Riga – Pearl of the Baltic
The old Hanseatic city is majestically situated at the mouth of the River Daugava in the Bay of Riga, with the beach quasi on the doorstep.
In its troubled history, the city once belonged to the local bishop, then to the Teutonic Order, to Poland, Lithuania, Sweden and Russia. Riga was the second largest city of Sweden for many years, but for a long time it was also the greatest and most important port city of Russia.
Today, the attractive and lively capital city has a population of around 700,000 and is the economic and cultural center of Latvia, which has been independent again since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Its nearness to the sea gives Riga a humid continental climate and pleasant temperatures in the summer. The rain days are also few. Temperatures can fall below freezing during the months of December to February. Snow is also a part of winter.
Riga has art nouveau buildings of high quality to a worldwide unique extent as well as wonderful wooden architecture from the 19th century. For this reason and others, the city centre was added to the list of world cultural heritage sites back in 1997. Riga was the cultural capital of Europe in 2014. The city, which had joined the Reformation already in 1522, was honoured with the title “Reformation City of Europe” by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe in 2016.
Riga is multicultural and offers something to suit every interest. There are no language barriers – many Latvians speak English.
The Latvian National Opera with ballet, where in part world-famous artists perform, competes with the National Theatre and other well-known theatres, including the Riga Russian Theatre.
A great number of museums tell of the history, from the early settlements to modern times and art in nearly all styles or focus on special topics such as the Riga Motor Museum.
Parks and bodies of water make up more than a third of the city’s surface area. The city’s numerous sights include without a doubt the Petri Church, mentioned in a document as far back as 1209, the Cathedral with the world’s largest organ, built in 1211, St. James Church of 1225, but also the Riga Castle integrated into the town fortress starting in 1330 as well as other relicts of the old town fortification.
Whoever wants to dance and party in the evening, after a day of culture, or simply enjoy a nice glass of wine or beer, Altriga is the place to be. Numerous bars and clubs, live music and top DJs look forward to your visit.
The way to a heart (for Riga) is through the stomach – here also is something for everyone!
The landscape around Riga was shaped by the last Ice Age and boasts of many lakes, creeks and ponds, an attractive recreation area for hiking and cycling. The beaches of Riga border on the city of Jurmala in the northwest. As the only official health resort, Riga has been the preferred place of residence for nobility and moneyed aristocracy since the end of the 19th century. The district of Kemeri offers sulphurous mineral springs and beckons with more than 30 kilometres of white sandy beaches.