Riga (Latvian: Rīga) is the beautiful capital of Latvia, the largest metropolis of the Baltic states, and one of the business, political and cultural centers of the region.
Five interesting facts about Riga:
- In 1510, the world’s first Christmas tree was installed in the city. Later, this tradition spread to many countries.
- One of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, still operating, is located in Riga.
- Here is the only Museum of the Sun in the world.
- With a height of 368.5 m (1,209 ft), Riga Radio and TV Tower is the third tallest tower in Europe (after Ostankino Tower in Moscow, Russia, and the Kyiv TV Tower in Ukraine.
- The coldest temperature recorded in Riga is –34.9 °C (–30.82 °F) and the warmest temperature ever recorded is +34.5 °C (94.1 °F).
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Riga Tours & Activities
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History of Riga
Riga was founded as a port and merchant trading city by Albert von Buxthoeven, a German clergyman, at the very beginning of the 13th century. At this time, the Germans were actively exploring the Baltic lands, creating new colonies, one of which was Riga. Later, between 1621 and 1709, the city was under Swedish rule, and from 1710 until 1918 it was part of the Russian Empire.
Riga was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the capital of the Latvian SSR in 1944. After the restoration of Latvia’s independence, in 1991, it became the capital of the Republic of Latvia. In 2014, the city was the European Capital of Culture, together with Umea, Sweden.
Art Nouveau Architecture
The historical center of Riga is included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List and notable for its Art Nouveau architecture. According to UNESCO, the city has the finest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in the world.
Art Nouveau gained popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This style was distinguished by the rejection of old traditions in architecture and the intention to bring something new and beautiful to it. Most of the best known Art Nouveau buildings of Riga were designed by the Russian architect Mikhail Eisenstein.
Riga is known as “the Pearl of the Baltic States“. With a long history and rich cultural heritage, this city has always something to offer even for those who have visited it many times. Here, perhaps, is the most unusual architectural cocktail in Northern Europe: from medieval churches, masterpieces of Art Nouveau, to Socialist realist architecture and present-day high-rise buildings.