Day 1 in Riga
Get lost on the streets of Old Riga
Walk on the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town of Riga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to discover, step by step, impressive museums and churches.
Start with Riga Town Hall Square, or Ratslaukumus, like the Latvians say. This is the city’s core, where meetings were taking place in the past and where the most important problems of the city were discussed. One of the main tourist attractions in the Square is, of course, the Town Hall – a three-storey building with a tower in which the clock of the city is found. The edifice dates back from 1334. Also, the Statue of Riga’s patron, Roland, son of Carol I, is standing tall in the Square.
A symbol of Riga, located on the Town Hall Square, should not be missed out – the House of Blackheads. The original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century, but the current reconstruction took place from 1995 to 1999, and is similar to the initial structure.
In the close proximity of the House of Blackheads, situated on a hill, you can see St. Peter’s Church. Climb up to the top of the construction of red bricks and admire the panoramic view over Old Riga and Daugava river. The Lutheran church was raised in 1209 and is the only building that resisted to the great fire that devastated Riga in 1350. Also, this is one of the small number of historical monuments from the area that presents several architectural styles, respectively that Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque. The interior of the church is as imposing as its exterior. You can discover here numerous pictures and sculptures created by worldwide artists of Latvian origin.
Not far from the Church, you can see the Monument of Bremen Town Musicians, dedicated to the characters of the well-known fairy-tale “Bremen Town Musicians”. This is one of the most popular monuments of the Old Town.
If you feel hungry, head to the place that provides to locals and tourists fresh food products – Riga’s Central Market. It comprises five giant pavilions (firstly, the Market was designed as parking lot for dirigibles) with endless maze of stalls with meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, and spices. The Market was inaugurated at the beginning of 1930, thus being nowadays one of the oldest, but also largest markets in Europe. Here, any traveler will find something to eat to its taste. And, good news! This shopping place is known as one with the cheapest products in Europe. So, use the opportunity and buy some souvenirs to your close persons as well.
Martin Luther King’s adepts will enjoy visiting the Lutheran St. John’s Church. It is dedicated to John the Baptizer. The building is a historical monument of national interest, being built in the Gothic style and presenting much Germanic influence. The exterior showcases tall rectangular windows formed of colorful stained glass that describes saints’ life, a tower of about 10 meters, and a massive door supported by a stone arcade. In the interior, the church disposes of a concert hall, with pipe organ and other musical instruments, multiple marble sculptures of famous Latvian and Russian artists, but also three dominating altars.
Spend your evening in the Vermanes Park – the largest green space from the Latvian capital. The park sprawls over five hectares and it is divided into five pavilions, each of them being unique in its kind. There is no better place to end the first day of your trip in Riga: colorful flowers, trees of rare species and exotic bushes!