Riga old town – A short guide for the first time visitor. Riga old town is a very pleasant place to walk around, taking in the history and old buildings.
We have listed a few of the main areas within Riga old town to give you an idea of what to expect.
THE TOWN HALL SQUARE
At one time this was the heart of the city, today it is the home to the city council, the main tourist office, the occupation museum and the house of Black heads. In the center you will see a statue of Roland, said to be a symbol of peace found in many old German town squares. Most locals are not sure who he is but they do like his statue!
The Dome Square has a great significance for Latvians today, as it was here during the independence movement in the January of 1991 that 1000s of Latvian gathered to take part in the Barricades. The Dome church during this time functioned as a hospital and today commemorations and services are still held here. You may also find seasonal markets here and it is a stones throw away from the parliament and the presidents palace, also know as Riga Castle.
One of the most recent squares in Old Riga, having just been created in the mid 20th century. Today it is full in the summer with beer gardens and restaurants. It lies alongside Kalķu iela, which must be said at night, is one of the most undesired places to visit!
THE LATVIAN FREEDOM MONUMENT
Erected in 1935 the Latvian Freedom monument is a symbol of a nation that has been under the rule of so many different oppressors. At the top of the monument you will see Milda, the symbolic feminine Latvian image. She holds 3 starts that represent the 3 regions of Latvia that exisited during the first republic.
Originally part of the city defences this magnificent example of human engineering encircles Riga old town and marks a boundary line of where the Old town ends and the city center begins. If you are lucky you may see some of the Riga Beavers who live in the canal, the city council is even offering a reward for a human way to get rid of them! Rent a rowing boat or hop on one of the canal boats that nip around the city and on to the Daugava.