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7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Riga

Riga is the pearl of the Baltic States and is definitely worth your visit. Here are 7 reasons why.

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1. Art nouveau district

Jean-Pierre D. / Via flic.kr

Riga has one of the world's richest collections of Art Nouveau buildings. The city has more than 800 buildings in the Art Nouveau style (more than any other European city) and the centre of the Art Nouveau district is Alberta Street. Lion heads, elegant female and masculine men bodies - all these beautiful elements you will find on Alberta Street. Alberta street is also the location of the Art Nouveau Museum. The museum is a former apartment of the renowned Latvian architect Konstantins Peksens, who lived and worked here till 1907.

2. Ethnographic Open-Air Museum

Karlong C. / Via flic.kr

The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is one of the oldest (established in 1924) and largest open-air museums in Europe. There are 118 folk architecture objects exhibited in the territory of 87ha. The museum is located on the banks of Lake Jugla, just a 30-minute drive from downtown Riga.

3. Mezaparks (Forest park)

Dainis M. / Via flic.kr

Mezaparks (also known as Kaiserwald in German) is one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in Riga due to the large number of Art Nouveau and Eclectic villas for upper-class inhabitants of Riga. This is a popular recreation area and many people come to Mezaparks for biking, roller skating or just for a long walk.

4. Riga Zoo

Leon B. / Via flic.kr

Riga Zoo is located in Mezaparks neighbourhood of Riga. Zoo was opened in 1912 and it has more than 400 species of wild animals including tigers, polar bears and crocodiles. The steamy Tropical House (part of Riga Zoo) will keep you warm all year round.

5. Riga Central Market

Jorbasa / Via flic.kr

Opened in 1930, Riga Central Market at that time was the largest and most modern marketplace in the world. The five market pavilions are located in old German Zeppelin hangars making it very easy to notice. Each pavilion specialises in selling a particular range of products – fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy products, bakery, fish.

6. Freedom monument

Wikipedia / Via lv.wikipedia.org

This 42 meters tall monument depicts young lady Milda holding three golden stars. These stars symbolize the provinces of Latvia (Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale). The monument is built to honour soldiers who were killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-1920). It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence, and sovereignty of Latvia.

7. Legend of the Famous Cat House

Wikipedia / Via en.wikipedia.org

One of the most photographed buildings in Riga is famous due to black cats legend. The story goes that the wealthy merchant (owner of the building) was refused membership into the Guild. The merchant commissioned the cat statues to be placed on his roof and the cats were positioned so that their rear-ends faced the Guild. After such action, the Guild offer membership for the merchant, but the house owner was asked to turn the cat’s rears to face away from the Guild.

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