Welcome to Daugavpils
Latvia's second-largest city is actually so small you can see the surrounding countryside from any of its several vantage points, along with the Daugava River upon which it stands. Predominantly Russian-speaking, Daugavpils has the undeserved reputation of a grim Soviet Gotham City – mostly among Latvians who have never been to it. In reality, it has a fairly well-preserved historical centre and a mighty fortress, reminding of the times when it was a provincial Russian imperial town with a thriving Jewish community. It even has a bit of a cosmopolitan vibe now it is re-inventing itself as an important centre of Russian-language studies in the EU. The city's greatest celebrity, Mark Rothko, went across the ocean to become one of America's most notable 20th-century artists. Bearing his name is the new contemporary art centre, one of the country's best.