The largest city of all three Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. 🙂 We kinda fell in love with it as we were on our small Baltic tour from Vilnius. 🙂

The entire region is flat, just flat and the 4 hours bus ride was kinda dull but excited since we never visited these countries before.

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So let’s start with the entrance to the city over the Daugava river :

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At the dock I found this guy whose presence explains the existence of Riga city: According to legend, once upon a time a very strong man lived on the Daugava riverside and he earned his living by carrying people across the river on his back. One night he was approached by a little boy who asked to carry him over the river. Although the weather was stormy, the man picked up the child and began carrying him across the river. With each step, the man found that the child was becaming heavier until by midstream only with the greatest of effort could he made it to shore. The boy turned out to be Christ’s son (?!) so the man was named Kristaps (Latvian form of Christopher). Now you will find his statue on the right bank of the Daugava.

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Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member so it’s historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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As we arrived around noon we decided to go for the lunch. National style, of course! So on our menu were things like Grey peas with pork or zucchini pancakes  with dark rye bread.

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Inevitable Latvian beer and Back balsam made  with many different natural ingredients mixed in pure vodka 

Our restaurant was right at the Swedish Gate where very sad story occurred: the gate was part of the Old Town walls that went around Riga during the medieval times, serving as both fortification wall and as an important border for trade purposes.

This is also a place where the tragic romance of a swedish soldier and latvian girl ocurred.
In the past, virgins were forbidden to meet soldiers but this brave girl could not resist temptation of her love and would meet with him at secret gate.
One night the soldier missed the randezvous and she was captured by the towns people and imprisioned in the gate. Legends says that at midnight those who love selflessly can hear her helpless whisper : “How l love him.”

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Swedish Gate
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Swedish Gate – the passage

As we continued walking through medieval charming streets, there was so many to discover since the river Daugava has been a trade route since antiquity, part of the Vikings‘ Dvina-Dnieper navigation route to Byzantium.

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The Three Brothers is a building complex consisting of three houses and together they form the oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga. The houses are situated at the addresses 17, 19 and 21 Maza Pils Street  and each represents various periods of development of dwelling house construction: renaissance, baroque and mannerism (which is a sort of baroque, I agree) 🙂 .

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The Three Brothers

Coffee time! As this squares are just so lovely and catchy when seeing them! 🙂 Plus, the weather was really nice with the clear sky… what a weekend!

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Celebrating 100 years of Independence of Baltic states

Riga is also famous by Art Nouveau architecture  which is supposed to make up roughly one third of all buildings in the centre of Riga, making the Latvian capital the city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture anywhere in the world. But I don’t agree with that as the biggest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings for me are in Bruxelles, Begium.  

We found them in the Alberta street. 

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The Freedom Monument is a memorial located honouring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918–1920). It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence, and sovereignty of Latvia.

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The Freedom Monument

The city markes their victims of the Soviets snd the period of communism as well.

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Riga Central Market is Europe’s largest market and one of the most notable structures from 20th century in Latvia. It contains of five hangars and it takes a time to go through all the halls.

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Riga Central Market

What else to say?

We finished our day by climbing to the top of the The Latvian Academy of Sciences and enjoyed the nice view of the city at its sunset.

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Latvian Academy of Sciences

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View on the river Daugava and the TV tower

The tower reminds me a bit on the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland which was the Stalin’s gift to the Polish people. But then my friend shared a story with me about 7 sisters’ buildings and eighth never been built.

We went back to Vilnius, Lithuania.

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