7 reasons riga is the pearl of the Baltics
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1. Art nouveau style buildings
Riga has one of the world's biggest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings. There are about 800 buildings in the Art Nouveau style, the centre of the district is Alberta Street. Human torsos, animal heads - these beautiful elements you can see on Alberta Street. Alberta street is also home to the Art Nouveau Museum. The museum is located in a former apartment of the famous Latvian architect Konstantins Peksens, who lived there till 1907.
2. The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum
The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is established in 1924 and is one of the oldest of that kind museums in Europe. There are 118 folk style architecture objects located in the territory of 87ha. The museum is easily accessible, just half an hour drive from Riga city centre.
3. Mezaparks or Forest park
Mezaparks ( Kaiserwald in German) is probably the most prestigious neighbourhood in Riga due to many Art Nouveau buildings and Eclectic villas. Mezaparks is a popular recreation area for city residents and tourists, and many of the visitors come here for walking, biking and roller skating.
4. Riga Zoo
Riga Zoo is located in Mezaparks (see description for Mezaparks above). Riga Zoo is one of the oldest Zoos in Baltics and was opened in 1912. It has more than 400 species of wild animals including exotic birds, tigers and polar bears. My advice would be to visit the steamy Tropical House, where you will see reptile animals and insects from the Tropical areas of the world.
5. Riga Central Market
Riga Central Market was opened in 1930, and at that time was the largest and most modern market in the world. The five market pavilions are actually old German Zeppelin hangars. Each pavilion has its own specialisation: fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish, bakery.
6. Monument of freedom
A 42 meters tall monument symbolises young lady Milda holding three golden stars. The golden stars symbolize the provinces of Latvia (Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale). The monument is important freedom symbol of Latvia.
7. Know the legend of the Famous Cat House
Probably the most photographed building in Riga is the Cat house. There is the legend, that the owner of the building was a rich merchant, who was refused membership into the Guild which is located in front of the Cat house. The merchant ordered the cat statues to be placed on his house roof and the cats were placed so that their backs faced the Guild. The guild didn't like such action, so they offered a membership for the merchant, but in return, the Cathouse owner had to turn the cat’s opposite way.
More information about Riga you can read in BalticTraveller blog.