Makeshift graves. Karosta, Latvia. April, 2019.
Karosta (War Port) Is a neighbourhood in the north of Leipaja, Western Latvia, on the Baltic Sea. It was constructed between 1890-1906 as a naval base for the Russian Tsar and served a a base for the Russian Baltic Fleet. The Tsar era buildings include a Russian Orthodox Cathedral, mansions used by Admirals, Palace for the Tsar, abandoned bunkers and storehouses. There are also Soviet era apartment buildings. At it's height Karosta was home to 20,000 people. Karosta was a closed area, an independent town from Leipaja and housed soldiers, their families and civilians working for the military.
When the Russian army left Latvia in 1994 after Latvian independence (September 6th 1991) Karosta became largely uninhabited and most structures fell into ruin and abandoned buildings were looted. In the late 1990s, the area suffered high unemployment, street crime, drug use and was seen as a no go area after dark. In recent times there have however been initiatives by local and international artists to reinvigorate the area.