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Riga, Art Nouveau Capital in Europe

Like its Baltic neighbours, Latvia shares naturally beautiful scenery, cobbled streets and a capital which is bustling with energy and a wonderful Old Town filled with history. The largest city of the Baltics, Riga presents itself as a cultural hub where the architecture alone makes it one reason to visit. Visually, it is a city both interesting and unique with plenty to offer the tourist and architecture enthusiast. With the historical allure of the the Old Town there is little wonder why it is UNESCO world heritage listed.

Within the Walls of Riga’s Old Town

Within the Walls of Riga's Old Town

The capital Riga is undoubtedly one of the most exciting areas in the Baltic region to visit and find more. A mixture of old and new is no more apparent than in the Old Town, with a balance of old, elegant and modern designs in what was once a medieval town. Filled with beautiful Art Nouveau architecture and murals adorning walls of buildings, this is one cultural aspect setting it apart from other cities in the Baltics. Offering sophisticated choices for an evening out or a more casual approach to dining, the Old Town has the best of both worlds being home to some of the city’s best bars and restaurants. For learning about Latvia’s history, the Museum of Occupation is the best place to begin which includes a comprehensive view of the lives of people in an occupied Latvia. Finding somewhere to stay within the Old Town is easy, with plenty of places to choose from in this flourishing capital.

Outside the Old Town

Outside the Old Town

Art Nouveau sightings are still apparent outside the Old Town, particularly in Alberta and Elizabeth streets, with buildings of all kinds adorned with decorative arts an sculptures. Among the elegant mix of baroque, gothic, renaissance and medieval heritage of the city there are beautiful parks, important monuments and the Daugava river showing the modern day Riga as a diverse capital with much to discover.

The State Museum of Fine Arts displays pre-World War Two Russian and Latvian paintings and is a great museum in its Soviet style splendour. Also worth visiting is Riga Central Market, which is one of Europe’s largest markets with a variety of things for sale from music to food, which is particularly excellent good for fresh and cheap produce. This exciting capital with its German, Russian and Swedish influences is a standout in Europe which, so far, is unspoilt in comparison to the herd of tourists that flock to the regions of Western Europe.