Riga is the capital city of Latvia and the main industrial, business, cultural, sports and financial centre in the Baltic States and an important port city.
With 699 203 inhabitants (2012), it is the largest city in the Baltic States and the third largest city (after St. Petersburg and Stockholm) throughout the entire Baltic Sea region.
The gem of the Baltics
Riga is situated at the mouth of the Daugava, on the shores of the Gulf of Riga on the Baltic. Riga has an ancient history and rich cultural heritage. Travellers can admire the diverse architecture of Riga, especially the Art Nouveau buildings.
Riga has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the collection of art nouveau buildings that is one of the largest in the world, as well as a city in whose architecture the entire history from 1201 to the present day is reflected. It is also valued as a city with a unique collection of wooden developments in its central section.
Riga Old City
Old Riga is the historical and geographical centre of Riga on the right bank of the Daugava.
Old Riga covers a relatively small inner area of the 13th-18th century fortifications where unique monuments of medieval architecture which, surprisingly, have survived two world wars are concentrated.
House of Blackheads
House of the Blackheads, originally called the New House, was built in 1334.
It has been reconstructed on numerous occasions – from 1522, when the entrance was supplemented with doorstones, up to late 19th century, when the house was decorated with lion figures above its entrance and a rendition of St George appeared in the adjacent building.
The Riga Dome
The Dome is the Latvian Archbishop’s cathedral and a church of the Dome parish.
Historically, the Riga Dome was the Livonian Order’s central cathedral until the disintegration of the Order in 1561.
In the medieval period, the Riga Dome Cathedral was the largest and one of the oldest sacral buildings in Latvia and the entire Baltic Region.
Riga central market
This unique site is found almost in the very heart of Riga, a few dozen steps away from the Old Town of Riga, on the bank of the Daugava, next to Riga Bus Station and Central Railway Station
Close to a vivid monument of Soviet architecture − the 21 storey high Academy of Sciences high-rise, it is Riga Central Market, one of the largest markets in Eastern Europe, and it is still functioning – it is visited daily by 80 000 to 100 000 people.
The market is a popular place for shopping, offering almost everything.
40% of buildings in the centre of Riga belong to art nouveau, which is more than in other European cities. Moreover, art and architecture connoisseurs believe that it is in Riga that art nouveau found especially powerful and sweeping expression.
In order to preserve Old Riga, Riga’s wooden buildings and the art nouveau architecture, the historical centre of Riga has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Art nouveau emerged in Europe at the turn of the twentieth century and continued its march of victory up until World War I.
Cesis is situated in the centre of Vidzeme and it is one of the most beautiful Latvian cities. Cesis is located 90 km away from Riga. The river Gauja flows near the city.
Cesis is one of the oldest cities in Latvia, the Hanseatic City and one of the Livonian Order master’s residences (1237-1561). In the historical sources, the name of Cesis (Wenden) was first mentioned in 1206.
The medieval castle ruins are the symbol of Cēsis and, together with its park, create the romantic atmosphere in the town.
The cobbled streets of Cēsis Old Town have preserved the their layout from the Middle Ages, keeping also the old buildings with red tiled roofs, closed yards, and restored facades of the buildings.
CESIS MEDIEVAL CASTLE
Cesis City history dates back to 800 years distant past. It relates to Cesis Medieval Castle around which in 13th century the city developed.
Castle through the centuries has shared its fate with Cesis in fights against the Russian, Polish and Swedish armies.
CESIS CASTLE PARK
Cesis Castle Manor owner count Carl Gustav von Zievers established Castle Park and it is deservedly considered one of the most outstanding and most original landscape parks of 19th century in Latvia.
Castle Park is built around the 1832; the landscape includes the medieval castle ruins and the impressive ancient Riekstu castle- hill silhouette. Streams and springs, hilly terrain with sandstone outcrops are all adding to the Romanticism inherent bridges and pavilions.
CESIS EXHIBITION HOUSE
Cesis Castle-Manor stable and coach house got its present appearance of the late Classicism - Empire freeform after the reconstruction in the early years of 19th century.
The building was used as a stable for lord’s horses and Castle tavern guest horses, as well as the coach house where carts and carriages were kept. With a diverse range of exhibitions, concerts and other entertainment activities Exhibition Hall integrates into Cesis, Latvia’s and global cultural processes.
CĒSIS ST. JOHN’S CHURCH
St. John’sChurch is one of the oldest medieval architectural monuments in Latvia.
Church was built in the beginning of 13th century during the Christianization of Baltic’s for the purposes of the Livonian Holy Order because residence of the order was located in Cēsis; therefore Cēsis became one of the most important German power centers in the Baltic’s from 1237 up to 1561.
Cēsis May park
May park was created for the needs of visitors in the mid-19th century by Count Carl Sievers. Since in the 19th century romantic castle ruins had come into fashion in garden architecture, such ruins were created here as well. It is an example of this kind of park, with an artificial pond, terraces and greenery.
Since 2005 the park is a home to a pair of black swans. Cesis is the first town in Latvia to be chosen by a couple of black swans from Lisbon as their home. Gracefully floating across the town’s most picturesque park ponds, the swans attract the genuine admiration of visitors.
Rēzekne is situated 242 km away from the capital city Riga in the Rezekne River valley and is placed on 7 hills.
Rezekne can boast of such industrial sectors such as mechanical engineering and woodworking. It is an important rail and road hub, a gateway between the East and the West.
Rezekne is Latgale centre of culture and education. It is multinational city that has welcomed different nationalities, so you can hear many different languages here.
It is the city where people live with the faith in their hearts. Rezekne - it is the city that has the charm of antiquity and progressive time. Rezekne - it is the heart of Latgale!
RĒZEKNE CASTLE RUINS
The well-fortified 15 m high Rēzekne castle mound served as the location of an ancient Latgalian castle already in the 9th– 12th centuries.
In 1285 the Livonian Order began the construction of a two-story stone castle with three-story high towers. In the 14-16th centuries the castle was the Livonian overlord’s residence of the Rēzekne county.
RĒZEKNE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF THE HOLIEST JESUS HEART
In 1914 the Jesus Heart cathedral was consecrated. Inside the cathedral the most noteworthy objects are the carved wooden altars decorated with the sculptures of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, Saint Theresa and others.
Cathedral is also famous for the stained glass images of Livonian bishops – Saint Meinhard and Saint Albert. Since 1995 the church has been the centre of Rēzekne – Aglona diocese and the bishop’s seat.
CULTURAL HISTORY MUSEUM OF LATGALE
The Latgale Culture and History Museum was established in 1959 as a branch of the Ludza Region Research Museum.
However, its origin can be traced back to the 1930s when the Latgale Central Museum was set up and was located in the current building of the museum until World War Two.
HOLY TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF REZEKNE
Utilizing the design of A. Jefimov the first church was built in 1886 on Mescanska Street (now Rainis Street). It was a rather small one-story wooden building without any architecturally noteworthy elements.
The construction of a red brick church to replace the old wooden structure was begun in the mid 1930’s, using the neogothic design of engineer J. Cīrulis
Rezekne Orthodox Church of The Birth of The Holy Virgin
In 1934 the decision was taken to build the Orthodox Church in Režica. The project was worked out by the architects of Petersburg – D. Viskonti and Š. Bodē II. The construction work was started in 1840, but the church was dedicated after 6 years (25th June, 1984) in honour to the birth of the Virgin.
The family chapel of the Karaulov much endured in the thunderstorm on June 14th 1998 and its metal elements corroded. The chapel could ruin any time. Now it is being demounted and renovated.
Kuldiga is an old Hanseatic City of Kurzeme at the Venta waterfall (Ventas Rumba), the district centre of Kuldiga - 155 km away from Riga.
Kuldiga is a pearl of Western Latvia. Only this small town-specific architecture, the river Venta with the widest (240 m) waterfall in Europe and an ancient brick bridge over it creates a special ambience.
Kuldīga is an ancient town with unique architecture.
Saint Catherine is believed to be the patron saint of Kuldīga, and thus the church of the town has been named after St Katrīna. The foundation of the building was laid as early as in 1252; later the church was remodelled a number of times, and the altar was decorated with Baroque style wood carvings.
One of the most successful rulers of the Duchy of Courland, Duke Jacob was christened in this church, and his wedding to Princess Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg also took place here.
THE VENTA WATERFALL
The Venta waterfall (Ventas rumba) is the widest waterfall in Europe. This 249 meter wide naturally formed waterfall is associated with a number of legends and historic events.
Because of the device for catching fish which was invented by Duke Jacob, in old times Kuldīga was known as a town where salmon were caught in the air.
In 2007, Kuldiga was recognized as EDEN or the greatest tourist destination in Europe.
ST. CATHERINE CHURCH IN KULDĪGA
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saint Catherine (Katrīna) is Kuldīga's oldest house of God and one of the oldest buildings in the town. On 29 December 1967, the church was granted the status of a state-protected architectural monument.
The church that stood in this location as early as in 1252, was later replaced by a new building. The altar is decorated by mannerism style woodcarvings. Duke Jacob was christened in this church, and later married to Princess Charlotte Louise of Brandenburg.
THE OLD BRICK BRIDGE ACROSS THE VENTA RIVER
The old brick bridge across the Venta was built in 1874 and is the longest bridge of this kind of road bridge in Europe – 14 m.
It was built according to 19th century standards – 500 feet long and 26 feet wide, allowing two carriages to pass.
It consisted of seven spans of brick vaults. During World War I two of the spans were blown up.
THE HISTORICAL CENTRE OF KULDĪGA
Kuldīga is a small and attractive town in Kurzeme which has always been admired and praised by poets and painters. The city centre, which developed in the 17th –18th centuries, has still preserved the old wooden buildings which form small and narrow streets.
At present, the old town of Kuldīga and the red-brick bridge across the river Venta are candidates for inclusion in the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage. The town is also famous for the widest waterfall in Europe.
Ēdole Castle is situated in a park on the banks of Ēdole Lake. It is still inhabited. Ēdole Castle was built in the period from 1264 to 1276 and has been rebuilt several times.
The permanent exhibition of this medieval castle consists of the white, red and green halls, the library, the round tower room, and the children’s toy room.
The Republic of LATVIA is a country in the Northern Europe, on the East coast of the Baltic Sea. It is one of the three Baltic States and a member of the European Union.
- Area: 64 589 km2
- Population: 2 003 900 (as of 2013)
- Political system: a parliamentary republic
- Official language: Latvian
- Capital city: Riga (population - 723931)
- Currency: Euro (EUR), 1 Euro = 100 cents
- Time zone: GMT + 2, from April to November: GMT + 3
Latvia is one of the greenest countries in the world with unspoilt nature ( 500 km long sandy beaches and 45% of the territory covered by natural forests).
Latvia has rich historical heritage unique in Europe, culture and beautiful architecture and lot of places with is worth to visit. Since ancient times Latvia has been in a crossroads between East and West and between the South and the North, therefore it is a multicultural country where is various traditions.