Special feature Latvia: The Karaites from Trakai
Trakai, is in Lithuania. A small town 19 miles from Vilnius the capital. Surrounded by forests and freshwater. In summer, you can fish here, rent boats. You can admire the pretty houses here, their painted wood panels and their corrugated iron roofs. Fishermen's homes? We are in the middle of the country. Closer to Belarus and to Poland than the Baltic coast. A local curiosity? Indeed. Neatly looked after and classified, because they are unique. Architecturally, culturally and gastronomically. At first, a 14th century Lithuanian king, Vytautas, fighting in eastern Europe right out to the Black Sea. Victorious, he returned to Lithuania with Karaite prisoners, a population from Turkey and installed in Crimea. Trakai is then Vytautas' capital. The Karaites obtained from the king the right to conserve their religion and customs. And it is still the case today, and you can therefore taste their middle-eastern cuisine in the Karaite restaurants located at the heart of the colourful neighbourhood. For example at the Karaimu, that is also a B&B (www.karaimai.lt).
Art Nouveau baths in Latvia.
Saaremaa, the mill island