With 658,640 inhabitants (2012), Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre of the Baltic Sea region. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the river Daugava. Riga’s territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies between 1 and 10 metres (3.3 and 33 ft) above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.
Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. Riga’s historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. The city will be the European Capital of Culture in 2014, along with Umeå in Sweden. The city hosted the 2006 NATO Summit, the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 and the 2006 IIHF Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships. Riga is served by Riga International Airport, the largest airport in the Baltic states.
During the tour you will visit Riga Old Town – the historical and geographical centre of Riga on the right bank of the Daugava. Old Riga covers a relatively small inner area of the 13th-18th century fortifications where unique monuments of medieval architecture which, surprisingly, have survived two world wars are concentrated.
Art Nouveau district – Experts in architecture and art deem that construction of Art Nouveau buildings was especially remarkable in Riga – 40 percent of the buildings in the centre of Riga are in the style of Art Nouveau, hence Riga is justly considered the capital of Art Nouveau architecture.
Central Market – having 72.3 thousand square metres of space and over 3000 trade stands each 1 to 100 square metres large it is one of the largest markets in Eastern Europe and every day is visited by 80 000 to 100 000 people.
Spikeri District – Spīķeri – the Riga City area of creative industries. Once they were warehouses, but now they are a contemporary cultural centre with a renovated architectural environment. The former warehouses of the Spīķeri area are a building complex between Maskavas, Turgeņeva and Krasta Streets.
Ķīpsala – an island on the left bank of the Daugava river, connected to Riga city center and Pārdaugava by the Shroud Bridge. Ķīpsala is divided from the rest of Riga by the Daugava in the east, Roņu dīķis in the north, Zunda in the west and Agenskalna līcis in the south. In recent years Ķīpsala has become a prestigious area for living in Riga.
Drive through the Āgenskalns — a district in Riga, located on the left bank of the Daugava, an old neighbourhood, mainly built in the late 19th – early 20th century and Kalnciema Quarter – an ensemble of buildings representing 18th / 19th century Western European architecture of late classicism and eclecticism executed in wood. The complex is unique in the European level, as the wooden buildings of this period in other countries, have not survived in such concentration.
Duration: 3.5 – 4 hours, including time for transfer.