Our city walk in Riga starts in the streets of the old town, Audeju iela, Grecinieku iela and Marstalju iela. These are popular places to go out for a meal or a drink in the evening. Many restaurants and bars line the streets. In summer they all offer outdoor seating.
We go on to the St. Peter’s Church and Ratslaukums, the central square in front of the House of the Blackheads. Behind the town hall in Tirgonu iela, is Riga’s memorial for the first public Christmas tree.
Allegedly, the Blackheads have decorated their Christmas tree at their annual celebration and switched on the lights the first time here. But it might be a legend because Tallinn claims the same. As a reminder one has put up a symbolic steel Christmas tree adorned with mirrors.
After we have passed narrow medieval lanes, we arrive at the cathedral square, Doma laukums. As the name already indicates, one side of the square is bordered by the cathedral. The rust brown building of the former stock exchange of Riga stands opposite.
Today it houses the Museum of Art. It has the largest collection of Western European and near and Far Eastern art in Latvia as of the 16th century.
In northern direction, we go through the Pils iela. In the background, we can see St. Jacob’s Cathedral, Svēta Jēkaba katedrāle. It is the Episcopal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Riga. In the opposite direction, we find the neo-Gothic Anglican Church of St. Savior, Anglikāņu baznīca.
A few steps away is the white church of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Classicist church was built at the instigation of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Joseph II. It symbolizes the suppression of the Catholic religion by the Reformation in Terra Mariana (Old Livonia).
Right next to it is the Presidential Palace, Riga Castle. It also houses the Latvian Historical Museum.
On the bank of the Daugava, we take another look at the Latvian National Library, the striking television tower TV Tornis, and the Vansu cable-stayed bridge. On the other bank, we see the modern skyscrapers, such as Swedbank.
We return to the Maza Pils iela. Here are the three most striking buildings of Riga, the Three Brothers. Built between the 15th and 17th centuries, the buildings are an excellent illustration of medieval life.
Workplace and apartment were united in one building. Today, the buildings are the seat of the Latvian Museum of Architecture.
We take another look at the St. James’s Cathedral, known for the fact that the church bell is mounted outside the top of the tower, under a small canopy.
On the way to the Jekaba laukums, a small park in the middle of Riga, we pass the Parliament of Latvia. At the other end of the park is the National Theater.
The elongated former workers’ settlements line the Torna iela. On the other side of the street, we see a part of the preserved city wall. At the end of the road stands the mighty Powder Tower. The walls of the circular building are up to 3 meters thick.
At Livu Laukums we first take a look at the Small and Large guild house.
Then it is time to eat in one of the restaurants in the Meistaru iela.
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