Situated on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Daugava River in north-central part of Latvia, which is the capital since 1918, Riga is the largest and most populous city of the Baltics, as well as being one of the most important economic, political and cultural region. The city, which currently has just under 750,000 inhabitants, has an ancient history, only partially removed by subsequent bombings at the outbreak of World War II. Thanks also to the important window of 2001, when Riga was named European Capital of Culture along with Basel, the capital of Latvia is now a popular and attractive travel destination, thanks to the liveliness of downtown, and the charm that only the cities of the Baltic Sea may boast.
The foundation of the city dates back to August 18, 1201, the day the German bishop Albrecht von Buxthoeven moved there from Bremen with intent to evangelize and Germanize Livonia, an area once inhabited by pagan peoples. During the thirteenth century Riga enjoyed a period of great splendor, thanks to entry in the Hanseatic League, an alliance of cities that lasted until the early modern period to the members ensuring a monopoly on trade in northern Europe. Between 1621 and 1710 the city passed into the hands of the Swedes, and then finish under the control of Russia, which enhanced the value the port making Riga one of the most important Baltic mooring. Only in 1918, following the dissolution of the Tsarist, Riga became the capital of the newly-born independent Republic of Latvia, a country that in the twentieth century has witnessed the Soviet annexation in 1940, German occupation and the ravages of war between the 1941 and 1944 and the new and final independence in 1991.
Most of the monuments and sights of Riga is located within the city center, known as Vecriga, or “Old Riga”. Here we follow beautiful buildings typical of German architecture dating back to the Hanseatic League, residences Nouveau and Art Nouveau, squares and green spaces, all in a neat and clean streets were typical of Northern Europe. By virtue of the beauty of the buildings that comprise it, in 1997, the center of Riga was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage.
Among the most interesting stands undoubtedly the Castle, dating from the fourteenth century when it was built by the religious order of the Livonian. Currently the facility houses the residence of the President of the Republic of Latvia and is open only partially. Another milestone is the Cathedral of Riga , in Latvia Rigas Doms, the main factory of the Protestant city. The building, built around 1211 by order of Albrecht von Buxthoeven, situated on the banks of the Daugava and is considered one of the finest medieval cathedrals in the Baltics. Always remember to respect the churches of St. Peter’s Church, built in the early thirteenth century and later enlarged in the fifteenth. The current tower was entirely hand made in 1746, when he was the tallest spire in Europe, and is now easily accessible thanks to a lift that allows you to enjoy a spectacular view over the city and harbor.
To fully enjoy the quality and architectural merit of Riga there is nothing better than Three brothers, three buildings with similar features located in the heart of downtown. A short distance away are also the Cat House, one of the most famous Art Nouveau buildings in the city that owes its name to a small cat carved onto the top of the roof, and the House of Blackheads, Melngalvju nams in Latvian, a residence built in the fourteenth century, and enriched with several additions in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Most buildings of Art Nouveau in Riga , however, is outside the old part of downtown, within a well defined area in which he worked mainly on the famous architect Mikhail Eisenstein (1867-1921). Here the buildings have lines and detail typical of the German Jugendstil, the Austrian Secession architecture and Finno-Baltic, helping to create a magical atmosphere that permeates the whole area. The main streets to admire these architectures are Iela Alberta and Elizabetes Iela.
Of considerable thickness are the many museums throughout the city. Among the most important include: the Museum of Photography, a true national institution because of the importance of objects that holds, the Museum of Applied Arts, established in July of 1989, the Museum of History and Navigation, opened in the eighteenth century following the donation by Nicholas Himsel fon of a private collection, and the Occupation Museum, a building that stands in deliberate contrast to the contour of the center, inside which is difficult to give a poignant look at life spent from Riga and Latvia in general.
Two different places together but emblems of the city are the Central Market and the harbor . The first, extended in and around the Zeppelin hangars near the train station, is the ideal place to spend some time browsing around the stalls laden with fruit, fresh vegetables and all kinds of consumption. The port, however, is the symbol of the importance of Riga in the trade. At this point remains to be seen: the National Opera House, which houses every summer the city’s premier event: the Riga Opera Festival, the Freedom Monument, erected in 1935 and one of the main landmarks of the area, and the ‘ Auditorium, where they performed well, various international artists.
The climate is continental with long cold winters and short summers, but mild and pleasant. In January, average temperatures range between -6 and -2 degrees, although the nights are not uncommon in which the mercury drops to 10 degrees below zero. In July, the figures rise to over 20/22 degrees in the maximum values, and 13/14 degrees in the minimum. The best time to visit the capital of Latvia is therefore the summer, when the days are incredibly long invite you to walk until late.
The International Airport of Riga (RIX) is located in Jurmala, even 15 km west of downtown, where to go back and forth at any time of day or night buses and taxis. Given the importance of the port can not miss that ferry, sailing over the icy waters of the Baltic Sea, linking Riga to Stockholm , Kiel and Lübeck . The internal transport are fast and efficient, although the relatively small size of the center invite you to visit Riga on foot.
Originally posted 2012-08-15 11:43:35.