Jurmala Beach, Latvia; By Andrew Cooper

Posted In Beach of the Month, Features
Jan
1

By Andrew Cooper, University of Ulster

Situated on the Baltic Sea coast of Latvia, Jurmala Beach runs unbroken for over 30km along the Gulf of Riga. It forms a coastal barrier behind which the Lielupe River flows into the sea. The beach is about 100m wide, with about 50m being dry sand and 50m intertidal wet sand. There are well developed offshore bars along the whole length of the beach.

On the dry beach, small clumps of dune grass form embryo dunes, but the beach is backed by a distinctive 10m-high sand dune covered with a forest of small trees. This gives way landward to a flat coastal plain that is also forested. The beach is frozen and snow-covered in winter but in summer is a popular bathing area.

In addition to its beautiful sand beaches Jurmala has natural springs and mud from the adjacent river apparently has beneficial properties. The area was thus recognised as a popular spa resort since at least the 18th Century. It is easily reached from Riga by train. In addition to Latvian visitors, it is the closest beach for a large part of southwest Russia and Belarus. Russian soldiers recuperated there during the Napoleonic Wars and Tsars and Kings holidayed there as did Soviet Dictators.

The spectacular beach is well known for its powdery golden sands and a variety of curious ripples and bars are formed by the Baltic waves.
—Andrew Cooper

Since Latvia regained its independence in 1991 and joined the European Union, the resort has continued to be popular with Latvians and foreign visitors.

The spectacular beach is well known for its powdery golden sands and a variety of curious ripples and bars are formed by the Baltic waves. In addition, there are abundant trails of many creatures that live in the beach. Part of the beach has a Blue Flag award, identifying clean water and beach facilities and it is crowded with holidaymakers in the summer. Even in winter, however, dozens of beach walkers can be seen with thick coast and hats.

There are many hotels and dachas (holiday houses) of various styles and ages. Houses range from wooden shacks to small palaces, while several hotels originated and continue to exist as spas. Fortunately most of this development has taken place behind the coastal dune, so that the beach has not been blighted with sea defences. The dune forest extends right to the beach creating a wonderful natural vista along much of the beach.

Seawalls have been built in front of the few hotels that are built on the dune, but most of the beach infrastructure (pathways, shops, restaurants) is assembled in the summer and dismantled in the winter which avoids the need for defences.

It is to be hoped that as the resort continues to develop, these sustainable approaches to managing a beach resort will be continued and the temptation and pressure for development on the frontal dune can be resisted.

Tags:

More / Beach Of The Month

The end of the world’s most famous beaches; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper

August 1st, 2017

All over the world there are beaches lined with condos, hotels, restaurants and the like, in high-rise buildings (i.e., skyscrapers). Such beaches are generally the nation’s premier tourist areas, important to the local people and the local economy and prime spots for national and international vacationers. The powers that be in most of these places continue high-rise construction and seem oblivious of the sea level rise.

Read More

The natural bridges of Santa Cruz County; By Gary Griggs

June 1st, 2017

While most coastlines often appear to be stable and permanent over the short time span of our visits, and some are, there are many others where the materials making up the coastal bluffs or cliffs are no match for the forces the sea exerts…Over time, the ocean always wins. In baseball terms, Mother Nature always bats last.

Read More

Sandbagging at the Shore: North Carolina’s Coastal Sand Bags and Political Sandbaggers; By William Neal, Orrin Pilkey & Norma Longo

April 1st, 2017

The wonder of modern English is how social use of language expands and changes the meaning of words. Sand bag is a bag filled with sand used for temporary construction—quickly made, easily transported, and easily removed. Typically, sandbagging is the emplacement of sand bags to construct a temporary protective wall or barrier, such as a dike or dam to hold back flood waters , or protection on the battlefield. But the term ‘sandbagging’ has taken on an array of other meanings…

Read More

Englands’ Jurassic Coast; By Gary Griggs

February 1st, 2017

In 2001, ninety-six miles of the south coast of England along the English Channel was designated as a World Heritage Site. This picturesque stretch of cliffs and beaches extends from Exmouth on the east to Studland Bay on the west.

Read More

Beach cusps: shoreline symmetry; By Gary Griggs

December 1st, 2016

There are many strikingly regular patterns in nature that have long intrigued scientists and non-scientists alike. Beach cusps are one of these.

Read More

Presque Isle Lake Erie, Pennsylvania; by Orrin H. Pilkey & Norma Longo, Nicholas School of the Environment Duke University

November 1st, 2016

Presque Isle in Lake Erie (one of the U.S. Great Lakes), Pennsylvania, is a recurved sand spit with seven miles of shoreline facing the open lake. As many as 4 million visitors enjoy this beautiful state park each year, in all seasons, for a variety of activities that include hiking, bird watching, skiing, and fun at the beaches.

Read More

Bowling Ball Beach, Mendocino Coast, California; By Gary Griggs

September 1st, 2016

California has over 300 miles of beaches, those that most residents and visitors think about are the ones consisting of find-grained white sand. But there are also some interesting anomalies. One of California’s strangest beaches sits 30 miles south of the picturesque north coast town of Mendocino…

Read More

Pongara Beach, Gabon; By Andrew G. Cooper & Orrin H. Pilkey

August 1st, 2016

Gabon is on the equatorial coast of West Africa between the Congo and Niger deltas, surrounded by Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon to the north and Congo to the south and east. Gabon has a long, sandy coast backed in most cases by a dense tropical rainforest. Elephants, buffalos, various antelopes, monkeys, pythons and even leopards leave their trails on the beach.

Read More

Archive / Beach Of The Month