A Riga introduction

As you know we have just been to Riga and thought I would just give a bit of info about this great city.

Morten taking a picture of "Stalin's Birthday Cake"

Morten taking a picture of “Stalin’s Birthday Cake”

Riga was founded in 1201, but before that there was a small natural port here called Duna Urbs. The vikings did trading here when they passed by on their way to Byzantium. Trading Amber was one of Riga’s main sources of income, an inn Riga today they have tons of Amber shops and all kinds of souvenirs made from Amber.

In 1207 Bishop Albert started the fortification of the town, they were constantly being attacked by Germans, Finns and of course the Danish Vikings. I know the Vikings were brutal and did horrible things, but I’m Danish and has always been fascinated by them and their conquest:)
In 1658 Sweden won the 2 year long battle against Russia, and Riga remained the largest city in Sweden until 1710.

Back to the Russians they went: Riga became an industrialised port city of the Russian empire, and stayed this way until World War I. By 1900, Riga was actually the third largest city in Russia after Moscow and Saint Petersburg.. Well done Riga.

RigaSunset

The port is beautiful now, imagine it with big wooden ships

So between the first and second world war, Riga was the capital city off Latvia for the first time. And then came the soviets….again, I kind of feel sorry for them, that is a lot of back and forth… A shout out to all the big nations of the world, could you please leave the baltic counties alone:)

There are still a lot of Russians in Riga, and everything is written in both Latvian and Russian. Some of the Russians don’t even want to learn latvian. According to the 2011 census data, ethnic Latvians made up 46.33% of the population of Riga, with the percentage of ethnic Russians at 40.21%.

RigaOldTown

Riga is a beautiful city: the center is Riga Old Town and has a big mix of architecture, some is from the middle ages, some is like Dutch Renaissance and some Art Nouveau.

This Dutch looking building is the House of the Blackheads is a building situated in the old town across from city hall. The original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads.
Sadly the structure was bombed to a ruin by the Germans in 1941 and the remains demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999.

Rigahistory

Some buildings in Riga are crazy, they look like mini castles

The Art Nouveau forms a ring around riga Old town, and is worth exploring. I will get into it in another post:)

Riga has plenty of parks to hang out in, and their movies are shown in original language in cinemas. We took advantage of this 3 times during our 5 day stay. We needed to relax and the prices were very good. We went to ForumCinemas, i highly recommend it if you need a break:)

RigaForumCinemas

Latvians are crazy about Ice Hockey, and won the Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships in 2006.. Catch a game if you get the chance. We have seen a game or two in between sightseeing and work. Morten has been working with a site selling used computers, and it’s a great thing to be able to work on the road. This trip was also a test in working on a distance, and it worked really well 🙂 

If you want a view of the hole city, you can pay 5 Lat and climb the stairs to the top of the Saint Peter’s Church. It is located in the heart of Old Town, so easy to find:)

Hope you enjoyed:)

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