The Stunning Main Port of Riga - Latvia
Capital of Latvia and the largest city of the Baltic Republics, Riga has long been a center of commerce and culture. Founded in the 13th century, the city rose to prominence as a member of the Hanseatic League, the great German-Baltic trading consortium that dominated Northern Europe during the Middle Ages. In the long struggle for Latvian independence, Riga has been ruled by Germans, Swedes and Russians. Today this "Little Paris of the Baltic" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its architecture including one of the finest collections of Art Nouveau buildings in Northern Europe.
The city's German heritage contributed to the city's rich architecture. Riga's Art Nouveau buildings are outstanding examples of the German style known as Jugendstil.
Points of Interest
- Old Riga
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town of Riga was founded in the early 13th century and is a wonderland of medieval culture and Art Noveau architecture, from Riga Castle to the Dome Cathedral.
- Ethnographic Open-Air Museum
Immerse yourself in Latvian culture at this living history museum, where costumed villagers share their traditional celebrations and crafts such as jewelry-making and ice-fishing.
With nearly 20 miles of white-sand beaches flanked by historic wooden homes, this Latvian resort town also boasts Northern Europe's largest water park.
- Big Choral Synagogue
Burned to the ground with more than 300 Jews trapped inside during the German occupation of Riga, a poignant memorial is all that stands near the once magnificent synagogue's brick foundation today.
- Dome Cathedral
Dominating Riga's Old Town cityscape are the tower and spire of this centuries-old cathedral, perhaps best known for its colossal organ, which is comprised of over 6,800 pipes.
- Riga Castle
Overlooking the River Daugava, this white-washed 14th-century castle was once occupied by Lithuanians, followed by Poles, Swedes and Russians, though it now accommodates the President of Latvia.
- "Bikur Holim," the Jewish Hospital
Sponsored by benefactors across the globe, this historic hospital's bronze doors have been open almost 90 years, providing free medical services to hundreds of people in need.
The charming Old Town of this Lithuanian capital is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring beautiful medieval, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, brilliantly designed churches and castle ruins.