This is a very popular destination due to the spas, but Latvia’s capital is rich with cultural sites of a different nature as well.
The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
Date of Inscription: 1998
Category: Cultural site
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 852:
“Riga was a major centre of the Hanseatic League, deriving its prosperity in the 13th–15th centuries from the trade with central and eastern Europe. The urban fabric of its medieval centre reflects this prosperity, though most of the earliest buildings were destroyed by fire or war. Riga became an important economic centre in the 19th century, when the suburbs surrounding the medieval town were laid out, first with imposing wooden buildings in neoclassical style and then in Jugendstil. It is generally recognized that Riga has the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe.”
I arrived shortly before Christmas 2013 on a trip to four Old Towns in the Baltic Sea region. Riga has over the last few years become an immensely popular destination for us Norwegians. Key words: Spa and shopping. I came to visit just about everything but that. I found an Old Town with a series of fascinating squares, colourful old buildings, lovely parks and an amazing collection of Art Nouveau buildings. As a Norwegian my thoughts went to the Art Nouveau (Jugend style) town of Aalesund. There are some nice, old wooden houses inside Riga as well, but I took the train to the beautiful beach resort at Jurmala to witness an even wider range of them. Riga has just about anything a visitor might wish for.