Riga’s Old Town
20 February, 2014
Riga’s Old Town is one of it’s main tourist attractions as it’s one of the most complete old towns in Europe. Riga was heavily bombed during the Second World War and the city was mostly left in ruins until the new independent government realised the tourism potential and began restoring the city.
Riga is split in half by the river Duagava with the Old Town on the east side. The Old Town was built between 1860 and 1914 with many buildings resembling European capitals like Berlin, Paris and Rome. There are so many things to see including architecture and churches and the Triangula Bastion, a building with an excavated fragment of the medieval Riga fortifications! Triangula Bastion also offers the best viewing terraces in Riga.
Make sure you go and see the House of Blackheads, which houses the tourism office, and St Peter’s Church which was built in 1209, making it Riga’s oldest church. You can also go up to the top of its tower and get a great view over Riga.
If you’re into museums, visit the Porcelain Museum or the Sun Museum which covers the history of sun mythology and its role in Latvian culture! It’s a bit weird but definitely one to write home about! The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is very large but also very moving and an essential visit for those who are interested in recent history.
A walking tour is easily the best way to see Riga, as it’s fairly small, and all tours will include the Old Town and nearby city centre attractions. The tourist office is located in the House of Blackheads and offers both guided tours and free pamphlets with detailed descriptions of the city for independent walks. It’s also worth picking up a Riga Card which is really cheap and has discounts to museums and tourist attractions!
Jade Mitchell-Ross is an English student, currently on an internship while studying Russian at Liden & Denz