They are situated in the square where the Town Hall is located, one of the oldest areas of the city, where the most important events in the city are held. The origins of Blackheads comes from the founding of St. Gregory of merchants founded during the 13th Century, committed to the foundation, its members are single and rich merchants. The biggest celebration was carnival time, they enjoyed 14 days of various events and meals, and the important day was the Mardi Gras when they held many acts had tournaments for the enjoyment of the town. It was in preparation for the Easter fasting period. This is the story of its inhabitants. From an architectural point of view it is really spectacular set with a collection of ornaments on the facade that feature hundreds of details. There are also some interesting reliefs that are along the facades dedicated especially to different associations belonging to the brotherhood.
Whether you like it or not modernist art this is a must-see in this area. It contains most of the embassies of Riga. By focusing on the outsides, you can see a a number of different faces, characters ... To maintain these buildings it must be very strong economically .
The best place to eat here is definitely Riga Market. In the older, touristy section of the city, it´s hard to find somewhere for less than 13 euros a plate but in the market there are several mini cafeterias with super cheap dishes. The market is located right on the riverside. I recommend the typical drink wich is a wort. It´s a beer that has been fermented so it´s non-alcoholic and really good.
If there is one monument that represents all Latvians, it's that of Liberty. He stood as a symbol against the regime of Tsar Peter I during the Russian occupation. Symbolically the monument represents the Latvian people's liberation from foreign occupiers. It was inaugurated in 1935 and is a total of 42 meters high, but Liberty himself is only 9 meters high. Below, there are a group of sculptures grouped into four sections which symbolize justice, family, guardians of the homeland, and culture. Finally, there is another group of 4 gray granite sculptures, showing a person breaking chains, the Vaidelots, a bear hunter, and the apotheosis of Latvia. But above all, there's Liberty with three stars on his hands, symbolizing the unity districts of Lithuania. After knowing the history of this great monument and everything they stand for, I can only say that beholding it from below makes the experience even more special.
We spent an afternoon in this beautiful city. I highly recommend it. Riga (in Latvia Rīga) is the capital of Latvia. It is the biggest city of the Baltic states and the largest cultural, educational, political, financial, commercial and industrial region. The historic center of Riga has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because it has the finest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in all of Europe.
Ample parking around which are buildings, and interesting museums. On one side is what is known as the blackheads house, a beautiful building with ornaments, gilded figures and an extraordinary clock. On the other is the Occupation Museum, and in the background, the church of St Peter. The Christmas tree has stood in this square each year since 1510.
The tradition of opera in Latvia dates back to the eighteenth century, when the first music productions were staged in the Duchy of Courland. The city's German theatre, which offered drama, opera and ballet, opened in 1782. The official history of the Latvian Opera began in 1912, when the company was established in Riga by Jurjans Pāvuls. In 1918, the company returned to Riga, now known as Latvju Opera, and under the direction of Professor Jāzeps Vitols, the founder and longtime president of the Latvian Academy of Music. On January 23, 1919, the Latvian National Opera made its debut, with a performance of music by Wagner. The Riga Opera House was one of the first buildings that got a complete makeover after the expulsion of the Soviets. Why? Because Latvians considered opera to be an important part of the country's cultural heritage, and felt that the new opera would spearhead its drive for recreation of national identity. In fact, the Latvian National Opera has attracted worldwide recognition, although it hasn't always been particularly favourable. This is due in part to the company's youthful confidence and willingness to take risks.
The black cat is one of the symbols of the city of Riga. That's because in the heart of the city there is a building named the black cat home, I went crazy looking for it! I did not see any black cat or something resembling it! In the end, the 3rd time I asked, a woman told me it was "this" building ", which was right in front of me and I did not know it, but that the black cat is on the roof. Therefore there was no way to identify it! I pulled away a little and then I saw it was called that!
This is a special place, a charming bar, decorated as if it were the living room of a family home in the days of the Soviet Union, with electronics, family photos, and wry communist décor, as it also has photos of Jim Morrison. There is a piano, sofas, and is a very charming place. It's often full of college students and the Riga underground environment.
When I went to Latvia, a friend told me about a bar where they held an international music festival and a half-pint of beer cost just one lat (0.71€). I went with people from my hostel (where a pint cost close to 3 euros), and found a bar that was, honestly, nothing to write home about. Most of those in the bar were locals, but there was the odd foreigner (like me) scattered about. But indeed, the price was right - cheaper than buying beer in the supermarket. The beer isn't bad either. I was on the verge of ordering my third when I saw a guy with a one-liter pitcher beer and asked the waiter how much it was. The waiter replied in perfect English...2 lat (1.42€ when I went). Well of course, I had to order a liter of beer, if only for the ridiculous price. I didn't count how much I drunk here, but it would have cost four or five times as much at home.
The bus station is situated between the district and the old Russian town (historic center). From there you can travel to all parts of the country with regional and international routes and Vilnius (Lithuania) or Talinn (Estonia) coming out to about 10-15 euros to change and it takes only 4 hours. The major international companies are ecolines and eurolines. The roads in the Baltic countries are a small and not so good, but if you have money and you have the time you probably should fly within the Baltics for 20-40 euros one way.
Doms Riga or Riga Cathedral, began to be constructed on the Day of St. James, in 1211, by Albert von Buxhoeveden, who became its 1st bishop. It features a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The indoor museum has exhibits that portray Riga in the period, as well as maps and postcards. One of the best things of the visit is the world-famous organ built between 1883 and 1884 by the German company Waclker & Co, which has wooden carved in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is the most photographed building in the entire town.
The synagogue in Riga is in the center, but on a very narrow street and it is well hidden. Even though it was on the map it was hard to find! They were reforming it and would not let us enter, only the court which is just before the front door, just to make a couple of photographs and now this. At least I really liked the outside, like many synagogues.
Attending an organ concert is one of the obligatory cultural experiences of the city. This event sells out quickly and is quite a sight to see, as the organ of the cathedral is huge and there are very good acoustics.
They say it is one of the largest in Europe. Admission is about 35 €, depends on where you're going to be sitting, and although it's very good for music lovers, but perhaps not if they only play the organ, because it becomes too overbearing.
This is in the heart of Riga in a clear style that shows the principles of the Russian Revolution. It is dedicated to the Latvian Red Riflemen, Latvian Communist units that fought with the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. It is right next to the 'Museum of Occupation' which is a reminder of the hardships of Latvians during the Soviet era.
The building of the Academy of Sciences was constructed after World War II, between the years 1953 and 1956, as a gift from the workers and peasants of the USSR to Latvia, and is decorated with hammers and sickles and other communist motifs and decorations. It is 108 meters (353 feet) tall, and was the first skyscraper in the Latvian Republic. It is a representative building of Stalinist architecture that is similar to other buildings in other capitals which are "allies" of the USSR, such as Warsaw. You can have an incredible view of Riga from the balcony on the 17th floor that is open to the public for viewing.
Just opposite the Belle Epoque is this bar which is serves drinks for prices similarly to the Belle Epoque (really cheap) but this is a bit more spacious and is over two floors. We could say that the Celsijs downstairs is more for going chatting with friends and the "higher" floor (at street level) is for drinking. I took a picture of the price (I wasn't in any state to take many more) but to give you an idea(July 5th, 2009) the local currency is € 1.44 per Latvian lat.
Here you can see information about the Russian and German occupation that lasted 51 years (1940-1991) until the restoration of the country. The museum also has an archive for researchers. It's a fascinating place that really brings home the hardships faced by the region, and the courage of its people to settle here and become what they are to day. Entry is free, but donations are welcomed.