Zaķusala (Hare Island in Latvian) is the land strip washed up by Daugava river in the very middle of Riga. Till the beginning of the 20th century, Zaķusala island was split into smaller islands, two of them were densely populated. There were a lot households, shops, warehouses and even an hotel.
The name of the Zaķusala island comes from the population of hares which can be found here. Apparently, foxes can be found as well.
Nowadays Zakusala is home for Radio and TV facilities like TV Tower (by the way it’s the tallest building in the European Union) and a large TV Center, one of few Riga skyscrapers.
Interestingly enough, half of the island is closed to random visitors by a high fence secured by CCTVs, therefore it was a secret territory for me for many years until I discovered kayaking for myself and landed here. Wild grass, high trees and some ruins of houses, that’s all what is left here, on the forbidden territory of Zaķusala. Now whenever I do kayak along Daugava river with family or friends, we always have a picnic here because of how remote it is even though it’s still in the middle of Riga.
By the way in winter it is possible to also get here by walking on the frozen ice of Daugava river.