Official language: Latvian
Time zone: UTC+3 (summer), UTC+2 (winter)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
An interesting fact concerning citizens of Riga is that, Latvians make only a bit more than half of them. Second biggest nation are Russians – they make for 40% of population.
In Riga there is the highest building in Latvia, which is also the highest building of the whole European union and 15th in the world. It is a TV-radio tower that has 368,5 metres of height.
On the area of Riga there are as much as 22 parks that altogether cover around 7000 ha. The most popular one is Mezaparks – the Forest Park, whose huge part is coniferous forest. A perfect place to rest.
Riga is the capital and biggest city in Latvia, number of population in the whole country is smaller than in Warsaw itself. Riga’s old city was enlisted on UNESCO World Heritage List and is definitely worth visiting. Due to its small area, Riga is a perfect destination for a weekend trip. In that time you can see its most interesting parts and manage to feel the vibe of the seaside capital.
The capital of Latvia is one of the biggest concentration of secessionist architecture in Europe, as there are more than 800 buildings erected in that style, that is why a trip to that destination will be a real treat for its lovers. The most examples of this style you can find by Elizabeth Street and Albert Street. Interesting ones are the House of Cats, located at 10 Meistaru Street and House of the Blackheads at Rātslaukums 7, that at the same time is very well recognized symbol of the city.
Where does the name of, aforementioned above, the House of Cats come from? On its roof there are bas-reliefs of two representatives of these animals, that appeared on it as part of an ironical reaction to the decision of the Great Guild not to grant membership to one of the merchants – the owner of the house. Other cat accents in Riga? On the area of the Old Town you will see many small, wooden houses built especially for these fur friends.
In search for the best and freshest products it is best to go to the Central Market located in the heart of the city. Its history goes back to 1930, when it used to be the biggest market in Europe. Today it has more than three thousands stalls and though most of it offers food products, from vegetable, through meat to dairy, you can also find there hand-made goods.
Popular elements of regional cuisine are potato sausages, black balm, as well as many species of smoked fishes. These and many other titbits can be tried in one of restaurants specializing in Latvian dishes. Very popular places are, for instance, Milda at Kungu Iela 8 or Riits at Dzirnavu iela 72.