Oceania Baltic Cruise–Riga

Riga was founded in 1201 & became a member of the Hanseatic League.  Latvia gained independence in 1918 but was part of (forced into) the Soviet Union in 1940, then occupied by Germany during WWII and then re-incorporated into the Soviet Union after the war until finally being granted independence in 1991.  Since their independence, Latvia has flourished.  

It looked like our ship was going to hit that bridge but stopped just before it as we were coming into Riga.  We were docked a short walk away from the city center.

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We spent a sunny day walking the streets of Riga. 

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The Three Brothers are the oldest houses in Riga.  Each house represents a different architectural style from Riga’s history.

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The House of Blackheads was built in 1334 but it was destroyed in WWII and rebuilt again in 1999.  It was originally constructed to hold meetings for the Brotherhood of Blackheads (unmarried merchants) and now it hosts exhibitions, concerts & other events. 

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Right outside of old town is a large park with a canal that runs the length of the city wall.  In the center is the Freedom Monument, which was erected as a memorial to the soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-1920).  We spent some time walking through the park, enjoying the flowers & sunshine.

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From the park, we walked to the Central Market.  It was the largest indoor & outdoor market that I had ever seen.  They had so many booths outside selling fresh produce, clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets, really everything!  Inside was more food and each hall was dedicated to either meat, fish, vegetables or bakery items.  We had enough food back on the ship, so we didn’t need to buy anything but if you were staying in Riga, this is the perfect place to buy your groceries.

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Riga experienced an economic boom in the early 20th century & many Art Nouveau buildings were constructed.  There is a block of buildings in this style that are definitely worth a visit (Alberta iela/Street).  They have been magnificently preserved.

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We didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived in Riga and we were all pleasantly surprised by this charming town with the parks and beautiful architecture.

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