Riga

Riga


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Riga has not as many sights to offer the visitor as Tallinn or Vilnius, the other Baltic capitals, but the overall collection of architectural styles still makes it worth paying a visit. Riga is the biggest of the Baltic cities with about 1,000,000 inhabitants.

The name of Riga was first mentioned in 1198 when German merchants entered the area defeating the local tribes of Livs. The Germans decided that the place would be the perfect location for a military base and soon it grew to be an important trading center as well. Riga lies on the Daugava River, not far (15km) from its mouth in the Gulf of Riga. There are numerous old buildings in the center of the city, called Vecriga (Old Riga), which is surrounded by a small canal. The Riga Castle was built in 1330 to serve as the headquarters of the Livonian Order. Nowadays it's the residence of Latvia's president. Most historic buildings are of German origin as the area has long been part of that country. For an excellent view over the city you can take a lift up to the spire of St Peter's Church.

Around Old Riga, the New Town was mainly built in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are business centers and residential zones, and the area east of the old town is covered with 19th century parks and wide boulevards. In 1935, the Freedom Monument was erected and it will serve you as the city's main reference point. The lively central market to the south of the Old Town is housed in several WWI zeppelin hangars. It is crowded with locals and a good place to sit down and watch daily business going on.

Riga's only remaining synagogue and the Jewish Museum are located in the Maskavas suburb. During WWII this was the Riga ghetto where people were gathered for deportation. About 8 km (5 miles) east of Old Riga, there is an exhibition of cars that belonged to Soviet luminaries Gorky, Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev in the Riga Motor Museum.

On the Doma laukums (Dome Square) there are many terraces and open-air cafés during the summer. It is a very lively place especially in the evenings. There are many good restaurants and food-bars in the city that offer a wide variety of dishes.


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Miscellaneous Information

Latitude:    56 57 N
Longitude: 24 06 E
Elevation:  20 m (66 ft.)

Population: 1,000,000
Cost-of-living compared to Washington D.C.: n/a

Hours from UTC: 3
Daylight savings time: Late March through late October

City phone code: 132
Country phone code: 7

Average Weather Patterns

 TemperaturePrecipitation
January-4.2°C (24.4°F)3.3 cm (1.3 in)
April5.3°C (41.5°F)3 cm (1.18 in)
July17.8°C (64°F)7.6 cm (2.99 in)
October6.7°C (44.1°F)5.1 cm (2.01 in)

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