In the footsteps of Tolstoy’s War and Peace
23316 · By Joel Draba-Mann
Brilliant, bold and brimming with elegance – BBC’s War and Peace may have ended, but you can join us on our own tour of the cities featured in Tolstoy’s iconic novel.Read more
Riga is a truly pretty sight, whose skyline is filled with church steeples pointing to the sky. Regarded as one of the most dynamic capital cities within the Baltic States, Riga is a vibrant big city, with broad avenues, majestic Art Nouveau palaces, trendy cafés, restaurants, and shopping centres. Riga is, above all, famous for its spectacular Art Nouveau architecture. There is no other European city with so many buildings featuring that particular 19th century style. The easiest way to discover these architectural delights, which you won't find anywhere else, is to explore the city on foot.
A must for any visitor to Riga is a trip through the labyrinth of cobbled streets in the Old Town. This wonderful part of the city has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. As you explore the winding streets, you'll pass more than 150 historical and architectural monuments, the oldest of which date from the 13th century. It is very easy to get lost in the narrow streets and alleys, but just as easy to find your way out - something that is part of the experience when visiting Riga.
As you leave the Old Town and head for the city, you will see the Freedom Monument (known as "Milda" to Rigans). This 138 feet (42 metre) tall statue, a symbol of Latvia's freedom and independence, towers gracefully between the Old Town and the city. The tower's honour guard changes shifts every hour on the hour during the day.