Jelgava – Latvia – with Jānis Joņevs
Jānis Joņevs is considered one Latvia’s most exciting emerging talents and his debut novel Doom 94 will be published by Wrecking Ball in summer 2018, translated by Kaija Strautmanis, and is set in Jelgava.
Jelgava, city of my childhood and adulthood. 4th biggest in Latvia in terms of population, 1st biggest in terms of sad destiny. Once a capital of Duchy of Courland, then destroyed in all wars, rebuilt grey and clumsy. So it could seem. But in nineties we were young guys with our souls burning, and we managed to fill this city with heavy metal, spirits and legends, all of this described in the book. Some traces in the city can still be seen today.
Suddenly the old games were no fun anymore.
The signs we left.
Layers of time. Kreator – thrash metal band of the late eighties. Immortal – black metal band of the nineties. Text in Russian: “Marishka, I’d die without you!”, added in 2000s.
The landscape of Jelgava itself ….
The ancient residence of the Dukes of Courland. Cagliostro, Casanova and Louis XVIII of France visited these stunning buildings.
“Ms Anna, the palace custodian and long-term resident, had once told me in confidence that the place was full of ghosts. “
On the other side gigs were taking place. Some of us walked across the bridge, some swam across the channel.
This is the bridge what eighty-four escaped prisoners took to enter Jelgava, interrupting the reflections of the main character and the life of all honest citizens.
“A large group of people was approaching. The dark shadows drew closer quietly and quickly, eventually turning into young and middle-aged men, their heads shaved. “
On the left hotel “Jelgava” is welcoming you.
Metalheads of Jelgava were noble people. This was our club in nineties. The building is called Villa Medem, once another residence of the dukes.
The tower seen through the trees is Academia Petrina, the oldest higher educational establishment in Latvia.
Crossroads where the main character met the black man who tuned his guitar.
“.. it really was freezing, unnaturally freezing, and maybe that cold light wasn’t from the TV in the nearby house, but from the moon. “
Balcony (second from the ground) where from the mains character took a jump on a black winter’s day. “I looked down into the abyss. (..) The music playing was still very appropriate for the moment. I jumped. “
The only surviving old town quarter. The sign says “Danger”, but it’s not dangerous here.
The city of Jelgava is now largely renewed and modernized. It has a beautiful side despite what the photos show above. I just wanted to show you the other one. Whatever it looks like, it’s the best place in the world for me.
What a fascinating photo journey into Latvia’s history!
BookTrail Boarding Pass: Jelgava 94/Doom
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