Culture of Riga. Places to visit - old town, temples, theaters, museums and palaces

Riga Riga is a beautiful city with rich history, which never ceases to amaze its guests by widest choice of attractions. In the center of the city you will find the famous Monument of Liberty, which was erected here in 1935. The wonderful symbol of freedom and independence has been repeatedly at the risk of elimination, but each time it has miraculously managed to survive. Numerous important public meetings, pickets and rallies have taken place near the monument. In 2001, the monument was completely renovated. Nowadays this is an important historical object and an honorable place protected by guards.
Restaurants in Riga are not distinguished by widest choice of delicious dishes and delicacies. Food here is pretty simple, but it is very nourishing and has its own taste benefits. The menu … Open
A large part of historic attractions of Riga are located in the Old City. Make sure you do not forget to visit Konventa Seta – a tiny town, on the territory of which are located a beautiful hotel, several antique shops, museum of porcelain, as well as cozy cafes and restaurants. Church of St. Peter, which was built in 1209, is a wonderful religious monument. During the Middle Ages the church was the tallest building in the country. Unfortunately, only one tower has survived till our days. The tower is equipped with multiple viewing platforms, from which tourists can enjoy magnificent panoramic looks. Perhaps, House of the Blackheads is the most striking architectural monument of the city. This is a beautiful mansion, which was built in the beginning of the 14th century. Recently the building has passed through a complete reconstruction. A part of its premises now houses the exhibition of the historical museum.
In the Middle Ages the city was surrounded by a strong fortification. However, only Powder Tower survived till our days. The tower got its name because of the fact that many years ago it was used as a powder warehouse. Currently, the tower is converted into a military museum, which is without a doubt one of the most interesting cultural institutions of the city. A very interesting legend is associated with the historic building, which is called the House of Cats by the locals. The statues of cats, which are installed on the roof of the mansion, wonderfully helped the merchant, who had lived in the house, to join the guild and overcome all litigations with ease. Copyright
The charming city of Riga is saturated with a fairy tale atmosphere and romance. The capital of Latvia began its development in the Middle Ages as a port city: rich merchants gathered here … Open
You will find that there are a lot of interesting sacred architectural constructions in the Latvian capital. The Rīgas Svētās Marijas Magdalēnas Romas katoļu baznīca stands out above all others. The 13th century church is one of the oldest buildings you will find in the city. However, like many others, the building was destroyed and restored only in the 20th century. From the point of view of interior decoration, Rīgas Sāpju Dievmātes Romas katoļu baznīca is considered to be simply amazing. The atmosphere of tranquility reigns here more than ever, such that even those who do not believe in the existence of a higher power consider it soothing. Near the church is situated Rīgas pils, which was initially built in the 14th century. It will also be interesting to point out that it was later rebuilt and now serves as the official residence of the President of Latvia.
Castle in Riga The magnificent Visu Svēto pareizticīgo baznīca attracts the attention of everyone not only with its eye-catching exterior, but also its interior decoration. Built in the 17th century, the temple is a beautiful example of an Orthodox style building. Despite the fact that the shrine is located in the non-tourist region of ​​Riga, it is still worth paying a visit. Another majestic cathedral is the Pareizticico katedrale – this is the main Orthodox Church in the Latvian capital. It is slightly out of the general style of the city, but this does not spoil it at all. There is a synagogue in Riga, remarkable as one of the few buildings that remained intact after the Second World War.
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Jugenda Stila Nami amazes everyone with its architectural value. This place should certainly be visited by all the connoisseurs of architecture, because there are so many “modern” (or “art nouveau”) styled houses here, like nowhere else. The peculiarity of the neighborhood is that each house situated here is unique in its own way. On Mazā Pils iela you can find three interesting houses called “The Three brothers” (Trīs Brāļi). It is worth noting that this place is a kind of visual reference to historical architectural styles, you can clearly see how the architecture of the city changed over years. It is perhaps one of the best places in a city if we talk about getting acquainted with the architecture of Riga.
Rigas Kongresu Nams (Riga Congress Centre) There are lots of monuments in the capital of Latvia, among them we have; the “Bremen Town Musicians”, a monument to the ghost girl (next to Zviedru vārti, one of the nicest places in the Old Town), the “Latvian Riflemen”, the statue of Roland near the Town Hall Square (which, by the way, is another favorite place for tourists). Also you will find interesting monuments in the city, that bring to mind the tragic events that took place in the history of the country. Such monuments include Bikernieki Memorial, a memorial in the Rumbula forest. Some of the museums located in the city are; the busy Rīgas Jūgendstila muzejs, around which there are magnificent houses built in the Art Nouveau style, as well as the Latvijas Okupācijas muzejs, a museum reminiscent of the tragic events which occurred in the history of the city.
In the section below, you can get one of our excursion, activities or city discovery tours over Riga and surroundings. Our website offers 10-30% lower ticket prices, when compared to the offline purchase on the spot.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Riga and surroundings

Plan your own excursion through Riga: churches, museums and castles

Riga Cathedral, Riga

Location on the map:     Facts:
» Riga Cathedral is one of the oldest attractions in Riga and all the Baltic States. Rigas Domes is translated from Latin as “The House of God”.
» The first stone was solemnly laid on 25 June 1211. This ceremony was visited by the first bishop Albert von Buxthoeven. The construction of the cathedral was completed in 1270. Over the centuries, the cathedral had been destroyed and reconstructed many times, so its exterior combines features of different architectural styles.
» In 1959, an altar was placed here and the cathedral hall was turned into a concert hall with rows of seats.
» The main attraction of the cathedral, the organ, was changed several times. In 1883-1884, the musical instrument made in the late 16th century was replaced. It was the biggest organ in the world. The organ had artistic value because its decorative body carved in 1599-1601 had been preserved.
» Then, the organ was restored in 1981-1984. A new musical instrument was placed in the old body.
» Nowadays, services alternate with organ concerts.
» Riga Cathedral is also the subject of paintings painted by Nicholas Roerich in 1903.

Church of St. Peter, Riga

Location on the map:     Facts:
» The Church of St. Peter is a symbol of Riga. This ancient attraction is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
» The first mention of the church dates back to 1209.
» The building was destroyed by fires but was rebuilt every time. In 1721, Peter the Great fought the fire caused by lightning.
» The tower with a spire was reconstructed only in 20 years. 200 years after, in 1941, the tower was destroyed by a German shell on the St. Peter’s Day.
» A new spire that looks similar to the old one but is made of metal was constructed in 1973. There are also two observation platforms at a height of 57 m and 71 m.
» Before the TV Tower was built, the Church of St. Peter was the highest construction in the city. It is 123.5 m high.
» The first clock was installed on the tower in 1352. Now, the restored clock with one hour hand beats every hour and plays Latvian folk music.

St. James Cathedral, Riga

Location on the map:   Facts: » St. James Cathedral was allegedly founded in 1225.
» Over the years of its existence, the church has changed religion four times. Now, it is the most important Catholic cathedral in Riga.
» The church is crowned by an 80-meter pyramidal tower that was built in 1755 and has survived to the present day. The top of the tower is decorated with a weathercock.
» In the church, old gravestones with blurred inscriptions are walled up but there are no tombs.
» There are also two rare exhibits: a wooden sculpture made in the 14th century and a fragment of the painting on the wall.
» In 1819, serfdom was abolished in Livonia exactly in this church.
» As for the modern interior of the cathedral, broken beds with fresh flowers and plants.

Freedom Monument, Riga

Location on the map:     Facts:
» The Freedom Monument to the soldiers who died for the independence of Latvia was installed in 1935. This monument was constructed on the funds donated by the people.
» It is 42 m high. The monument is crowned by 9-meter Liberty, a woman holding three stars that symbolize three historical regions of Latvia, Kurzeme, Vidzeme, and Latgale. At its foot, there are sculptures and bas-reliefs depicting legendary heroes of Latvia.
» In 1940, Latvia became a part of the USSR and the Soviet authorities wanted to dismantle the monument. This decision was discussed by Soviet authoritative sculptor V. I. Muhina (who was born in Riga), academician L. V. Rudnev (who lived in Riga), and architect Ernests Stalberg. Their opinion helped preserve the monument. When Latvia became independent in 1991, important national holidays are celebrated in the square.
» Near the Freedom Monument, you can always see the Guard of Honor.

Virgin of Anguish Church, Riga

Location on the map:   Facts: » The Virgin of Anguish Church is a white and blue building in Riga. Over the years of its history, it had been reconstructed many times.
» The first stone church was built in 1765. It was the only Catholic church in the city.
» In 1780, Archduke Joseph II, the Emperor of the Roman Empire, visited Riga and the Virgin of Anguish Church when he traveled to Saint Petersburg. He was saddened by the plainness and disrepair of the temple.
» The Emperor made a substantial donation to it. The last King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Stanislaw Poniatowski and the future Emperor of Russia Paul, the son of Catherine II made a contribution too. A new church was built in 1783-1785.
» The building was reconstructed when Nicholas I visited it in 1854 and acknowledged that the church really needed to be extended.
» It was last renovated in 1895. Since that time, the church has always been open to visitors. It passed through wars and the Soviet period.
» Remarkably, in the film “Seventeen Moments of Spring”, you can see shots with Our Lady of Anguish Square and Church. In this episode, Professor Pleischner is going to a safe house.
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What to visit during two-day excursion in Riga

The Old Town
The Freedom Monument
Where: cross Brivibas and Raina, in the heart of the city, Riga;
Three Brothers
Where: 17, 19, 21 Maza Pils, in the Old Town., Riga;
St. Peter’s Cathedral
Where: 19 Skarnu, Riga;
Museum Of War
Where: 20 Smilzu, Riga; Telephone: +371 722 8147;
Riga Castle
Where: 3 Pils Laukums, Riga;
Dome Cathedral
Where: Doma Laukums, Riga;
Doma Laukums
Where: Doma Laukums, Riga;
Riga Motor Museum
Where: 6 Eisensteina, Riga; Telephone: +371 709 7170;
Reference information
Map of all palaces
Public palaces near Riga
♥   Palace 'Mitava Palace' , 39.5 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Palace 'Bīriņi Palace' , 47 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Palace 'Mežotne Palace' , 57 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Palace 'Rundale Palace' , 59.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Excursions over cultural sights of neighbours of Riga

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