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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 8, 2013, 1:51 PM
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Riga - Nightsky’s first trip to the Baltics

ABOUT RIGA

Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia and the largest city in the Baltics. It is situated near the Gulf of Riga, close to the Baltic Sea, near the moth of the river Daugava, that flows through the city. The Old Town is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, and the city is famous for its jugend architecture. It is the European Capital of Culture in 2014 (together with Umeå, Sweden). The city was a member of the Hanseatic League in the past.

MY EXPERIENCE

I visited Riga in August 2013 for 2 half days, as part of a trip to the Baltic countries (I visited the Latvian capital Tallinn after (but missed Vilnius unfortunately). The weather was ok, it was sunny and rained the same time the first day, and the second day it was mostly sunny, but in the afternoon a short rain storm swept over the city. The city is very beautiful, especially the Old Town, where you can find tall church towers and squares with open air restaurants and historic buildings. Close to the Old Town is Freedom Square with its high sculpture, the Bastejkalns park with surrounding beautiful buildlings and the beautiful jugend/art nouveau district that I unfortunately didn't have time to visit.

On the other side of River Daugava, that are connected with the old town by cool designed bridges, you can find a few skyscrapers, most of them recently built. On the abandoned Paudagava island the tallest structure in the Baltics, the exceptionally designed Riga TV Tower, is situated.

Riga is similar to Tallinn in many way, but it differs since it doesn't have an intact city wall, and the highrises are more spread out allover the city. It also have more parks in the city center. But just like Tallinn it has wooden houses in the outskirts, and many rundown blocks, large commie block districts and shopping malls.

My hostel, Riga Hostel, was situated opposite the railway station in a nice urban neighbourhood in Central Riga, one of the busiest, not very far from the Old Town.

I also visited Tallinn after Riga.
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Old Posted Oct 8, 2013, 1:51 PM
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OLD TOWN – SOUTH PART:
Town Hall Square, St Peters Church

The Old Town is the heart of Riga, where you can find old well preserved buildings, the castle, restaurants, souvenir shops and tall churches. It is where most tourists go, but actually it is only about 5% of Riga. The Old Town is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and reminds of Tallinn's old town as well as German hansa cities. Many of the most beautiful historic buildings, like St Peter's Church, the Town Hall and House of the Blackheads where either bombed during WWII or destroyed by fires, but have been rebuilt the latter decades after the fall of the Soviet rule. The Town Hall Square is the heart of the Old Town. Riga has some of the world's best examples of jugend style architecture.

TOWN HALL SQUARE (RATSLAUKUMS):


Town Hall Square (Ratslaukums in Latvian) is the heart of the Old Town. Here you find the Town Hall (not in this picture), St Peter's Church (background) and the House of the Blackheads (right).


The Town Hall, from which the square was named after. It was destroyed during the WWII and rebuilt as late as in 2003.


The House of the Blackheads (Strelnieku Idukums). The original building was built between 1580 and 1886 for the Brotherhood of Blackheads in the 14th century, a guild for unmarried German merchants in Riga. The structure was bombed to a ruin in 1941 by the Germans. Not until 1995 the beautiful current building begun construction, and was completed in 1999.


Restoration works on the House of the Blackheads. Looks dangerous!








St Peter's Church, the most famous and tallest church in Riga. It is a Lutheran church that was first mentioned in 1209, and completed in 1746. The spire is 123m tall, one of the tallest in the world. Artillery fire destroyed the tower in 1941, but it was reconstructed in 1976, mostly in Baroque style.




St Peter's Church has an observation tower on top, that can be reached by elevator.










Marstaju iela with the cool Pirma Rock Café with its oversized electric guitar and lamp!













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Last edited by Nightsky; Oct 9, 2013 at 5:13 PM.
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 8, 2013, 6:54 PM
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Beautiful architecture! Lovely city. Thanks for sharing your nice pics of Riga.

Congrats and greetings from Madrid, Spain.
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Old Posted Oct 9, 2013, 5:13 PM
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Beautiful architecture! Lovely city. Thanks for sharing your nice pics of Riga.

Congrats and greetings from Madrid, Spain.
Thanks!
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Old Posted Oct 9, 2013, 5:14 PM
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Tirgonu iela. There is a small square next to this street near Town Hall Square with beautiful historic buildings and a cozy large open-air pub. The strange thing is that the quare has christmas decoration, even in summer!


The decorated christmas tree
















Galerija Centrs, a modern shopping galleria situated right in the Old Town. It incorporates a part of an old buildings. The stores are about the same as in Sweden.


Looking towards Riga TV and Radio Tower, the tallest structure in the Baltics!


Small historic lane between Town Hall Square and Cathedral Square










Town Hall Square by night. More night photos will come later.

See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Riga_Old.html
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Old Posted Oct 9, 2013, 5:36 PM
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Really like the old part of Riga. Very nice!
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Old Posted Oct 10, 2013, 11:03 AM
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OLD TOWN – NORTH PART:
Cathedral, Riga Castle, Riga Dom, St James Barracks, St James Cathedral, Riverfront

OLD TOWN, NORTH PART, OVERVIEW:


Old Town skyline seen from Akmens Bridge. Riga Cathedral and St James Church are the tall church towers to the right.


Riga Castle in the North end of the Old Town. In the front is River Daugava and the ugly highrise to the left is the Ministry of Agriculture.


Old Town seen from Akmens Bridge,St Peter's Church in the middle.

CATHEDRAL SQUARE (DOMA LAUKUMS):


Riga Cathedral (Rigas Doms) is the largest medieval church in the Baltic states and is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Riga. It is the seat of the seat of the Achbishop of Riga. The first structure was completed in 1211, but the current construction was completed in 1776. The church tower is 90m to the spire. It incorporates several differents architecture styles, such as gothic, art noveau, renaissance revival, romanesque and baroque.








Cathedral Square




Our Lady of Sorrows Church


The Anglican Church

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Old Posted Oct 13, 2013, 10:20 PM
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CASTLE SQUARE (PILS LAUKUMS):


Riga Castle (Rigas pils), unfortunately under reconstruction during my visit because of a great fire that broke out in December 2012, that severely damaged important parts of the castle. It is the home of the president of Latvia, and home to several museums. It was founded in 1330 by the Livonian order, but rebuilt in 1515. The square around the castle is called Pils laukums, Castle Square.


Riga Castle in August 2013, about 7 months after the big fire. In 1621 it housed the Swedish administration.






Traffic on Vansu Bridge, next to Riga Castle, along Krisjana Valdemar street.




St James Cathedral (Sveta Jekaba Catedrale) is a tall Roman Catholic cathedral in the Northern end of the Old Town, near the castle. It was completed in 1225 and in 1756 a narrow spire, 86m tall, was added. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.




Police cars outside Latvijas Banka (Bank of Latvia)

ST JACOBS BARRACKS, TORNA IELA:


St James Barracks (Jekaba kazarmas), the long yellow building parallel to Torna iela.


The Swedish Gate (Zviedru Varti) goes through St Jacob's Barracks, from the touristy Tornu iela to the narrow Troksnu iela. The Swedish Gate was ereceted in 1698 as part of the City Wall




St Jacob's Barracks: Rain and sun at the same time!


Powder tower (Pulvera torni), constructed in 1940 for the Latvian War Museum






Troksnu iela, small lane next to Jacob's Barracks


See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Riga_Old2.html
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  #9  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2013, 12:18 PM
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Great pics! Thanks!
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2013, 9:20 PM
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Nice shots, Nightsky. I loved my visit to Riga. It's interesting seeing your shots of summertime since it was the dead of winter when I was there. One thing that stood out to me was the quality and color of the cobblestones. I never heard the story behind them but assume they were quarried from somewhere nearby. They made a perfect combo with the beautiful architecture.
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2013, 10:37 PM
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Thanks! Yes, its really nice with the cobblestones, many cities have removed it, may be because asphalt is easier to walk and ride the bike on.
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2013, 10:42 PM
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FREEDOM SQUARE AND BASTEJKALNS PARK
Freedom Monument, National Opera, Embassies, Vermanes Garden, Orthodox Cathedral

This page is about the area around Freedom Square, just North of the Old Town. Here you can find the imposing Freedom Monument, the beautiful narrow Bastejkalns Park, the National Opera, the parks Vermanes Garden and Esplanade, the beautiful Russian-Orthodox Cathedral as well as many embassies. There are more modern buildings here then in the Old Town, it is more trafficated by trams and the streets are larger.

FREEDOM SQUARE:


Freedom Square with the Freedom Monument (Brīvības piemineklis) and the Radisson Blu Latvjia Hotel. The Freedom Monument was built to honour the soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-20). It was unveiled in 1935 and is 41m tall. During the Soviet rule there were plans to demolish it, but was stopped.


The Freedom Monument consists of a travertine column bearing the copper figure of Liberty lifting three gilded stars.


Radisson Blu Latvjia Hotel is the 5th tallest skyscraper in Riga. It is 95m tall and has 27 floors. It was built in 1976 in Soviet modernism style, but the exterior has been recladded in a more international, postmodern style with more glass in 2001.






The French Embassy, a beautiful art nouveau (jugend) building on Elizabetes iela near Freedom Square.


The German Embassy




Elizabetes iela, East part and an older trolley bus.
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2013, 10:45 PM
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.Your pix are outstanding, the best I have ever seen, of this impressionable city. You were fortunate too have gone too a place I would hope to some day. For what reason did you travel there?..
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2013, 1:09 PM
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.Your pix are outstanding, the best I have ever seen, of this impressionable city. You were fortunate too have gone too a place I would hope to some day. For what reason did you travel there?..
Thanks a lot! I had seen many parts of Europe but never visited the Baltics before, at first I planned to go to just Tallinn, but I added Riga to the trip (would like to see Vilnius as well some day). I was interesting in seeing the combination of old towns and striking modern architecture and the rich history, from the medieval times to the Russian period to today. And I wanted to go somewhere where its not so expensive, I found out that Latvia is still cheap but Estonia not so cheap, except for the beer.

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Old Posted Oct 24, 2013, 2:57 PM
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really enjoying this thread. i hope to visit helsinki-st. petersburg-tallinn sometime soon. i know you can take the ferry from helsinki to tallinn and i hoped to take a ferry from helsinki to peter and a train back (if that works, we'll see). i would love to fit riga and vilnius in, but that might be too much. anyway, for now i am enjoying your baltic tour thanks!
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2013, 10:23 PM
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really enjoying this thread. i hope to visit helsinki-st. petersburg-tallinn sometime soon. i know you can take the ferry from helsinki to tallinn and i hoped to take a ferry from helsinki to peter and a train back (if that works, we'll see). i would love to fit riga and vilnius in, but that might be too much. anyway, for now i am enjoying your baltic tour thanks!
Thanks! Will sure be a nice trip, have never been to Russia or Finland myself though.
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Old Posted Oct 24, 2013, 10:24 PM
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BASTEJKALNS PARK:


Rainbow over Bastejkalns Park and Freedom Monument. This beautiful park is very narrow and separates the Old Town from the area around Freedom Square.




Mr orange!? This odd guy actually said "hi" to me


Small bridge in Bastejkalns park. The park is very beautiful.




Dazzling fountain in Riga Canal, that flows through Bastejkalns park. Greenery was planted here at the first time in 1859.




Canal boats on Riga Canal, Bastejkalns park

See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Riga_Freedom.html
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Old Posted Oct 25, 2013, 1:12 AM
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Beautiful. These Baltic capitals are very impressive. Europe is amazing in the number of impressive cities. So many.
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Old Posted Oct 28, 2013, 10:42 PM
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Thanks!

THE QUARTERS AROUND THE RIGA CANAL AND BASTEJKALNS PARK:


Latvian National Opera. Completed in 1863, designed by the Russian architect Ludwig Bohnstedt in classicist style for the then German speaking City Theatre. A postmodern annex was added in 2001.






Old tram




New tram







ESPLANADE PARK:


Esplanade is a small park just to the Northwest of Freedom Square, only one block from Bastejkalns. Esplanade is mostly know for the Orthodox Cathedral:


The Orthodox Cathedral (Pareizticigo Katedrale), or Nativity Cathedral. It was built in a Neo-Byzantine style 1876-83, a period when Latvia was part of the Russian empire. It is the largest orthodox cathedral in the Baltic countries.





















Vermanes Garden is another park situated close to Freedom Square, opposite Esplanade park. It is the oldest public garden in Riga.

See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Riga_Freedom.html
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2013, 12:19 AM
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Very enjoyable series of pics. Such a lovely city, so historic and well maintained. Thanks for sharing your trip Nightsky.
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