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About Riga


Riga is the capital and the largest city of Latvia. Riga is also the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava. Riga has an ancient history and rich cultural heritage. As Riga has always been located at a juncture of trading routes, it is a multicultural city. Today, the city is unrecognizable - chic, lively and overflowing with architectural gems.

Riga earned the long-deserved honour of being named European Capital of Culture for 2014. The old town of Riga has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site but the entire city is particularly notable for its extensive Art Nouveau architecture, comparable in significance only with Vienna, Prague and Barcelona.

Where to See
The House of the Blackheads - The House of the Blackheads, which is regarded as the most beautiful building in Riga, just like the Town Hall, was destroyed in the World War II. After the war, there was great interest on the House of the Blackheads and several projects for its reconstruction were drafted. The House of the Blackheads, originally called the New House, was built in 1334. It has been reconstructed several times from 1522, when stones where set next to the doors, to the late-19th century, when lion figures where set above the front doors and St. George's figure appeared in the annex.

St. Peter's Church - Riga's St.Peter's Church dominates the cityscape as the tallest spire, and as one of the oldest and most valuable monumental architecture edifices in the Baltic States from the Middle Ages. St.Peter's is the tallest of the Riga churches, a significant landmark, and a prime example of the 13th century Gothic style. The church is located in the historic center of Riga, an area that in 1997 UNESCO included on its World Cultural Heritage list.

Town Hall Square - The Town Hall Square in Riga has been completely re-built, since during the World War II the square and its historic buildings were destroyed. The city guests are welcomed by the historical façade of the House of the Blackheads, as well as the reconstructed Town Hall, and other buildings. Town Hall Square is the place where 500 years ago the city Christmas-tree was lit — now a memorial plank can be found here and a new Christmas-tree is decorated every year.

Freedom Monument - The Freedom Monument has been Riga's central landmark for almost a century. This 42.7 m tall granite and copper work of art is a symbol of the Latvian nation's striving for freedom and independence. The woman on top of the monument is holding up three golden stars, which represent Latvia's historical regions of Kurzeme, Vidzeme, and Latgale. The motto "For the Fatherland and Freedom" is inscribed upon the base. It was unveiled on 18 November 1935 and financed entirely from public donations.

Three Brothers - The oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga was constructed in the 15th century. Their name — Three Brothers, was given a very long time ago and, according to a legend, the buildings were constructed by men from one family. Today, the premises house the Latvian Museum of Architecture and the State Inspection for Heritage Protection.

Livu Square - The Square once was the site of the Riga River, which was a shipping route for transporting Latvian grain up to the 16th century. Later it was called the Ridzene River and even Ridziņa as it gradually became narrower. Livu Square is situated between Zirgu, Meistaru and Kaļķu iela. It was "built by" the World War II, when several buildings were destroyed. Today, along the old route of the river, pavement wears away the shoes of countless Rigans and visitors to the city, and beautiful flower-beds remind one of the past times.

Riga Castle - Riga Castle has stood on the right bank of the River Daugava for more than 700 years. Through the centuries, it has seen severe destruction, numerous rulers, and wars. Today it houses the residence of the President of Latvia and a museum.

The Powder Tower - One of medieval Riga's fortification wall towers, originally called the Sand Tower. It was built in 1330.

Useful Information
Safe: Latvia is a relatively safe country in which the overall crime and safety situation has remained static for several years. Visitors to Latvia generally experience a safe and secure environment. For emergencies, call 112.

Money: Latvia's currency is EUR. In Latvia, money can be exchanged at banks or exchange offices. Some banks offer the option of exchanging money at multiple currency ATMs.

Health: If you have health problems, Riga hospitals are more than adequate but it is recommended that every tourist should his own health insurance.

Transportation: Riga city provides public transport services, including trams, trolleybuses and buses. There are 9 tram routes, 19 trolleybus routes and 53 bus routes. They are operated by Rigas Satiksme (www.rigassatiksme.lv). There also minibuses and night buses, which run in weekend nights. They are operated by Rigas Mikroautobusu Satiksme (rigasmikroautobusi.lv). Public transport runs daily from 05.30 until about midnight. Some tram and trolley-bus routes have a night service every hour. Tram, bus and trolley-bus tickets can be bought in two ways; Either from the driver (for LVL 0, 7 = EUR 1, 0), or E-ticket (E-talons in Latvian) in the press kiosks (www.rigassatiksme.lv).

Weather: July is the hottest month in Riga with an average temperature of 17°C (63°F) and the coldest is February at -5°C (24°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 12 in June. The wettest month is August with an average of 90mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in July when the average sea temperature is 20°C (68°F).

Electricity: 230V/50Hz, two-pin plugs are standard.

Dialing Code: +371 (national), 66 (Riga area code).

GMT: +3