Tips for Riga - Capital of Latvia
Botanical Garden - Riga
Botanical Garden in Riga
With its numerous parks and location by the Daugava River and the Baltic Sea, Riga is one of such European places where it's easy to escape from the bustle of traffic, the crowds and the skyscrapers. A special place is located a mere 13-minute drive from the cobblestones of city center - the Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia.
The summer is a perfect time to visit the garden, when the grounds are lush with blooming flowers and other forms of greenery.
The Palm house (Palmu maja) houses various tropical trees and bushes, including a stately palm tree that is nearly 100 years old, as well as an extensive cactus collection.It sis the tallest greenhouse in the Baltic countries and has had its roof raised several times to accommodate the growing trees.
The Butterfly House (Taurinu maja) is another attraction. Here, about 200 tropical butterflies flutter about in a hot and humid jungle atmosphere, sometimes even alighting on the visitors and generating a truly exotic atmosphere. The largest butterfly species in this special greenhouse has a wingspan of 30 cm.
Synagogue of Riga
The Synagogue of Riga
Hidden on Peitavas iela, a quiet street in the labyrinths of Old Riga, is an Art Nouveau gem that even many locals are unaware of. Also known as the Peitav Shul, the Riga Synagogue celebrated its 110th anniversary in 2015. Designed by Wilhelm Neumann and Hermann Seuberlich, it is one of the few Art Nouveau houses of worship in Riga and is open to the general public on workdays for a modest entry fee of three euros. The synagogue incorporates both Art Nouveau and Ancient Egyptian architectural elements, its elegant facade featuring the Star of David, palm leaves and other Middle Eastern motifs.
During the Nazi German occupation of Latvia from 1941-1945, all of the capital city's synagogues were burned to the ground, except for the one that remains in Old Riga. Instead, the building was used as a warehouse until the end of the war.
During the subsequent Soviet occupation, the synagogue continued to function despite the pressure of the authorities. After the end of the war, it was revealed that the Torah scrolls had been saved by the priest of the nearby Lutheran-Reformed Church. These scrolls are once again prominently housed in the Ark at the heart of the synagogue.
Shopping in Riga - Galerija Centrs
The historical stairways of the Galerija Centrs shopping center is now hosting a unique photo exhibition with 63 significant snapshots illustrating the history of Galerija Centrs. This unique project has been created in collaboration with Latvian museums, repositories and archives. The exhibition displays historical materials sourced from 13th century chronicles symbolically depicting the historical importance of the site; back then the Ridzene River flowed on the site whee the shopping center now is located, and the banks where a place of active trading already at that time.
Transport in Riga
Renting a Bike
Moving in Riga is easy when you use public transport or rent a bike. A breakdown of the city's possibilities.
The first and oldest bicycle rental company in the Old Town of Riga is BicycleRent LV. The offer guided tours with a hands free tour guide system. They have a tour in Old Town which takes 3 hours and shows all the highlights but they also offer a tour through the outskirts of town. The tours run daily between 10.00 and 15.00.
Address: Kaljeu 48
At Town Hall square you'll find Rigabiketours. They offer a 12.00 Morning Cruise, through the park lands of Riga and to the rivers banks. This relaxed tour takes 2 hours. If you like to see central Riga, take the 15.00 City Exploration Tour. You'll see Central Riga, Moscow District, the former Jewish Ghetto and old cemeteries. The tour takes 3 hours.
Telephone: +371 22469888
Use of teh Riga Card is an easy way to discover Riga. It gives a complete independence in the city and makes a visit to Riga more convenient and cheaper (the card also entitles you for many discounts).,
Advantages of the Riga Card are:
Unlimited use of tram, trolleybuses and buses (also from/to the Airport)
A free guided sightseeing tour by bus through Riga Old Town
Free entrance to most of the museums in Riga
Free city guide "Riga in your pocket"
The card can be obtained for 1, 2 or 3 days.
Bus 22 takes 30 minutes to get to the city center; it leaves opposite of the terminal, behind the car park P1. A one-way ticket can be bought from the driver, but it's cheaper to buy one from the "Welcome to Riga" desk at airport information.