Thursday, July 17, 2008

Discover Riga and .... Latvia

UNESCO has listed 'Old Riga', a masterpiece of architecture and antiquity, as one of its World Heritage wonders. No wonder that a city that has survived two world wars is now in this list: just wander throgh its narrow streets and alleyways and you will find yourself in a living museum. The 13th century Dome cathedral, the fantastic gothic facade of Saint Peter's Curch, the old residential buildings and the small decorative houses surrounding Liv Square.
If Riga was a mighty seaport during the Middle Ages and a leading port for the Russian empire in the 18th and 19th centuries, Riga reminds the traveller of its Hanseatic days (Great Guild and Small Guild) as well as its Art Nouveau or Jugendstil movement (one thitd of Riga's downtown buildings were constructed in Art Nouveau Style). Two more assets: Riga as town of music and arts (Riga gave birth to major artists from the ballet dancer Baryshnikov to the violinist Gideon Kremer) and Riga as the town where Catholic, Lutheran and Ortodox churches meet ( from the Lutheran Dome Cathedral and the magnificent St peter's Church to the Catholic St Jacob's Cathedral to the synagogue in Old Riga).
Just another curiosity: Riga is one of the few places with flower markets open 24 hours a day and believe it or not Riga has an intense nightlife (casinos, bars, discos and nightclubs).
In this small country German, Russian, Swedish and Polish rulers left more than a trace in palaces, castles and manors build in the Latvian countryside. Just south of Riga the grandest in the country is the famous Rundale Palace, designed bythe Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo rastrelli. The same architect who designed the Czar's Winter Palace in St Petersburg. Many good reasons, and not the only ones, to visit this small country and its capital: a journey to Riga in the past and in the future, in this city you can book a your prefered room in one of many Riga hotels.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this article is very interesting because a city from east europe is never mentioned as beautiful and wonderfull as the other citys in europe (london, rome, madrid, paris).
i didn't immagine that all these different styles could characterize this city. i think that this country is very variated becaused it had lots of dominations.