Информация Everything you might want to know about Riga! Your official guide, advisor and friend.     Welcome to Riga, city of inspiration by the Baltic sea

The first, indelible impression that most visitors get of the Latvian capital is its majestic skyline, a s viewed from the left bank of the Daugava River. The slender Gothic spires of the Old Town’s many churches attest to the city’s long history, which stretches back to the 13th century. The panorama’s pleasing harmony is just the most visible indication of the superb aesthetic sense that has shaped much of the city’s architecture up to the present day.

Nowhere is that aesthetic more pronounced than in Centrs, the central part of Riga, which is the city’s economic, financial, and cultural core, as well as a UNESCO- designated World Heritage Site. One will find a breathtaking range of architectural styles in the historic centre – from Baroque to Classicism, from Renaissance to Art Deco, from Romanesque to National
Romanticism. Furthermore, Riga’s wealth of Jugendstil or Art Nouveau buildings, complete with their fantastically ornate flourishes, stands out as unparalleled anywhere in the world. Yet equally unique are the many 19th century wooden buildings that have proudly withstood the pressures of commercialization and gentrification, retaining their place in Riga’s architectural cornucopia and currently undergoing state- of-the-art facelifts.

But Riga is much more than just its history. Proud of its heritage, it is a thoroughly modern city with a highly developed infrastructure and opportunities for a variety of activities and entertainment. A city with rich musical traditions, today it boasts an excellent opera, several world- class choirs and outstanding classical orchestras, not to mention jazz, rock, and Riga’s skyline blues ensembles, plus a variety of other popular music bands performing in both concert halls and clubs.

At the vanguard of dramatic art not only locally but on the European scale, the New Riga Theatre has much to offer to locals and visitors alike. Riga’s museums are definitely not dusty repositories of the past, but are instead putting an increasing emphasis on interactive displays and modern technologies, while the many art galleries compete with each other in trying to predict the trends of the future. Add to that the varied shopping venues and myriad cafés, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, and you get Riga in all its lively variety.

What has always been central to the energy of the city, however, is its people. Located by an important waterway, the Daugava River, which connects the city to the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea and thus to far-off lands, Riga has always been a transportation hub and a crossroads, where different cultures meet and intersect. Among its more than 700 000 inhabitants there are Latvians, Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, and other ethnic groups. All have left and are still leaving their mark on the customs, cuisine, and the very appearance of Riga. While the city’s relatively compact, urban space is ethnically mixed, it features many distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique history and landmarks.

Among Riga’s many treasures are its beautiful, well-tended gardens and parks, which occupies a substantial portion of the city’s territory. In fact, there are several good-sized forests within the city limits, where the locals love to take Sunday strolls, jog, watch birds, pick mushrooms in the autumn, and go skiing in the winter. In the spring, when the city’s many orchards are in bloom, white petals can be seen drifting through the air; then come the purples and pinks of lilacs, which are particularly spectacular along the crooked, dreamy side-streets of Pārdaugava, on the left bank of the river, to be followed in late June by the pale honey of blossoming lindens that line Riga’s stately boulevards.