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Riga Latvia Walking Tour

  • Take a trip back in time to the Middle Ages at Riga Castle
  • Stop by the Three Brothers – Riga’s oldest residential buildings
  • Learn some Latvian history at the Freedom Monument and the Parliament of Latvia
  • Admire impressive architecture at the House of the Blackheads
  • See the city’s stunning Opera House
  • Visit several of Latvia’s oldest and most prized places of worship including Riga Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church
  • Hear about the city’s past at Dome Square and Riga Town Hall

Lots to see on our walking tour through Riga.

Freedom Monument
Kalku iela
The monument is 42 meters tall and depicts "Milda" holding three golden stars (symbolizing the provinces of Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale). It was build to honor soldiers who were killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-1920). Between 10am - 4pm there is a two man honor guard (although, we didn't notice that!). It also say "Tēvzemei un Brīvībai" which means "For Fatherland and Freedom".

Orthodox Cathedral
Brivibas bulv. near Esplanade Square
We noticed here, as well as at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Tallin, that no photos are allowed inside. While the Christian Cathedrals range from very ornate to quite plain, the Orthodox churches tend to be elaborate with lots of gold inside. The Cathedral was erected in the 1860s, although apparently the golden dome on the outside is relatively new. During Soviet times it was a planetarium, cinema and a cafeteria. It now is open for worship again.

Laima Clock
Brivibas and Aspazijas corner
One thing you learn at the Laima chocolate museum is they take pride in this clock. It became "famous" because it was a well known landmark where locals and lovers alike would meet. It started off as just a clock, but overtime, Laima was able to add it's name to it -- and it stuck as permanent advertising!

Riga Bourse Art Museum
Doma laukums 6
150 year old gallery.

Museum of Barricades of 1991
3 Kramu Street
Mo-Sa: 10:00 - 17:00
We learned about how Latvia - in resisting the USSR - denied the Russians access to important buildings by putting up barricades in key places around the city. In this model that represents the barricades, you can see how trucks and large vehicles - filled with lumber and garbage, were placed around city buildings to block access. Doing this was key to regaining independence in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1991. Large numbers of the population participated - in this unarmed resistance.

Riga Cathedral
Doma laukums
The cathedral is approximately 800 years old! It's one of the oldest and biggest cathedrals in Latvia. During Soviet times, it was used as a concert hall. It is now a Lutheran church.

Jewish Synagogue
Peitavas street 6/8
Build 1904. Art Nouveau architecture.
We visited the only synagogue that was spared from being destroyed during the Nazi occupation. Most buildings were destroyed by burning, however, this synagogue is in a very dense part of town, thus, the Nazi's felt burning was too risky.

The inside was interesting in many ways. (1) There were stained glass windows (obviously not traditional Christian type of scenes, but flowers); (2) There are balconies, and (3) It is a bit more ornate and more colorful than other synagogues (or at least of the ones I have visited).

Museum of Occupations
Strelnieku laukums 1
Tu-Su: 11:00 - 17:00
Unfortunately, this museum is being renovated so we saw a reduced version of it. The story told is very much similar to the Estonia museum we saw. It relates the history of occupation by the Soviets, the Nazi's and, then once again, the Soviets. The LONGGGGG occupation that these countries faced makes me truly thankful to be American and to have lived in freedom as we have.

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