Riga, the capital of Latvia, is one of the most beautiful Baltic cities and European Capital of Culture 2014. The architectural diversity is great, which is particularly evident in the old cathedral. Elements of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism make up its charm. The former palace of Peter the Great near the Cathedral Church has been rebuilt and restored several times. The palace tower offers an excellent view of the city. The old town has been classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is under monument protection. Whole streets with Art Nouveau houses have been preserved. The Jakobi Church was built at the beginning of the 13th century built in the transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. The cornerstone of the former residence of the Teutonic Knights was laid in 1330; this castle with the only surviving city gate, the Schwedentor, now houses numerous museums, including the Latvian History Museum. Peter and Paul Cathedral (late 18th century) is also north of the castle. Craftsmen used to gather in the house of the small guild, while merchants sat in the house of the large guild. The two-aisled »Alte Gildestube« is now used by the Philharmonic. Riga’s landmark is the 137 m high wooden tower of St. Peter’s Church. the Johanniskirche (14th century) is one of the most beautiful buildings of the former bishopric. The medieval town houses, including the so-called Three Brothers (the oldest stone-built dwelling house in Riga) and 24 warehouses in the Old Town are other architectural jewels of Riga.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Latvia, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
The numerous museums offer informative exhibitions on the history of the city and the region. The Museum of Urban, Shipbuilding and Seafaring History has existed since 1773. A treasure trove of national art is the State Art Museum of Latvia. In contrast, the Museum of Foreign Art mainly shows works by Flemish masters. A visit to the Museum of Medical Historyshould be part of every city tour. In the almost 100 hectare open -air museum, created in 1924, there are rural residential and farm buildings from the 16th-19th centuries. Century to visit, which were put together from different regions. The most important landmark of the city is the Statue of Liberty in the Freedom Avenue. The female figure and the stars she holds symbolize Latvia and the three Latvian provinces of Vidzeme, Kurzeme and Latgale.
Nightlife in Riga is legendary: there is a wide range of restaurants, cafes and bars. The Skyline Bar on the 26th floor of the Reval Hotel Latvija offers a fantastic view of the city. If you like it more traditional, you should visit the cellar bar Rigas Balzams – and definitely try the herbal schnapps of the same name! In the summer months, many restaurants open an outdoor area on the side of the road. The local nightclubs offer a diverse program – from wild dancing through the night to quieter blues concerts; Latvian rock and folk music can be seen live in many clubs. Bands often just play in the streets, which attracts young people and often turns into a great impromptu party. In winter, on the other hand, things are much quieter. There is also a lot going on in the Latvian tourist strongholds such as Jurmala during the high season in the summer months, and you can party the night away in a number of bars and nightclubs. Larger cities such as Daugavpils, Ventspils and Liepaja also have plenty of pubs and bars, although these are less geared towards tourists. Latvians love the performing arts. Riga in particular has a diverse range of theaters: the Latvian National Opera (Internet: www.opera.lv) hosts first-class opera and ballet performances all year round. In the Jaunais Rīgas Teātris (New Theater Riga; Internet: www.jrt.lv), works by Latvian and foreign playwrights are performed in addition to modern classical plays.
Strongly influenced by climatic conditions and local crops, Latvian cuisine tends to be hearty. Red meat is a staple of any meal, served either with a creamy sauce or as a warming stew. Fish is often served along the coast. More and more international restaurants are opening in Riga. Sumptuous meals are often washed down with Latvian beer or insanely strong spirits.
Specialties like gray peas with bacon and beer, piragi (yeast dumplings filled with bacon and onions), sorrel soup (with boiled pork, onions, potatoes, pearl barley, hard-boiled eggs and sour cream) and akroshka (milk soup with onions, herbs, cucumber and sour cream ) should be tasted. Alexander cake (with raspberries or cranberries) is often served as dessert.
Drinking (or even carrying an open bottle/can of alcohol) on the streets, in parks or other public places is prohibited in Riga and will be punished with a fine.
Service charges are included in bills. Taxi fares also include a tip.
Popular are miestins (from lemonade and honey), kvass and birch sap. Rigas Black Balsam is a dark liqueur that has been made from numerous ingredients such as ginger, oak bark, bitter orange peel and brandy since the 1700s. It is drunk mixed with coffee or vodka. There are good local beers, including dark bauskas Tumsais and light Gaisais. Sparkling wine is also very popular.
Minimum age for consumption of alcoholic beverages
In Latvia, you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.