient crafts.
The Jūrmala Open Air Museum was established in 1970 as a folk museum of fishermen collective farming. Authentic fishermen farms with their characteristic buildings of the 19th to 20th century are located there; they have been brought here for different parts of the city and contain living houses, barns, net sheds, and fish smoking house, baths and several other constructions. A collection of boats, anchors, and the biggest collection of ropes in Latvia can also be found in the museum. Group visitors can book excursions with rope stranding, tying sea knots, and patching nets, and the degustation of smoked fish with participation of Latvian traditional groups. There is a special program for newly married couples. The museum is located in Ragakāpa Nature Park’s territory.
If you want to see the old fish smoking trade displayed such as was in ancient times – welcome to visit Jūrmala Open Air Museum! Feel like a local and taste like a local during the fish smoking process!