Art Nouveau in the Old City


Riga is justifiably famous for its Art Nouveau buildings and decorations, the most spectacular, flamboyant and ornate of which can be seen in Alberta and Elizabetes ielas and surrounding streets, a short walk to the north east from the Old City. Continue reading “Art Nouveau in the Old City”


The Three Brothers


Tucked away in Mazā Pils iela you will find the Three Brothers – three Medieval to Baroque period houses, in a terrace like format. In medieval times houses at this location would have been on the outskirts of the city and home to craftsmen and their families. Today, the houses are home to the Latvian Museum of Architecture (No 19 – the centre house) and the State Inspectorate for Heritage Protection which you likely would not have cause to visit. Continue reading “The Three Brothers”

‘Graffiti’ in the Old City

Of late I have taken a liking to street art – aka graffiti. Lest my Reader think that I have developed anti-social tendencies in my advancing years, I assure you I am absolutely against wanton destruction of public or private property by tasteless tagging and the like. Continue reading “‘Graffiti’ in the Old City”


Swedish Gate


Riga’s medieval city walls had eight gates. Today only one of those gates, that giving access to Jacob’s Barracks from the Old City, Swedish Gate, remains. Continue reading “Swedish Gate”


Powder Tower


Dear Ladies, and Gentlemen as appropriate, Riga’s Powder Tower is not a fashionable place to powder your nose. Rather, it part of the Latvian War Museum but more on that later. Continue reading “Powder Tower”


Riga City Walls


Like many medieval cities, Riga encircled itself with defensive walls. Originally these ‘walls’ were merely a deep ditch. This was later replaced by a rampart with a wooden fence on top. Over time, due to advances in munitions, these ramparts and wooden walls were replaced with dolomite (stone) walls. Continue reading “Riga City Walls”


The Former Jacob’s Barracks


The Great Northern War saw Latvia move (not that it had any choice in the matter) from occupation by Sweden to occupation by Russia in 1710 and resulted in Riga’s fortifications and barracks being severely damaged. Continue reading “The Former Jacob’s Barracks”


Riga Black Balsam

‘Subtle hints of linden blossom, birch bud, valerian root, raspberry, bilberry, and ginger as well as touches of nutmeg and black peppercorn tease the palate and come alive in the glass’. Continue reading “Riga Black Balsam”


Great & Small Guild Halls


In 1282 Riga joined the North German city trading union, Hansa. The Hanastic League governed all trade along the Baltic seacoast until the 19th century. The League founded the Guild of the Holy Spirit in Riga with the mission of ”fostering conviviality, genteel socialising, feasting, charity and spirituality” among its merchant and master-craftsmen members. Sounds to me like a year round Oktoberfest though that is probably a little less genteel and lacking in the spirituality department! Continue reading “Great & Small Guild Halls”


Time to Get Catty – The Cat House


The Cat House takes its name from two angry black cats, one perched on each of the two turrets of this rather grand 1909 Medieval / Art Nouveau styled house, located across the road from the Great Guild. Continue reading “Time to Get Catty – The Cat House”