Izbaudi Rīgu

The Old Town

The Old Town is the oldest section of Riga as well as the center of the city. It is the city’s most popular area with tourists. In 1997, Riga's historic center was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Old Town has highly diverse architecture, and the majority of buildings have the status of a cultural monument. The city's architecture represents various periods - Romanticism, Gothic, Baroque, Classicism, and Modernism. After the restoration of the independence of Latvia, many buildings in the Old Town were reconstructed or rebuilt to restore the historic look of the area.

The most impressive buildings in the Old Town are the Riga Cathedral and St. Peter's Church, offering a wonderful panoramic view on the city of Riga from a 72 meter observational tower.

The Old Town's streets and squares have numerous restaurants and cafes for all tastes.

Tours

Places to see

Albert Square

Albert Square is one of the oldest inhabited areas of Riga, where the Riga River formed a natural port. A Liiv village was located here, according to findings of archeological digs.

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Art Museum Riga Bourse

The Art Museum Riga Bourse stores the largest collection of foreign art in Baltic States. The collection was started by Riga’s council members, mayors and traders in 19 century. Now museum offers international exhibitions and vide spectrum of culture and arts events.

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Bremen Town Musicians

Three legendary musicians play their music on Skārņu Street between St. Peter's Church and the Convent Yard: a donkey, a dog, a cat and a cockerel standing on each other's backs. You can see surprise in the animals' eyes, but they are not staring at the robbers' feast; they are peering through the Iron Curtain!

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Cat House

Wrought-copper cats stand on the corner turrets of a building facing the Great Guild on Līvu Square, their backs arched and tails poised as if readying for the final leap. The famous and peculiar building, once scandalous and even been the cause of a lawsuit, was named the Cat House because of these figures. Today, the cats are not only squatting on the roof of the building, but they dwell on the ground floor too.

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Dome Square

Dome Square is the largest square in the Old Town. It is deemed to be the heart of the city as all activities meet here, flowing in from seven streets like seven arteries. The square has seen many events significant to Latvia in the past 20 years. The square has a marked point where you can stand and see all three golden cockerels on top of Old Town's churches. The square itself is surrounded by buildings from the 19th and early 20th century.

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Great Guild

The origin of the Great Guild - one of the oldest public buildings in the Baltics - go back to the first half of the 14th century. It has always been open to cultural and social events.

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Konventhof

One of the oldest city quarters in the Old Town of Riga, the heart of the 800-year-old Hanseatic city, is often described as a city within a city. It is a unique complex of medieval buildings that currently houses the three-star hotel "Konventa Sēta".

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Latvian War Museum

The Museum exposition reveals Latvia’s military political history with a special emphasis on the 20th century, a period during which the Latvian people had to fight to gain their independence on two occasions.

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Līvu Square

It's hard to believe that the Square once was the site of the Riga River, which was a shipping route for transporting Latvian grain up to the 16th century. Later it was called the Rīdzene River and even Rīdziņa as it gradually became narrower. Today, along the old route of the river, pavement wears away the shoes of countless Rigans and visitors to the city, and beautiful flower-beds remind one of the past times.

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Museum of Decorative Arts and Design

The Museum of Decorative and Design Art is located in the former St. George’s Church building (1204), which is the oldest stone building in Riga. It features seven collections of decorative and design art work.

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Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

This is the oldest public museum in Latvia and one of the oldest in Europe, the origin of which dates back to 1773.

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Our Lady of Sorrows Church

The white and blue Our Lady of Sorrows Church was the first stone church built in Riga after the Reformation had reached Livonia (a historic region once encompassing present-day Latvia and Estonia). The idea of constructing the church was especially supported by Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. The Classicism-style building was dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows symbolising the oppressed Catholic Religion in Terra Mariana.

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Riga Castle

Riga Castle has stood on the right bank of the River Daugava for more than 700 years. Through the centuries, it has seen severe destruction, numerous rulers, and wars. Today it houses the residence of the President of Latvia.

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Riga Dome Cathedral

The foundation stone of Riga Dome Cathedral was laid on July 25, 1211. The last large-scale restoration took place in the late 19th century when the cathedral acquired its present appearance. Today, Riga Dome Cathedral holds services and provide for rich cultural life — various concerts of popular artists take place here.

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Riga Porcelain Museum

Porcelain - so sophisticated, luxurious and fragile, yet unimaginably different in the hands of inspired artists. The Riga Porcelain Museum unveils the exciting world of porcelain design development and manufacturing traditions from the middle of the 19th century until the 1990s and contemporary processes of porcelain art. The museum's collection consists of almost 8,000 objects.

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Riga Russian Theatre

The Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Theatre opened in 1883, the oldest Russian theatre outside Russia. Its repertory features Russian and world classics, as well as new plays. The large and small stages present works of all genres, also musical and children's productions, also guest performances and participation in various festivals. In summer 2010, renovation of the building was completed; now the refurbished, historically splendid premises are fully open to spectators.

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Riga St Jacob's Cathedral

Riga St Jacob's Cathedral is the smallest one among the four Old Town churches; however, its belfry has best maintained the features characteristic to Medieval Riga churches. From the very beginning up to the Reformation period, the building belonged to the Roman Catholic Church and was the centre of Latvian spiritual life. Later (1523–1582), it became the first church in Riga to house Latvian Lutheran congregation.

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Small Guild

The Old Town's Small Guild is used for concerts, conferences, presentations, meetings, celebratory gatherings and balls.

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St. Peter's Church

Riga's St.Peter's Church dominates the cityscape as the tallest spire, and as one of the oldest and most valuable monumental architecture edifices in the Baltic States from the Middle Ages. St.Peter's is the tallest of the Riga churches, a significant landmark, and a prime example of the 13th century Gothic style.

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St.John's Church in Riga

St.John's Church is the oldest house of worship in Riga. Originally the Dominican monastery's chapel was located here in the 13th century. After several reconstructions, around 1500 the edifice acquired its present appearance - high Gothic pediment, span roof and a small tower. In 1523 Riga City Council confiscated St. John's Church.

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Swedish Gate

The so-called Swedish Gate is only gate that remains standing today of eight total in Riga's fortification wall.

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The House of the Blackheads

The House of the Blackheads, originally called the New House, was built in 1334. It has been reconstructed several times from 1522, when stones where set next to the doors, to the late-19th century, when lion figures where set above the front doors and St. George's figure appeared in the annex. The House of the Blackheads, originally called the New House, was built in 1334. It has been reconstructed several times from 1522, when stones where set next to the doors, to the late-19th century, when lion figures where set above the front doors and St. George's figure appeared in the annex.

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The Powder Tower

One of medieval Riga's fortification wall towers, originally called the Sand Tower. Built in 1330.

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Three Brothers

The oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga was constructed in the 15th century. Their name — Three Brothers, was given a very long time ago and, according to a legend, the buildings were constructed by men from one family. Today, the premises house the Latvian Museum of Architecture and the State Inspection for Heritage Protection.

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Town Hall Square

The Town Hall Square in Riga has been completely re-built, since during the World War II the square and its historic buildings were destroyed. The city guests are welcomed by the historical façade of the House of the Blackheads, as well as the reconstructed Town Hall, and other buildings. Town Hall Square is the place where 500 years ago the city Christmas-tree was lit — now a memorial plank can be found here and a new Christmas-tree is decorated every year.

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