Riga – sites to see and visit in a single day

Old town in Riga

Riga's historic monuments, which densely fill the city's Old Town, are a sufficient encouragement to pay a short visit there. And if you add the city's scenic location at the mouth of the Daugava River to the Gulf of Riga and the proud and rich history of that Hanseatic city, you can be sure that the Latvian capital will steal your heart!

Town Hall Square

Start your adventure with Riga's attractions at Rātslaukums, where you can see the fabulous Building of the Brotherhood of Blackheads. Its history is as amazing as its architecture. Built in the 13th century as the seat of a merchant guild, which is a clear proof of the city's ties with Hansa, it was destroyed during World War II and rebuild only in the 1990s for ideological reasons. The gaping hole made the square ugly and lifeless, but luckily it is shines with a true old township character today.

Town Hall Square with the House of the Blackfraternity

Churches of old Riga

The city's largest Gothic church is also one of its most important sacred monuments. It will amaze you with its spectacular form and history that dates back to the early 13th century. But there is something else – that fabulous work of the Medieval architecture of the North has a high tower on top of which a viewing deck has been arranged. The panoramic view of the Old Town and the Daugava River is truly enchanting! Behind the church's presbytery there is another, slightly smaller, Gothic masterpiece - the splendid St. John's Church. You must get inside and look up – the interior of the nave is covered by a magnificent rib vault ceiling, which makes the building a true treat for architecture lovers. And there is yet another work of art for you to see! This time, it is the city's main Protestant church standing at the Cathedral Square, the largest square in Riga. Dating back to the early 13th century, the temple is considered the largest sacred building in the Baltic States! It is the only Medieval accent at the square, whose sides are otherwise packed with elegant 19th century townhouses. Another church which you can see in the Old Town is the Catholic St. James's Cathedral. It is another large Gothic church, whose form is made interesting by a tower with a high hemlet – together with its clock, it has become a characteristic city landmark.

view of riga cathedral





Livu Square

You are going to love that charming square, particularly the side with partially reconstructed old and colourful townhouses. Once filling all the square's sides, they have been replaced by later buildings with time. Among the gems which you should note are definitely the buildings the Great and Small Guilds. Both built in the Middle Ages, they were used by the city's merchants as venues to hold meetings, make bargains, and enjoy some entertainment. Both were rebuilt in the 19th century and given their present Neo-Gothic look. The bigger one is a concert hall, while the smaller one a cultural centre. When at the square, note the famous House of Cats from 1909, i.e. the townhouse with a statue of a cat on top! You can safely assume that this atmospheric places contains unique attractions, characteristic of Riga's history and culture.

view of the Cat House

Teutonic Castle

The official heart of Latvia beats in the castle that stands on the very shore of the Daugava River, which today serves as the residence of the Latvian President. Furthermore, the majestic building is also home to several museums, including the National Museum. The fortress has long history with an interesting Polish accent. Built in the first half of the 14th century for monks of the Teutonic Order who were operating in Livonia. In 1562, Grand Master Gottard Kettler paid tribute to a Polish envoy here, and since then up until 1621 the building housed the seat of the viceroy of Poland.

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