Main sights in Riga, Jurmala, Latvia
Latvia’s key tourist attractions are concentrated in Riga. It is therefore possible to visit them all in one day since they are mostly located in the Old Town or within the borders of the historical centre.
Rundala Palace and Turaida Castle are the most popular tourist sights outside the capital.
Riga castle was founded in 1330 after the old castle (Konventa Seta) was destroyed. In 1642 as Riga was in the power of Sweden, a new wing was built on the Daugava side which remained in its primordial condition until nowadays.
Three houses on Maza Pils street (Small Castle street). It is a fine example of the dwelling architecture of middle-age Riga.
Construction of the dome Cathedral and the monastery started in 1211 and continued through many centuries. The 90 meter high tower finally found its baroque style in 1766.
The Swedish Gate was but through in Riga's fortress wall in 1689.
The only tower that remained of Riga's fortress wall. Built in the XIII century, it was the largest and protected the land entry of the city until the XVII century.
The building was founded in 1910. According to the legend, a rich merchant, a Latvian, who was not desired in the Guild, where Germans ruled, built a house and put to cats on top of it and turned them with their backs to the Guild.
Guilds - citizen unions and professional societies - started in 1221. The Small Guild was founded in the XIII century. The first building was built in the XIV century and was rebuilt several times. The modern building was built 1864-1866 and was recently restored year 2000.
The Freedom Monument if a symbol of independent Latvia. From the moment Latvia acquires its independence a search for a suitable artistic solution started and donations were gathered. The monument was built in 1931-35, its author was a well-known latvian architect Karlis Zale. The statue of Liberty (sculpturer R. Mirsmeden) holds three stars - the symbols of historical areas in Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale.
Since 1202 the castle of the Order Sword Brothers . The houses and yards near got called "konventa yard" according to the name of building type.
St. Peters cathedral was first mentioned on 1209. It was the main church building of medieval Riga. One of the oldest schools worked here.
The House of Blackheads was first mentioned in 1334. It was originally a place for citizen gatherings, later (in the XV century) Riga counsil rented the main hall to the Blackhead Brotherhood - a union of young unmarried foreign merchants. They chose St. Mauricius - his symbol - a black head is captured on the coat of arms of the brotherhood.
Riga is also special for the fact that 80-90% of the buildings in the center of the city are houses built on the boundary of the XIX-XX centuries, most of them are Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) buildings.
The Central Market in Riga is the largest market in Europe. It consists of 4 main pavilions (meat, fish, vegetable and dairy pavilions) that come around commercial rows and stalls.
Sigulda is located near Gauja National Park, and provides a wonderful starting point for nature excursions. Sigulda was founded around Turaida castle, built in 1207 by the Sword Brothers. The castle was partially destroyed during the Northern war.
This luxurious palace was built by Italian architect Rastrelli to be the Duke of Kurland’s summer residence in the middle of the 18th century.
The Aglone basilica is a remarkable example of 18th century Baroque architecture, and is the most well-known Catholic cathedral in northeastern Europe.