Wednesday, October 17, 2018

NORTHERN COUNTRY TOUR - RIGA (Latvia)

Here is a map of the whole tour and how it started.


Leaving Estonia, we entered Latvia and headed for Riga, said to be the most vibrant of the Baltic
cities.

In contrast to its smaller neighbours, Riga goes all out with a buzzing atmosphere and impressive Art-Nouveau architecture. Together with Grace our tour leader we went on a walking tour through the city, for a little hour the rest of the day we were on our own to discover the town.





The cat house. It is known for the two cat sculptures, with arched backs and raised tails, on its roof. It is said that the owner of the house wanted the cats to be placed with their tails turned towards the house of the Great Guild, which is nearby, as he held a grudge against its members.




I saw lots of cats as decoration or statues in Riga like here in front of a souvenir shop, or on the doors of a shop.



The park with a bridge full of love locks



Just besides is the Freedom monument a 42m statue dedicated to Latvians who lost their lives fighting for independence between 1918 and 1920.



On the Dome square we were lucky to see 149 bears, symbolizing UN countries an exhibition for peace in the world.

They are painted in various ways by artists. Their temporary presence is a centenary gift from Germany and they are known as 'Berlin Bears' or 'United Buddy Bears'. They have already been to 30 other cities around the world. The Buddy Bears stand together “hand in hand”, symbolising the future vision of a peaceful world. Each bear stands for the people of the different countries and their culture,  no politic !

The bears stand on two legs with their front paws raised. They stood there in place until August 22nd, just when we were in Riga.




I found this chain very special



House of Blackheads.

If you were a German merchant and single in the Middle ages, you’d have a room here at the House of the Blackheads. This house was built in 1334 for upper class merchants and was used as a venue for meetings and banquets.

The House of the Blackheads is to Riga what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris



Nativity cathedral

Orthodox cathedral dating to the 19th century with golden domes & ornate interior architecture.



There was also a McDonald, but I preferred local food !



At the end of the road you can see the Powder Tower  which originally was a part of the defensive system of the town. The Powder Tower was restructured in the years 1937 to 1940 when it was included to the structure of the Latvian War Museum.





The Swedish Gate was erected 1698 as a part of the Riga Wall to provide access to barracks outside the city wall.



Narrow lanes !



The Three Brothers is a building complex consisting of three houses. The houses together form the oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga.



The Small Guild is a building erected in the years 1864—66 in Neo-Gothic style.







Beautiful houses in different styles



Riga Central Market is Europe's largest market and bazaar. It is one of the most notable structures from 20th century in Latvia and has been included in UNESCO World Heritage Site list together with Old Riga in 1998. It was planned from 1922 and built from 1924 to 1930.

It was very interesting to walk around and see all the souvenirs you could buy ! Especially amber and wool items.

We found a nice restaurant at the market and had a very nice supper there. We were quite tired of all this walking around and didn't want to walk back to the hotel or take a taxi, we had seen Rickshaws !





As we had never been on a Rickshaw we took one back to our hotel. It was really cheap we only payed 10 € and it was not a short way ! We had a lot of fun and people waved at us and when we arrived at the Radisson Blu, people of our group came out to take pictures ! A young law student was our driver, to earn some money for his studies.

All in all I liked Riga very much, there is a friendly atmosphere in the whole town. Everything was very modern and clean and you could also pay by card at the stands of the market.  Impossible here.
I would love to go back there and visit a bit more the city.





more participants here

8 comments:

Fun60 said...

Great post. Loved reading it. The bears had gone when we visited, maybe I will see them in London. There are a couple of photos where I stood in exactly the same spot to take mine! I agree with you it is a beautiful city and very friendly.

William Kendall said...

The cathedral particularly catches my eye.

Amanda said...

Pretty photos! I used to work for a tour company that specialized in Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia. I was able to visit Russia, but not Latvia. Would love to make it there someday!

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Any city that has a building with cat sculptures on its rooftop is my kind of place. I'm not much interested in cities anymore but I wouldn't mind exploring Riga.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Bears and cats and friendly people. Fascinating history, beautiful architecture and a rickshaw ride. What's not to love? (it sounds like a wonderful destination seriously.)

Uppal said...

Very interesting peak into a new world! Well focused lovely images!

Loree said...

Riga looks like a charming place. I really liked the bears. We had taken a rickshaw ride in Washington. It was fun.

Flora Adams said...

Riga always a lovable and attracting place by visitors. I have already finished a trip with my friend in Riga last month with the help of Baltic Transfers. We visited so many places there, personally, i enjoyed the cat house, Nativity cathedral, and the Swedish Gate. It’s a very beautiful city and very friendly. We had taken a rickshaw ride in Riga. We loved the food very much. Thank you for the post I enjoyed very much. Riga is a charming place. it was a memorable journey.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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