The bustle of boats in its harbor and the random mix of stone, this vibrant port city of Riga was established in 1201 by Albert of Bremen, with its geographical location that makes this historic Baltic seaport as important part of trading cities and let Riga had enjoyed rapid economic growth, before the tragic period of World War I. Riga as the capital that always continually inhabited city in Latvia and be one of oldest-city in the country, it sits on the Gulf of Riga in the mouth of the Daugava river where it meets the Baltic Sea and is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The Riga city make up with one-third of the population of Latvia be the largest city in Latvia, meanwhile it also the biggest metropolis in the three Baltic states, Riga as perfectly more than blends timeless tradition and highly urbanised architecture of European modernity.
During its tumultuous medieval past, having fought off many civilisations who tried to take control of it, Latvia’s history it has been captured by the German, Kingdom of Sweden, but the most significant that an invasion by Peter the Great of Russia in 1710 and cemented Russian influence on the city. Today, it is considered the Riga’s port facilitates, used by large boats and giant cruise ships that export and transit trade from Russia and Belarus to European ports and beyond; a daily ferry carries passengers and cars to Stockholm. The Via Baltica highway is a major trucking route to Tallinn, Kaunas, and Warsaw.
Latvia was part of many empires throughout history, each of which has left its mark on the Riga city. Even through World War II, devastating fire engulfed the part of the town, the tragedy was redeemed by the combination of an economic and architectural movement that was sweeping across Latvian, it were filled not with the excessive flourishes of late Art Nouveau, but the early movement of graceful architectural with authentic Latvia traditions and rural mythology. As a city full of numerous art nouveau treasures, the combination of 19th century wooden architecture and art nouveau architecture noted for its Jugendstil architecture that make as Riga own distinguishing feature, and the outstanding buildings of the era are found over a third of the buildings.
When the wealth of Riga had grown rich in the 19th century, the led to requests for extravagant new residences, the Art nouveau movement’s golden age coincided with the city’s rapid economic growth. All of the old buildings were renovated to represent the beautiful Art Nouveau style which gave the capital of Riga a very unique setting. Along the city with being among the over 700 art nouveau buildings, it’s more than any other European city and the medieval architecture is original, on whose banks the city stretches so picturesquely. The city’s architecture represents various periods – Romanticism, Gothic, Baroque, Classicism, and Modernism. Although over the last 100 years the demolition of art nouveau structures has been ruthless, but Riga cities have managed to preserve the style as part of their dominant architectural heritage.
Head to the Alberta iela, one of the main streets that has rows of Jugendstil houses, here you can admire the beautifully preserved Art Nouveau row houses and look up to take in the colorful facades, intricate stonework and unusual gargoyles. Stroll around the surrounding streets, one of the densest clusters of architecture of Art Nouveau style in the world, and pop in to the Art Nouveau Museum to see examples of residential interiors from the era. The area around near railroad lines, they are interspersed with industrial plants from different eras, including some from the Imperial Russian era. The Germans’ position as continued through the Imperial period of Riga, visible in some of the architecture of the city. One of the representatives is the “National Opera” (National Opera), first built as the Riga German Theatre in 1863 that were renovated in the 1990s.
Old Town (Vecrīga):
You also can same as us go to the Old Town (Vecrīga) as the oldest section of Riga also is the center of the city that has highly diverse architecture, and the majority of buildings have the status of a cultural monument. Although it’s really a city, Old Town beautifully preserved medieval is a town of its own cosseted inside its town is with its narrow cobblestone streets, colorful squares and Medieval-era buildings, and around caught in the curve of the river Daugava. The old town attract us to explore once we enter, this preserved medieval town is full of charm and character, tiny picturesque town that look like they are straight out of a fairy tale dot the area. Mostly of colourful architecture and wood houses, famous for its well-preserved heritage buildings and many elaborate facades in the Jugendstil artistic style, they are linked by a maze of cobblestone streets that seem to be coming incredibly charming.
Old Town is great to explore on foot. Let us relaxing walk along the quaint cobbled streets and feature an urban complex of diverse architecture. The blend of Romanticism, Gothic, Baroque, Classicism, and Modernism architecture let makes it easy to imagine those bygone days. Along with the atmospheric old stone streets and companionable little squares, you’ll find the two main clusters of historic sites lie just a few blocks from each other – which contains the striking 13th-century House of Blackheads, the Town Hall (built in 2003 as a down-to-the-last-detail copy of the 17th-century original). Besides, Riga cathedral is the largest medieval church in the Baltics and the oldest in the country that is very well preserved. It gives us that ancient look that you can only find in some cities and towns in the Old Continent. Visit the one of the many art galleries or history museums in the Old Town, with its own story to tell you. This is only a small part of this fairy-tale town but strolling its streets, you will discover many other hidden places.
In geographic area, Riga is not a small city – it’s just that everything is so close! So Old Town is a better place to savor local life and see its several attractions without lines, complex of numerous different type shop that let us have wandered it for hours browsing and will be tempted to stop at each shops. Sit in a cozy cafe and enjoy a coffee, people watch, have a pastry, listen to the great sound of seagulls and marvel at the sheer beauty of the town. Beside, party in one of the much music clubs and enjoy Riga Black Balsam, Latvia’s national drink. You’ll love it! Wander around the Skarnu Street and visit one of the arts and crafts houses or souvenir stalls, where it is also possible to learn about the city’s rich trade history. In Old Town, enjoy a meal in taverns or hidden restaurants that selling with local, authentic and international dishes, amazing food on every corner. This area around the nearby Freedom Monument, which do double duty as the setting of Riga’s foremost historic sites and the center of its burgeoning nightlife.
With this unique of architecture well preserved and cobblestone streets, that is a mash-up of Medieval and fairy tale vibe of Riga that brings us back to the Middle Ages which is perfectly accented by its amazing food and wine. Old Town is a fairy tale town that you can wander around for hours, falling more in love with it by the minute.
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