Ventspils is a Baltic Sea port (on Venta River) and city in northwestern Latvia. By population (around 40,000) it is ranked country's 6th largest. The port is ice-free during winter.
The town developed around Ventspils Castle - built in 1290 by Livonian Order (Teutonic Order's branch formed in 1237). In early-14th century, the town joined the Hanseatic League (commercial-defensive confederation of market towns in Europe). During the 16th century, the town became a major port and shipbuilding center constructing both warships and trading vessels. For its economy were also important wood-working and the production of metals and amber. The town was destroyed during Polish-Swedish War (1558-1583), and in 1711 a plague killed most of its remaining inhabitants. In 1795, the town became part of the Russian Empire (1721-1917).
Shipbuilding and sea trade were reinstated in late-19th-century, when the port was also modernized and rail-connected to Moscow. By 1913, Ventspils was one of Russia's most profitable seaports and town's population increased to 29,000. In 1939, USSR's Red Army established a military base here. At the port was built an oil pipeline and it became Soviet Union's largest seaport in crude oil export.
City's current economy is based on its seaport, handling mainly cargo ships exporting Russian oil and other mineral resources. The city is served by Ventspils Airport (one of Latvia's all 3 international airports - together with Riga and Rezekne. Ventspils High Technology Park serves companies specializing in IT services and electronics.
In 2019, the cruise port had 3 booked berthings by the Phoenix Reisen ships Albatros and Amadea. For 2020 (June 23) was booked the luxury megayacht Scenic Eclipse (2019-built, owned by Scenic Cruises).
Ventspils cruise terminal
Cruise ships in Port Ventspils are handled at a new passenger terminal with 2-berth capacity.