Riga is truly a beautiful city. There is a green belt between different built up areas. Some of these have waterways.
I don’t think we have been in a cleaner city this trip. Nor have we been in one that seems as calm.
Not sure what it is that gives this impression but it certainly felt like it. In the parks people were gently wandering, pushing prams, sunbathing, driving small toy cars and seemingly just enjoying the spaces.
But the most interesting area that I want to share is the architecture. I was gobsmacked at the beauty of the Art Nouveau buildings that seem to fill up a lot of the city. In fact there are over 800 of them. Every corner we turned there was another.
Eclectically Decorative Art Nouveau
These buildings came about because of the boom times of the early 20th century. They were build under strict guidelines of not higher than 6 storeys and to be practical. This was the time for the invention of heating systems through the buildings along with flushing toilets.
Prior to this buildings were wooden. There are still plenty of these and they have their own special quality.
As we wandered I wondered why these buildings were in as good a condition as they are considering the times – the German period and then the Russians from 1945 on until 1991.
It seems that they had other priorities and these buildings while being made part of the state became housing for multiple families within each apartment.
They did become derelict and in very poor condition but they stayed. After this period, previous owners could reacquire them and the government along with the assistance of the European Union as well as UNESCO has slowly been returning them to their former glory.
We were staying in an area quite near to the main streets where they are but as we wandered further afield we saw more and more.
We had a really interesting time in the Art Nouveau museum where the rooms on the second floor have been set up in the period style with a collection of items that might have been there.
I haven’t done this place justice with my photography skills, and I do still have a sore neck from looking up.
If you are ever this way or are planning your next journey, you should include Riga, Latvia. It is a special place. Then again all of the Baltic states are. Each so different, yet the same.