Riga is a highly cosmopolite city. Besides the Latvians, there live many White Russian and Ukranian people. There are also Tatarians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Naturally, official language is Polish, but most of the population knows and speaks Russian. After all, 28% of the population is Russian-originated.
People are very kind and helpful. A 70 year old lady even, helped us when we lost our route on the map while going back to the house we rented, and lead us right in front of our home.
When you go through the old city square, you encounter the Doma Cathedral. This cathedral is the biggest cathedral of the Baltics. The other important aspect of it is, having the secong biggest organ in the world with 6718 sections. The stained-glass in the cathedral is also well preserved and succesfully applied. There are some concerts going on at some night in this cathedral but we did not go to any of them. This square has very cheerful and alive with its crowded cafés and musicians.
We have seen a statue of The Musicians of Bremen in one of the alleys. Turns out, Riga and Bremen are sister towns and this statue was a gift from Germans. A short summary for ones who don’t remember it from their childhood: All of those animals were being treated badly by their owners. They run away some day and run into each other in a forest house. But bad people came in at night and they jump onto one anothers back, to leave the smallest animal on the top and biggest at the bottom. They all start to make sounds at the same time and it works, bad people run away. In time, the sounds they make start to fit each other in harmony, therefore forming the Musicians of Bremen.
Because we went to Riga in the middle of May, the days were quite long. It was getting dark at 11pm. The colour was an amazing parliament blue when it got completely dark.
Vecriga which is the first settlement and historical centre of Riga, has been protecting by UNESCO. Art Nouveau architectural style is very common in all Baltic countries. The most important feature of this style is its being comprised of more flat and edgy lines, but in Riga they interpreted it in a whole different way. Mikael Eisenstein had a big role in making it. By the way, he is the father of director of the film “Battleship Potemkin”, Sergei Eisenstein.
Most of the works belong to Mikael Eisenstein. One of the most important works of him is the blue-white building which is being used as the Faculty of Economics. He usually used more ornamental figures on the higher floors. And with te statues he used on the buildings, every building tells a different story.
There were a lot of works and stories of him waiting for to be seen and to be interpreted in Alberta Street, also called Open-Air Museum.
Again in the Elizabetes Street, there were very nice buildings. The houses number 2, 4, 6, 8 and 13 in Alberta Street and the house number 10 in Elizabetes Street were the most beautiful examples of Art Nouveau.
There were city walls surrounding the old city back then, but now most of them are destroyed. But in the time they were made, people had settled the houses right in front of the citywalls; therefore they prevented them to be seen, made the view beautiful and created an area to the guards having protected the city.
“Brivibas Piemineklis (Statue of Liberty)” has become a symbol of Riga. It is located between two squares. The statue was made in 1934 when Latvia has first gained its independence. Different sizes of symbols were used on the statue. But there were more religious symbols on the lower parts. There written the motto of Latvia: “To motherland and freedom”
The lower part was made of red granite. Every figure on every corner symbolizes something. Family, culture, peace and defence… The figure on the higher part symbolizes Mother Latvia.
The woman statue holding over the three golden stars to the sky from top of the statue symbolizes freedom and liberty. Latvians call this woman Milda. The three stars having been held over by Milda symbolize 3 zones of Latvia.
The square in front of the Statue of Liberty is one of the most popular meeting points in Riga. There are soldiers protecting the statue all the time and their relief is in every hour.
You should get at least a piece of Baltic Ambers.
You will see a lot of cafes and bars while heading through the old city from the Statue of Liberty. We went inside on of the bars here. It was very interesting. There are people who were eating, playing bilardo, watching games and dancing here in differents sections. But everybody could see the others. Then we realized that almost all of the bars here were very operational like that one.