• Historic Centre of Riga

Visit: 11th-12th November 2017

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Riga, capital of Latvia, was the destination of our only full-size lads trip in 2017. Earlier this year I travelled with Nowell to Hamburg and with Ross to Le Havre, but since there were only two of us each time they don’t really count. This time around we had Nowell, Ross, Chirag and – having not joined us since the trip to Germany in 2012 – David.

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It was mid-afternoon and already going dark by the time we checked in to the hotel, so that left little to do but our favourite activity – drinking, eating and then drinking some more. The hotel featured a smoking room, which would probably not be allowed in Britain today and felt like a portal into the distant past.

The next morning we stepped out to explore the city. Riga was put on the UNESCO list as a result of its Hanseatic history – much like Bergen, and several other cities in the region.

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The Latvians are a patriotic people, judging by the number of flags that fly in the streets. They achieved independence from the Soviet Union in 1990 as the era of Communism came to a close. One of the highlights of our Saturday sightseeing was the tower of St Peter’s Church, which gives a good view of the cityscape and the Daugava River.

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We later walked out from the centre to find Albert Street, which is known for its collection of Art Nouveau buildings. Many of these were designed by Russian architect Mikhail Eisenstein – father of the film director, Sergei.

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Being located on the North European Plain has meant Latvia was often subject to the machinations of its powerful neigbouring empires. In the 17th century Riga was a significant town in the Swedish Empire, which covered much of Scandinavia and the Baltics. The Germans and the Soviets both controlled it in the 20th century, but nowadays it is a proudly independent member of the European Union.

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3 thoughts on “• Historic Centre of Riga

  1. Pingback: • Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct | Tom's World Heritage Site travel blog

  2. Ernest

    Thank you Tom, for this account of your travels in L Latvia.

    Have you heard that, in May, Rosie and I, together with Rosie’s friends Debbie Cox and Elizabeth Saxon, are going to Albania? We are walking across part of Albania staying in local people’s houses. This is being led by my friend, Tom Higgs, who now does this sort of thing for a living. I know Tom through scouting.

    I went on at a cross country skiing holiday with Tom and some explorer scouts in 2014. I was hopeless and could not let myself go on the slightest little incline it at all, Fortunately, we were staying at the same place each night. So Tom and the other man, on the trip, and the 6 teenagers went of touring the mountains and having adventures each day, while I went of walking and exploring on my own.

    Hopefully, I will be better at walking that I was at cross country skiing. At least I know that I can walk.I can walk.

    The reason for telling you all this is because I have just got, from the library, the Lonely Planet Guide to Eastern Europe, so I am learning a bit about Eastern Europe. I really know very little.

    with love

    Heather

    ________________________________

    Reply
  3. Pingback: • Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen | Tom's World Heritage Site travel blog

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