The capital of Latvia, the city of Riga, may be ranked among the most interesting cities in the Baltic countries. In spite of the small size of its Old Town, there was created such a comfortable atmosphere that every tourist will like it. The main thing is to be lucky with the weather.
Riga is a major port city, even though it is 40 kilometers from the Baltic Sea, but for tourists only the Old Town, locally called «Vecrīga», may be of interest. The atmosphere of this section of the city remained mostly intact, although it was damaged during the World War II. But today all tourist sights of the city were completely restored.
If you come to Riga in a private car, you should stay at the outskirts of the Old Town, so that all main sights may be within a walking distance, and you may approach the hotel in your car. In the Old Town of Riga vehicular traffic is highly restricted, and non-residents are at all prohibited to enter the Old Town in their cars.
You should start your tour of the Old Town of Riga from the Town Hall Square where the House of the Blackheads is located. And behind the building of the Town Hall there runs a very picturesque Flower street. There are many restaurants there, and the street itself was often used as a shooting location for famous Soviet films, such as «Seventeen Moments of Spring» and «Sherlock Holmes». Flower street opens into the Dome Square.
It is there that the main sight and the landmark of the city – Riga Dome Cathedral - is located. You should see it from inside, although you`d better buy a ticket for a concert of classic music to hear the sound of the famous organ of the Riga Dome Cathedral. On the pavement of the square you can see the lines marking the places of destroyed buildings that let you to estimate the compactness of the medieval Old Town of Riga.
From the Riga Dome Cathedral you may go past the Three Brothers to the Riga Castle. There you may visit the museum or walk along the embankment of the river Daugava. From the Riga Castle you may go through the narrow medieval streets to the Jacob`s Barracks where there remained the city walls of Riga, old towers and houses built close to the walls.
From the Jacob`s Barracks you may go to the Livu Square and sit there at one of the numerous restaurants. Nearby St. Peter`s Church is located, with its high spire being a city dominant. You must ascend the observation deck of St. Peter`s Church. From there you can have a very beautiful view on the Old Town of Riga and all its sights.