Riga, the capital of Latvia, was officially established in 1201 and it is the metropolitan center not only for the country but also for the whole Baltic region. A trip to Riga will introduce you to an excellent architectural legacy, fascinating Riga Old Town, which is listed in UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List and many other houses dating back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. This tour will take you to some interesting places in Riga and you will realize why is Riga called “ The Home Of Christmas”.
Visit Riga Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church and St. Jacob’s Catholic Church
Visit the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design
Enjoy Riga City Festival and Riga street food festival
Explore Christmas Markets In Riga
We will transfer you to your hotel from the Riga international airport. The capital of Latvia is home to one of Europe's most vibrant theatre and classical music pictures. There are few places on earth where folk music is so famous among the young and where folk music festivals hold such importance. Don`t forget to appreciate the passion of opera and ballet in the Latvian National Opera. The city is also one of Europe’s most rapidly growing cities with an abundance of museums, art galleries, cultural events, a wide range of classy restaurants, trendy bars and quality shopping. This tour in Riga will show you one of the largest concentrations of Art Nouveau buildings in the world, around 800 in total. The style is playful, romantic and reflects Riga's pleasant climate.
Visiting the churches in Latvia is a cultural and historical journey through the centuries, filled with their unique artistic, architectural styles. The various sacred architecture has been built in places where different faiths coexisted, and each region of Latvia had its special architectural features.
We will visit the most famous churches in Riga starting with Riga Cathedral, the most significant church in the capital city, which is truly proud of the church organ that is regarded as one of the most precious historical organs in the world. Riga Cathedral is the house of the Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Riga Cathedral congregation’s church, a center of ecumenical services and one of Riga’s organ music centers including the historical, architectural, cultural and artistic heritage of different eras. The building of Riga Cathedral connects features of Romanesque, Early Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles.
Our second place of attraction is St. Peter’s Church. The 72 meters high tower is the highest observation tower in the Old Town. The tower offers a panoramic view of the red roofs of Old Town, the modern part of the city, Riga Bay and the Daugava River with its vast port. This UNESCO’s World Heritage-listed church hall leaves a grand impression, the middle part of it stretches to a height of 30 meters. The altar section with five chapels shows verticality of the Gothic style and fine profiles.
Next, we will visit St. Jacob’s Catholic Cathedral, where along with St. Peter’s Church, the first sermons in Riga were read in 1522 that noted the beginning of the Reformation in Latvia
Nativity of Christ Cathedral, the biggest Orthodox church in Riga, which during the Soviet rule introduced a Centre of Knowledge and a planetarium.
During the Soviet period, in order to hinder the influence of faith and religion churches were often used for other purposes, for instance, the Church of England Congregation of St. Saviour’s housed a student club, whereas several other church buildings were used as warehouses. But now, all churches in Latvia have restored their status.
Visit the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design situated in the former St. George’s Church, the oldest continued stone house in Riga. The entire history of the 800-year-old city is covered within the white dolomite walls of the building.
The collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design mostly comprises artwork and design items created by Latvian artists.
The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design offers insight into a key part of the cultural picture of Latvia, including comprehensive information about individual artists and their oeuvre, as well as the main art forms and trends from the end of the 19th century to date.
A significant part of the museum’s activities is various creative workshops, where any person can learn how to make wool, work with wooden prints for decorating fabric, textile printing, and take part in several other activities, where every person can choose a way to best express his or her creativity.
Next, enjoy Christmas tree trail. The festival is a unique art happening in the urban environment exhibiting the Christmas symbol, Christmas tree, from new, traditional or avant-garde views and solutions. The Festival's spatial objectives are original work created by both experienced creators and artists of urban spatial objects and students of the Latvian Academy of Arts.
Another attraction is Riga City Festival that involves countless concerts in Riga’s concert halls, gardens, and parks, games, entertainment and sporting activities for both adults and children.
Finally, head to Riga Street Food festival. While continuing to explore the true Latvian taste code, chefs from 15 of Riga’s famous restaurants have accepted the challenge to look for the specific taste of winter at the Riga Street Food Festival.
In their cooking performances, the master chefs will create dishes that are not generally served in restaurants, and in such a way the chefs will observe the holidays through their creativity in preparing their own versions of Latvian street food, which will overwhelm even the most demanding of gourmands.
With many diverse Christian values and a strong pagan streak, Latvians observe Christmas (or the Winter Solstice) with gusto.
In fact, there is evidence that the world’s first ever Christmas tree was set up in Riga back in 1510, so Latvia has as full right to the title of “the home of Christmas” as the North Pole!
Maybe every Christmas is not a white one, but you can easily cat into the seasonal spirit.
Just mell the flavor of gingerbread and mulled wine to the Christmas markets around the city.
Beautiful gifts include hand-knitted shawls and mittens and socks, aromatic candles, artisanal spoons, and other woodwork. Take a break from shopping with traditional delicacies like grey peas and bacon, ideal on a crisp winter day.
In the city center, there are markets on Doma Laukums and Livu Laukums squares, as well as in Esplanade Park. As for the gifts, Latvians purchase at the markets, they get to open and enjoy them on Christmas Eve.
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