Are you planning to visit Latvia, the beautiful ex-Soviet republic on the Baltic Sea? Then you must know a few things about the three most important cities of this country: Riga, Liepaja and Daugavpils.
Riga is the capital and also the largest city in Latvia, located at the egress of the Daugava River. It has a population of about 700,000 inhabitants and is the largest city of the Baltic region. From a cultural standpoint, the city is known for its Jugend architectural style – a typical German Art Nouveau sub-genre. Its history dates from the Viking invasion, from the Middle Ages, when it began to develop as a fishing and trade center.
The city structure includes several old churches, the famous Riga Castle and the Television and Radio Tower in Riga, the third largest tower in Europe! It is also a cultural center, where there are several museums such as the Museum of Engineering, the Outdoor Museum, the Opera, Circus and almost any other objective of this kind. The city is located on both sides of the river. Its main neighborhoods are Agenskalns, located on the left bank, which was built mostly in the 19th and 20th centuries and here you can find several museums; Tornakalns with many villas and gardens, and if you are interested in Soviet architecture, you can go in Purvciems, the Russian neighborhood.
Daugavpils is the second largest city in Latvia, located on the Daugava River as well. It has a population of 104,000 inhabitants. It is approximately 120 kilometers from the border with Russia and almost half of its population is Russian. The city is an important railway junction and an industrial center that contrasts with many lakes and parks surrounding it. It used to belong to Poland and then to the Russian Empire until 1920. It is also an educational center with art and technical universities. Outside the city, the newly built airport is welcoming the visitors who are eager to find out more about its history, culture, architecture and people.
Liepaja is a city located in the western part of Latvia, on the shores of the Baltic Sea, being a port with a population of 85.000 inhabitants. Do not go there if you have a problem with the wind, because the area is famous for its sea breezes. Therefore, it is near the largest wind plant in Latvia. This city was a major port during imperial Russia, and a very popular resort. Here you will admire various architectural styles such as houses, Jugend (Art Nouveau) buildings in Soviet style and some green spaces and expanses of water. There are a few churches. Tourists often go in the park by the seaside for its sandy and immaculate beaches. Transport network includes buses and a tram railroad.
This is a general depiction, but every street corner and every building is full of legends and beautiful surprises, so come visit!
Photo source: Picture 1: expedia.co.uk; Picture 2: expedia.co.uk; Picture 3: 2015.lvrally.com; Picture 4: bestourism.com; Picture 5: fgb.by; Picture 6: campusluccastudenti.it; Picture 7: grandpalaceriga.com