Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Riga
The House of the Blackheads in Riga’s old town dates back to 1334 and has been called one of the grandest buildings in the city. Originally built for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild for unmarried German merchants in Riga, the Gothic building with a Dutch Renaissance facade has been rebuilt on several occasions, including in the 16th century when lion figures were added above its entrance. It was then completely destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in the 1990s, fulfilling the words engraved above the entrance: “should I ever crumble to dust, rebuild my walls you must!”
Albert Street (also known as Alberta iela) is a popular street in Riga, Latvia, best known for its Art Nouveau-style buildings, eight of which have been designated as architectural monuments of national significance. The street itself was named after Bishop Albert, who is said to have founded Riga. The street was renamed during the Soviet era, but the original name was restored in 1990, just a year before Latvia regained its independence.
The buildings on Albert Street are considered by many to be one of the greatest surviving architectural legacies of the Art Nouveau movement. Most buildings on the street were built between 1901 and 1908 and feature balconies, sculptures, columns and other Art Nouveau architectural elements. Highlights include the buildings at number 2, 2A, 4, 6 and 8 Albert Street, all designed by architect Mikhail Eisenstein, as well as number 10, designed by N. Mandelstam and number 12, designed by Konstantīns Pēkšēns.
Located in the apartment where Latvian architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns once lived, Riga’s Art Nouveau Museum opened in April 2009. The building housing the museum was built in 1903 and features ornamental reliefs on the exterior and a spiral staircase and decorative ceiling paintings on the interior. The staircase is considered one of the most impressive in Europe. It is one of the highlights of Alberta iela, a street well known for its Art Nouveau-style architecture.
The museum’s current exhibition showcases typical furnishings of a Riga apartment in the early 20th century, including an entrance hall, living room, fireplace hall and an almost completely restored Art Nouveau apartment. A digital exhibition is scheduled to debut in 2016.
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