Kapoors Year 7: Europe/Ecuador/Peru travel blog

This Apartment Building Across The Street From Ours Gives You An Idea...

However, There's Nothing Faded About The Park We Pass Through As We...

I'm Not Sure Who These People Are Who Are Being Honoured In...

But It's A Beautiful Memorial Nonetheless

Riga Has The Most Impressive Art Nouveau Buildings In All Of Europe

There Are At Least 750 Different Buildings, Covered In Goddesses And Gargoyles...

We Did A Self-Guided Walking Tour And Found It Strange To See...

I Think Our Own Mouths Were Agape As We Stared Up At...

This Building Was One Of Our Favourites, And As It Turns Out,...

This Orthodox Church Stands At The Edge Of Old Riga, The Radisson...

The Weather Is Gradually Getting Cooler And Dozens Of Vendors Are Selling...

Another Cart Nearby Sells Beautiful Objects Handcrafted From Wood

This Building Was Once Riga's Stock Market Centre, But Has Been Reborn...

One Has To Stop In Order To Admire These Terracotta-Coloured Figures Posing...

On The Opposite Side Of The Square, The Massive Cathedral Is Undergoing...

I Can't Imagine The Cost Of This New Copper Roof, Considering The...

The Sun Finally Broke Through The Clouds And We Doubled Back To...

Erected In 1935, Paid For By Public Donations, The Copper 'Liberty' Even...

St. Peter's Lutheran Church Dominates Riga's Skyline, It's Thought To Be 800...

An Exact Replica Of The Blackhead's Guild House Was Erected In 2001...

The Blackheads Were Unmarried German Merchants, They Needed A Special Place To...

In 1510, The Men Dragged A Tree Inside, Decorated It, And Then...

Nearby Stands The Controversial Rifleman's Monument, On What Was Once Riga's Market...

Some Of The Latvia's Red Riflemen Served As Lenin's Personal Bodyguards

It's A Pure Delight To Stroll Through The Colourful Streets Of Old...

We Almost Missed The 'Three Brothers', Tiny Houses Leaning On Each Other

The Windows Were Tiny Because Middle Ages Taxes Were Based On The...

Yet Another Treasure, When A Man Was Denied Entrance To A Guild,...

After A Long Negotiation, The Guild Admitted The Merchant And The Cat...

On The Long Walk Back To Our Apartment We Passed This Memorial...

The City's Old Moat, Splitting Old And Central Riga, Has Been Incorporated...

The Boats Plying The Quiet Waters Even HaveTheir Own Lighthouse

On A Windy Afternoon We Stopped Into A Warm Courtyard Cafe For...

We Opted To Share Some Potato Pancakes, Smothered In Bacon And Sour...

Fortified, We Walked Along The Daugava River Admiring An Old Monument And...

In The 1930s Five Large Zeppelin Hangers Were Moved From Western Latvia...

People Say Visiting Riga Without Seeing The Market Is Like Visiting Paris...

After Rushing Through The Fresh Fish Section, We Were Relieved To See...

What A Variety Of Cheeses, Meats And Breads, These Dark Loaves Filled...

Speaking Of Nuts, They Were Everywhere, And Just In Case You Misplaced...

What A Laugh To See A Wall-Mart Re-Useable Bag With Latvian Writing...

We Thought The Zeppelin Hangers Were Huge, But The Market Spills Out...

It Won't Be Long Before The Fresh Flowers Will Have To Be...

A Nearby Café Is Named After The Huge Balloons, But Written As...

On Our Last Day In Riga, We Walked Across One Bridge And...

The Waterfront Is In Need Of Refurbishment, But Here And There We...

Here You Can See The Spires Of Old Riga, Try To Ignore...

We Could Also See The Massive Zeppelin Hangers Sitting Near The Railroad...

The Tourist Boats Are Moored These Days, After A Long And Very...

A Stroll Around An Inland Waterway Made For Quiet Reflections After Hours...

In The Other Direction, We Could See A Modern Building That Looks...

We Walked Back Over The Daugava On One Of The Oldest Stone...

I Was Happy To Get A Better Look At The Orthodox Cathedral,...

The Long Walk Outdoors Made Us Head Inside For Hot Mulled Wine...

To End Our Visit To Riga On A High Note, We Stopped...


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BACKGROUND

In the interest of expediency, here are some excerpts from the Lonely Planet - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania chapter on Riga:

‘The Paris of the North’, ‘The Second City that Never Sleeps’ – everyone’s so keen to tack on qualifying superlatives to Latvia’s capital, but regal Riga does a hell of a job of holding its own. For starters, the city has the largest and most impressive showing of art-nouveau architecture in Europe. Nightmarish gargoyles and praying goddesses adorn more than 750 buildings along the stately boulevards radiating out from Riga’s castle core.

The heart of the city – Old Town – is a fairy-tale kingdom of winding, wobbly lanes and gingerbread trim that beats to the sound of a bumpin’ discotheque.

Although some Latvians may lament the fact that they are an ethnic minority in their own capital, others will be quick to point out that Riga was never a ‘Latvian’ city.

Founded in 1201 by the German bishop Albert von Buxhoevden (say that fast three times) as a bridgehead for the crusade against the northern ‘heathens’, Riga became a strong- hold for the Knights of the Sword and the newest trading junction between Russia and the West. When Sweden snagged the city in 1621, it grew into the largest holding of the Swedish Empire (even bigger than Stockholm!).

Then the Russians snatched Latvia from Sweden’s grip and added an industrial element to the bustling burg. By the mid-1860s Riga was the world’s biggest timber port and Russia’s third city after Moscow and St Petersburg.

The 20th century also saw the birth of cafes, salons, dance clubs and a thriving intellectual culture, which was all bombed to high hell in WWI, and subsequently captured by the Nazis during WWII. Somehow, Riga’s indelible international flavour managed to rise up from the rubble, and even as a part of the USSR, Riga was known for its forward thinking and thriving cultural life.

Today, Riga’s cosmopolitan past has enabled the city to effortlessly adjust to a global climate, making it more than just the capital of Latvia – it’s the cornerstone of the Baltic.


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