Last week I told you about my mini-cruise to Latvia and my experience onboard. This week it's about my time off-board, namely in the city of Riga. That is to say facts and loads of pictures of Riga today and my opinion of and experiences in Riga, as well as pictures of the city from above and at the water next week.
Riga is Latvia's capital city and with 700.000 inhabitants the biggest city of the Baltics. It was an important hansa town in medieval times and has been under German and Russian occupation since. Another important feature of Riga is the Art Noveau architecture that you can find all around the city centre and that is part of the UNESCO world heritage. It makes Riga so beautiful and unique - I just couldn't take enough pictures of art noveau buildings.
However you can of course also find German and Russian influences on the city so that I felt like being in Northern Germany on one street and like being in Russia on another. Russians also make up the majority of Riga's inhabitants with 60% - quite a lot! Well at least that's what our tour guide (a Latvian) told us. Wikipedia says its 45% Latvians and 40% Russians but you probably already got that the two groups don't like it each other too much.Anyway Riga hasn't got so many inhabitants either way and the youth mostly moves to Western Europe in search for jobs and the birth rate in Riga and Latvia in general is quite low so that Riga will probably only become smaller with time.
The most important sights of Riga apart from its architecture are the Museum of Soviet and German Occupation, the Old Town, St. Peter's Church, Riga Castle, the Freedom Monument, the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Central Market and watch out for the black cat on the rooftop ;)
The newly build library and the TV Tower are also important even though they aren't build in the art noveau style and not really liked by the locals. I couldn't visit every sight as I only stayed in the city for 6 hours but I visited the top of St. Peter's Church to make pictures of the city from above (Next Week!) and this was definitely a highlight for me.
If you're interested in local food you should try the Melnais balzams which is a black and as I got told, very bitter snaps.
This year Riga is the European Capital of Culture so if you visit Riga this summer, you'll experience far more exhibitions and festivities than usually.
Enough talk, it's time you see for yourself how beautiful, amazing, stunning, magnificient and incredible the city of Riga is!
Also linking up with Megan for #TravelTuesdaywithSemi-CharmedKindofLife.