Place of interest

Place of interest

The Freedom Monument
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The Freedom Monument, so-called because of its dedication to "Fatherland and Freedom" marked by the friezes around the base, signals the beginning of Brivibas street in the centre of Riga. The monument proves that size indeed does matter, as at 42 metres high the monument is visible from many angles in the Central District, guiding the lost tourist to Brivibas. The woman at the pinnacle, known simply as the 'Liberty Statue' or affectionately as 'Milda,' holds three stars symbolizing the three regional parts of Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale. In perhaps Latvia's prime example of tragic optimism, the statue was unveiled in 1935 during the very brief period of the nation's actual freedom. Luckily, even the Soviets didn't dare topple this symbol during their reign, and now it once again represents Latvia's independence, where locals place flowers at the base to remember.

Latvian National opera
The building of Latvian National opera has been built as the first German theatre. It was built on the embankment of the city channel, on the place, where city fortifications used to be. The construction works continued form 1860 until 1863. The author of the project is Ludvig Bonstedt. In the June of 1882 the inner rooms of the theatre have burnt. The renovation works have started in 1885 and finished in 1887.The chimney of this boiler-house survived until today, as a deco element. During the World War I, the theatre has been closed and begun its activity as a German city theatre only in 1917. From the 1919 Latvian opera owned it, and at the end of the year the theatre is given a new name - Latvian National opera. During the soviet times form 1994 the opera is known as The Theatre of opera and ballet of LSSR. In the year 1990 the theatre is again know as Latvian national Opera

The guilds

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The Great and Small Guilds were the central homes of two wealthy families of tradesmen and craftsmen. The Great guild brought together merchants & jewelers, whereas the Small Guild had a closed fellowship of craftsmen. Both buildings stand in rivalry of each other today and still serve the city in different ways. The Great Guild is home to the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Small Guild hosts various artistic parties and events. Both the Great and Small Guilds are popular tourist attractions in Latvia. As part of our tailor made citybreaks services, we can book concert tickets at the Great Guild, to coincide with your weekend stay.

The Dome Cathedral

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One of the most distinctive houses of worship is the Dome Cathedral and is one of the main symbols of the Old Town and an important tourism site to visit. Over the centuries it has been rebuilt and reshaped by many occupying nations, which is why there are many apparent architectural styles to the building. The cathedral is also famous for its huge church organ, which has 6718 pipes and is the fourth largest in the world. Around the Cathedral is the Dome square, where there are regular festivities, concerts and cultural events. It’s a beautiful place to discover. A real tourist gem for any type of Baltic holiday you book.

The Cat hause

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There are many wonderful old buildings to discover, but one that receives considerable tourist attention is the Cat House. The building is named after the two cat sculptures which are perched on top of its towers. The story behind these sculptures dates back to the 14th century, where the original owner of the building was disgruntled with the prestigious Great Guild, as they denied him membership. To show his displeasure for the guild, which stood opposite to his building, he placed the black cat, tailed raised and rear end facing it. The cat sculpture created the desired affect and after much deliberation, the owner agreed to turn the cat the other way for admittance of the guild. The Cat House is a popular tourist landmark in Latvia, you’ll be very pleased to find this historical building whilst exploring on your Riga weekend Break.

The House of Black-heads

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The House of Black-heads and the Town Hall were restored in honour of the cities 800th anniversary in 2001 and are an integral part of Riga's architectural landscape. The house is a popular attraction and can’t be missed. The Blackhead's House was first mentioned in 1334 and was originally a place for the citizens to gather but was later rented to the Blackhead Brotherhood. The Blackheads organization was a union of unmarried foreign & Baltic State merchants who lived in the Baltic towns without families. This beautiful Gothic building, which has a concert hall & museum, looks as fantastic today, as it did back in the 14th century and is a must see whilst on a sightseeing tour of Riga. Even if you don’t go inside, the Blackhead’s is a popular photo opportunity.

The Powder Tower

A large building which still stands as testament of the former fortification wall is the Powder Tower. It was originally called the Sand Tower, as it was built to protect the capital from the major ‘Sand Road’ that led into the city. As the tower was adapted for cannons and was the main storage for gun powder, it was naturally referred to as the Powder tower. The tower is an awesome sight to behold, approximately 14m in diameter, 25m in height and the walls are about 3m thick. Find this historical structure on your walking tour of Riga. Contact the Latvia travel specialists or browse through our fantastic city breaks packages on-line.

Riga Castle
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The Livonian order built Riga Castle in 1330, in a strategically well placed position, on the banks of the Daugava River, to oversee all the ships in the port. Throughout the centuries it has seen many reconstructions, the last being in the 20th century by architect E.Laube, who redesigned the interiors of the castle. The castle is now a multi functioning building, hosting a theatre, concerts, the Museum of Foreign Art and is the residence of the president of Latvia. If you would like to experience a concert performance during a weekend breaks holiday at Riga Castle, then enquiry to Vamos Travel about scheduled performances. We’ll be happy to pre-book tickets for classical concerts and operas for our discerning Baltic States city breaks clients.

St. Jacob's Church
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St. Jacob's Church is worth noting on your historical Baltic tours. It dates back to 1225, making it one of the oldest churches in the city. Throughout the centuries it has changed many hands, once Lutheran, next owned by the Catholic Order of Jesuits, then by the Swedish garrison. Today, it is a Roman Catholic church and certainly worth investigating during some point of your site seeing explorations. Interestingly, St. Jacob's Church is the only building in Riga with a Gothic spire and the steeple has a unique characteristic. Take a look for yourselves and mark St. Jacob's Church on your tourist map.

St. Peter's Church
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No Riga city break holiday is complete without visiting St. Peter's Church. The church has a viewing platform that allows its guests to walk 360 degrees around the tower. From the top of this tall spire, the capital reveals itself in a brilliant panorama. From here you’ll be able to take some truly wonderful snap shots and get an excellent orientation of the old city-centre. An 800 year old beautiful mosaic landscape unfolds in front of your eyes, demonstrating why Latvia has some of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the Baltics. St Peter’s is a hub of activity and if you’re lucky whilst on your weekend stay, you can catch some wonderful concerts & exhibitions in this ancient church. St Peter's Church is highly recommended to our clients to see. It’s not off the beaten track, so don’t miss this lovely church.

The Swedish Gate

The only surviving gate to be found, which was originally part of the old fortification wall, is the Swedish Gate. It was completed in 1698, to acknowledge the Scandinavian occupation. During this time, the town’s executioner lived above the gates. Legend has it, he used to place a flower in the window to let passers-by know, that the following day there would be an execution. The Swedish Gate isn’t a main landmark, but is worth knowing, just in case you walk past it. Your Baltic tour certainly won’t be spoilt if you miss it.

The Three Brothers

The Three Brothers stand side by side, like a design ensemble, showing Riga’s architectural diversity, from medieval to Baroque. These are the oldest stone residential dwellings in Riga, with the oldest dating back to the 15th century and can be found in the centre of the Old Town. Apart from enjoying the medieval aesthetics of these great buildings, you can also find the Riga Museum of Architecture. It has a large collection of original drawings, plans, blueprints and some great exhibition programs. Certinaly, do not miss the chance to view the Three Brothers, undoubtabely, they are an important piece of Riga’s cityscape. Whether viewing from the outside or taking a deeper look inside, the Three Brothers should be put on your list of must-sees if your planning a city break in Riga or looking for that classical Baltic States holiday.

Art Noveau

Riga is first known as the capital of Art Nouveau architecture, also referred to as Jugendstil style by the Germans. Despite the medieval origins, Riga's uniqueness lies in the fact that it boasts the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. Between 1896 and 1913, the city expanded and a housing boom followed. The design style was mainly influenced by German, Austrian and Finnish architects. Walking between the fine Jugendstil style architecture, will be another major reason for an exquisite stay in Latvia. Alberta Street and the neighbouring western part of Elizabetes street are considered to be the heart of Art Nouveau in Riga. The well-known philosopher Isaiah Berlin grew up in Alberta street where many of the buildings were designed by Mikhail Eisenstein.