Art Nouveau, the distinct style in art of end-19th century and early-20th, was the "father" of modern architecture. Riga is a well-known Art Nouveau mecca.

As the population of Riga swelled, so did the demand for new apartment houses. Thus, over 100 high-rise stone and brick buildings went up, creating the city's distinct look. Eclecticism, the predominant style since end-19th century, was gone by 1904, making way for Nouveau (about 40% of downtown Riga). Certainly the Latvian capital stands at the forefront in this regard.

The central location for Art Nouveau style buildings is the downtown quarter known as the "quiet centre" - just a 10-minute stroll from Old Town. It is a vibrant feature in Riga's history, with Albert Street truly the main gem. Each edifice there is a unique masterpiece of design and construction. The style's active period was relatively short - from 1901 to 1908. Eight of the Albert Street buildings have been officially designated architectural landmarks.


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