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The different faces of Riga

Riga Travel Blog

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the Freedom Monument

This morning I bought some breakfast in the supermarket. I tried to get some bread with something sweet and some milk, but I really couldn’t make sense of the language so I just tried something. The bread turned out to be with salmon, and the milk turned out to be yoghurt, heheh.

There is more to see in Riga than just the old town, and today I would discover some other places. I walked out of the center into the newer districts and the first thing I encountered was the Freedom Monument. The Latvians seem really happy with this monument and I saw that they sell miniature versions of it in souvenir shops. On top there is a statue of a woman holding three stars, and I am told that these stars symbolize three regions of the nation.

Orthodox cathedral


The old town is ringed by a couple of parks, and the park just outside the main entrance to the old town has a very beautiful Russian Orthodox cathedral. This is the first time in my life that I see an orthodox cathedral and I really like the style. Of course I have seen many pictures of orthodox churches and they all seem very colorful and detailed and none are exactly alike. I thought this cathedral was very beautiful, with colored rings around it, and the domes had golden stripes that glittered in the sunlight. Inside the walls were painted with icons and they used a lot of blue, yellow and gold paint. There were many Russian tourists and I noticed that many women who enter wear headscarves.

One thing that Riga is apparently known for, is German Art Nouveau (Jugendstil).
Faces everywhere!
It is a fascinating way of decorating houses with statues and faces. Riga has the largest concentration of Jugendstil in the world. Just like Barcelona has its Gaudi style of architecture that spread through the city, Riga has its wall-bound faces and statues. I went north of the city center, and there almost every building has faces peering down on you. Faces everywhere, aaaaghh! Some are a bit creepy, with open mouths or scared faces. It is well worth taking a look.

Riga is cut in two halves by the Daugava river, and tourists hardly ever go to the other side, so I went there. On this side of the river there is mainly asphalt, exhaust fumes and large grassy parks. It is a gritty neighborhood to walk around. There is a big Soviet monument at the end of the road, for the soldiers of the Red Army who fell against Germany in Latvia.
Soviet monument
It looks unkempt and left alone. In typical Soviet style, it is big, with high columns and two massive statues. One of soldiers and one of, I guess, motherland Russia. I guess most Latvians would have double feelings about such monuments, since the Soviets didn’t exactly “liberate” their country. On my way back I came across another beautiful orthodox church with bright blue onion domes.

I had really walked a lot that day and I was developing a blister. It was very hot outside and my feet and legs hurt. I really needed to take it easy and let my body recover for the rest of the trip. I pushed myself too far today. As a tourist you’re just very focused and you want to take it all in. I’m completely exhausted.

I had planned a hike tomorrow. I am still going to do it.

Koralifix says:
Congrats on having this blog featured, Jeroen! Well-deserved!
Posted on: May 06, 2011
Biedjee says:
I'd love to go here some day...
Posted on: Aug 23, 2010
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the Freedom Monument
the Freedom Monument
Orthodox cathedral
Orthodox cathedral
Faces everywhere!
Faces everywhere!
Soviet monument
Soviet monument
Merchants houses
Merchant's houses
The powder tower
The powder tower
Part of the old city wall
Part of the old city wall
square
square
Faces!
Faces!
Cat house
Cat house
the Freedom Monument
the Freedom Monument
Orthodox cathedral
Orthodox cathedral
Orthodox cathedral
Orthodox cathedral
Faces everywhere!
Faces everywhere!
Faces everywhere!
Faces everywhere!
Faces everywhere!
Faces everywhere!
Streets outside the city center
Streets outside the city center
Faces everywhere!
Faces everywhere!
artwork in front of the university
artwork in front of the university
a university
a university
Domes with golden stripes
Domes with golden stripes
Latvian ale
Latvian ale
Soviet monument
Soviet monument
Soviet monument
Soviet monument
Orthodox church
Orthodox church
Nice blue onions
Nice blue onions
Riga
photo by: sarahthevegasbride