Latvia is one of Europe's Last hidden treasures. The country is plotted with small picturesque medieval towns, country castles, museums and folk parks, ruined fortresses and, occasionally, grand palaces. Everywhere you will find intriguing evidence of distinctivelLatvian customs, crafts and culture, and of a determination to preserve and restore the best of the nation's heritage. The access to the Baltic Sea and the important Daugava River made early the area to an important point on the trading routes from North Europe to Russia and Byzantium. But the location brought not only wealth but also strive and throughout the centuries the area was subjected to foreign rule - all or various parts of country were governed at different times by Germany, Sweden, Poland, Russia and Soviet Union. As a matter of fact Latvia has only existed as an independent state for two short historical periods - during the 2 world wars in the last century and again from August 1991 when Latvian independence was restored in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. After centuries of foreign domination, Latvia is again transforming herself into an economically and politically stable democracy, ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
From most European cities Riga is close both time-wise and geographically. Within Riga too, everything is close and compact - next to the medieval Old Town you will find the New Town build in the 19th century after the city fortifications were taken down with green parks and broad boulevard and the Art Noveau districts. Riga is the capital of Art Nouveau. No other city in Europe can boost such fine examples of Art Nouveau and buildings in this particular style occupy more than one third of downtown Riga. Miraculously the medieval Old Town has been neither badly damaged by war nor disfigured by high rise development. You'll fall in love with these cobbled narrow streets. Wherever you turn you'll find a wealth of historic buildings such the Dome Cathedral with it's world famous organ, St. Peters Church built back in 1209 with first clock in the city or Guild Square with the Large and the Small Guild that represent a former glory of Riga as a Hanseatic City. Today vast reconstruction works, new comfortable hotels, modern office buildings, cozy restaurants and fashionable shops help makes Riga to recapture its former beauty and to become the New Baltic Metropolis.
Shop for Christmas presents in the capital of Latvia, Riga!
The seventh edition of the festival of light "Staro Rīga" will be held this year. The festival has become highly popular and anticipated among Rigans and tourists. In 2015 it was visited by about 500,000 people – an absolute attendance record for the festival. "Staro Rīga" is an exhibition of outdoor installations, used to transform Riga's panorama using modern light and video technology. With the help of modern light and video technology, the festival will present around one hundred outdoor installations - building lights, multimediaprojections in parks, on high-rise buildings and monuments. The play of light makes the autumn drabness disappear, and opens up acompletely different view of the city. The highlights of festival are on November 18th- The In dependence of Latvia, it was proclaimed on 18 November 1918 at the Latvian National Theatre. This day in Latvia is a public holiday — public institutions and the majority of private enterprises are closed, various events take place throughout the day