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Nice places to visit in Riga

Published by Gema Sánchez-Grande — 2 years ago

Blog: Riga Riga Dinamo!!
Tags: Erasmus blog Riga, Riga, Latvia

Hi guys! In this post I will try to talk about the most interesting places you can visit in Riga city. I will try to explain as much as it's possible for me and for my English level.

Riga is practically composed by Museums, parks and cathedrals. I won't talk about the history of these places because although I have been in several free tours around the city, I will be completely honest... I don't remember so much. Conversely, I will try to describe these places from the point of view of someone who lives in Riga day by day.

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I will start with the most important in Old Riga. I'm sure that all the people who is going to Riga next year will recognize this place, because is the first picture that you can find if you write "Riga" in Google. Is the main and the oldest square in the city, and is called "Town Hall Square". Town Hall because we can find there the Town Hall of Riga, obviously. This square is also very famous because of "The house of the Black Heads". It's a very beautiful building with a very different structure than the others. The building facade is orange and blue with lots of ornaments, this makes it one of the most beautiful and impressive buildings in the city. I will try to explain a few things that I remember from the last free tour that I did around the city. I apologize if some of the information is wrong, I'm just talking from my memory: The Black Heads was an association for young men in Riga many years ago. The building in the right side was the meeting point for all the men who belonged to this association. The building on the left side (which is a bit nearer from the square) was built later. The reason was that, one man tried to belong to this association, but, unfortunately, the rest of men said that he couldn't belong to it. The man was very angry, so he decided to build a new and a very similar house, just on the left of the Black Heads House and a bit nearer to the square, to show them that he didn't have less power.

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Just next to the "Town Hall Square" is located the Occupation museum of Latvia. It is a huge black building without windows. I have never been there, but I think that the schedule is from 11:00 to 17:00 more or less. It's important to take into account that almost all the museums in Riga close at 17:00. The first days I was trying to visit the museums and I always arrived when they were closed (The Spanish problem); and I guess that the entrance ticket is not very expensive, almost all the museums I have visited cost between 3 - 8 € (The cultural activities in Riga are really cheap). Here I give to you the website so you can check better the prices and all the information about the Occupation museum of Latvia.

In the middle of the square there is a very nice statue, it's called the "Roland Statue". Nevertheless, the statue that you can see nowadays is just a replica, it is not the real statue, because it was destroyed during the World War II.

The Town Hall Square in Winter is really beautiful. It's decorated with lots of lights and there is also the biggest Christmas tree in the city. When the snow is covering Riga, the Christmas tree is one of the most beautiful pictures you can take.

I will talk second about the St. Peter's Church. It's is possible to visit this church from 10:00 - 19:00 (Monday till Saturday), and from 12:00-19:00 on Sundays. Inside the church you will find the rests of the real statue of Knight Roland, and it's possible also to go up a bit on the tower, and enjoy the views of the fabulous city of Riga. Another website where you can find information about St. Peter's Church and about Latvia in general.

The third most important place in Old Riga is the St. Mary's Dome Cathedral, which is the biggest cathedral in Old Riga. From their website you can check the opening hours and all the activities that they do in the Cathedral.

The Dome Cathedral is located in a very big square surrounded by a lot of nice restaurants. For instance, just a few minutes from the square is located the LIDO restaurant, one of the most famous places if you want to try the true and typical Latvian food (I will talk about bars and restaurants more deeply in the next post).

The square of Dome Cathedral in winter, is a magic place, because there is the Christmas Market; you can have a small talk with Santa Claus, eat traditional Latvian soups and food, drink hot wine (delicious when is very cold outside), and buy a lot of souvenirs to give a nice present to your families when you come back to your country.

Walking along one of the streets from the Dome Square, we find the "Cat House". The black cat is a very important symbol in the city of Riga and you could find it everywhere: in necklaces, earrings, bags, etc... In the rooftop of the building it's possible to observe two black cats (one on each side). The colour of the building is yellow and is really easy to find. Is located between the Duomo Square and other big square near the street "Kalku iela". I had a problem trying to find this house. I was approximately one week walking around Riga to find the house (guys, don't do as I did).

Next point: The Power Tower and Riga's wall: To find the Power Tower you have to walk towards the Freedom monument (as leaving Old Riga). Is a red tower covered by plants. Inside this tower is located the Latvian War Museum, which is open November- March from 10:00 to 17:00 and April-October from 10:00-18:00. A really good thing in this museum is that it's totally FREE! You can visit five floor full of information about the different wars in Latvia (they had a lot of wars) and see also the military clothes, the weapons, and all the things related to the army. Is a bit tired to visit this museum because you have to read a LOT of information in English, but is really nice to see, because without reading, you can have an approximate idea just watching the pictures and all the stuff they have in the museum.

Near the Power Tower there is a piece of wall, which I think is the only piece of wall left from the real Latvian wall in the past. Anyway, it gives a nice and medieval look to the city. Along this wall, there is another tower, but this time is not a museum, this time is a MEDIEVAL ESCAPE ROOM! I didn't try it yet, but I really want to do it, it looks very nice!

Finally I want to talk about the Freedom monument and about the Vermanes Park, and I will talk about more touristic places in the next post, because there are a lot of interesting places and is too much information only for one post.

The Freedom monument is the "Maximum symbol of the city", because it represents in few words, the freedom and independence of Latvia. In the top of the monument there is a woman holding up three golden stars; this stars represent the three Latvia's regions: Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale. In the base sometimes is possible to find Latvian soldiers guarding the monument and making a military march. They are always there, also when the city is really cold (I heard that it is allowed for them not to work only when the temperature is less than -6º). A few steps of the freedom monument is the Laima's clock. This clock belongs to a famous chocolate factory in Riga.

It's important to talk also about the National Opera. Students of the world in Riga, we are really lucky people! The National Opera costs just 6 € if you buy the tickets in advance (not in first line, of course), but in a really nice seat with perfect views. I was there once to see Romeo and Juliet and it was just incredible! I wish have something like this in my hometown, but I don't, so try to take advantage of it!

The Vermanes Park is a beautiful and relaxing place. It's perfect to go for a walk if you are stressed about something. In winter is very beautiful, because the water in the canal is totally frozen and sometimes, covered by snow. And in summer, you have the possibility to rent a boat to navigate along the channel. One secret: The channel's water is full of beavers, if you wait in silence near the shore, it's very probable you could see them!


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Comments (1 comments)

  • Nathan lesai 5 months ago

    Riga is practically composed of Museums, parks, and cathedrals. I won't talk about the history of these places because although I have been on several free tours around the city. Riga has also been called the Cultural Capital of Europe. After that, there are so many nice places to visit in Riga. I have finished my trip last month with my family in Riga. There is a transfer company named Baltic Transfers helps us and guide us to travel all the places are there.

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