After the cruise to the beautiful city Tallinn, there was another Baltic capital to be visited: Riga in Latvia. Compared to Tallinn, the time on land was even shorter: only 7h to see the entire city. But this time we were well prepared and with help of our Latvian friends we could see most parts of the city.
From the port in the north-west of the city we passed through many of the city’s parks to arrive at the monument of freedom. The obelisk with Latvia’s very own statue of liberty on top symbolizes the independence of Latvia from the many countries, that over the course of time, occupied the country. The statue is holding three stars representing the constitutional districts of Latvia: Vidzeme, Latgale and Courland.
With 700.000 inhabitants, Riga is the largest city in the Baltics and accommodates one third of Latvia’s population. Its city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known for its beautiful Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) architecture. Thus, just wandering around the old town let’s you discover both old and new buildings with a very interesting architecture after every corner.
After seeing many churches and Riga’s castle (the latter honestly looked a bit decayed), we were hungry and went to a restaurant. Entering the doors of Rozengrāls brings you to down into a dark basement lit by candles and into another time. The restaurant close to the cathedral serves traditional Latvian food in a truly authentic medieval atmosphere.
One of the highlights in Riga was the St. Peter’s Curch. After the church’s tower was destroyed in 1941 it was rebuilt more than 30 years later with an elevator inside. Hence, today it is possible to access the 120 m high tower and have a great view at the old town of Riga and its surroundings (see cover picture).
The next time I will visit Riga, I will definitely visit the Jugendstil buildings also from the inside, and one of the museums might also be worth a try. However, for this time, we managed once again to visit a city in a nutshell.