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Riga Old Town

Worth visiting



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Type of sights

Old town / World heritage site


Name and address

Riga Old Town
World Heritage Site

LV-1050 Riga

Geodetic coordinates

56.948479 24.108294




Old Riga — Vecrīga in Latvian — is the old town of Riga, here defined as the area east of Daugava river, south of Krisjana Valdemara iela, west of the city canal and north of the railway that crosses Daugava. Vecrīga is the only world heritage site entirely situated in Latvia.


Old Town Square & surroundings

The Old Town (Vecrīga) is both a place of historical tourism sites, as well as the centre of night-life for locals. The area around Old Town was mostly built between 1860 and 1914 and has many buildings that resemble Berlin, Paris, or Rome.

Viewpoints near Old Town Square & surroundings
  • Triangula Bastion, 11 Novembra Krastmala iela #17,  +371 673 21206. 9AM-10PM. A modern building with an excavated fragment of the historical Riga fortification wall system along the river. The building has the best view terraces in Riga. Free. 
Monuments and historic buildings near Old Town Square & surroundings
  • Statue of Roland (In the centre of the Town Square). Statue of St. Roland, the patron of Riga. The original statue erected in 1897 was destroyed in WWII, nowadays a replica stands there. 
  • House of Blackheads, Kalku iela 1,  +371 670 44300. The House of Blackheads is where the merchants-to-be had their guild. Part of this building is the tourist information office, the rest is a fascinating museum. The upper levels house grand ballrooms while the basement has a wine cellar and several exhibits relating to trading in Riga. €3, €1.50 students. 
  • The Big Guild, Amatu iela 6. Housed the guild of the tradesmen, who would join after being a member of the Blackheads (see House of Blackheads). Home to the Latvian Philharmonic, but you can't just walk inside. It's the exterior that's worth seeing though. 
  • The Little Guild, Amatu iela 5. Another pretty building just behind the Big Guild, this one housed the craftsmen's guild. Like the Big Guild, you can't go inside except for a performance. 
  • The House of the Black Cat (Next to the Big Guild). This building (also housing a pub of no particular note) is most famous for the two statues of black cats on the roofs. The legend has it that a disgruntled tradesman who was not accepted into the Big Guild, built this house and put the cats on it with their tails pointing towards the Big Guild, thus expressing his scorn. 
  • Wagner Concert Hall, Vāgnera iela 4. Wagner once lived in Riga, on the street now named after him. This hall where he performed occasionally holds concerts. 
Museums near Old Town Square & surroundings
  • Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Strelnieku laukums 1,  +371 672 12715. This noticeable and austere black building is clearly out-of-place. In the Soviet days, this housed a museum to the Red Riflemen, a group of Latvians who volunteered for the service to Russia during the Russian revolution of 1917. Now it houses a museum of Latvia's time under both the Nazi and Soviet occupations. Very long, but very moving – essential for anyone interested in the history of the USSR or Nazi Germany. Outside the building away from the town square stands the Soviet-era Monument to the Riflemen. Free. 
  • Porcelain Museum, Kalēju iela 9/11. Tu-Su: 11AM-6PM; Closed on Mondays. Covers the history of porcelain in Riga through the 19th and 20th centuries. Adults: €2.50, Children: €1.00, free for preschoolers. 
  • Sun Museum, Kungu iela 1,  +371 672 25587. 9AM-6PM daily. One of Riga's weirdest museums, it covers the history of sun mythology and its role in Latvian culture. Adults: €4.00, Students/Seniors: €3.50. 
  • Riga Castle (Rigas Pils) (Near the Northern boundary of the Old Town). The castle itself is fairly uninteresting, but it houses the following two museums: 
    • National History Museum of Latvia, Pils Laukums 3,  +371 672 23004. Tu-Su: 10AM-5PM, Closed on Mondays. The History Museum is interesting, however there is little English (Every room has its exhibits summarized on a single plaque). However, the museum does give a very good idea of Latvian history, and will give you a good understanding of the area. Adults: €3, Students: €1.50, Camera fee: €1.50. 
    • Museum of Foreign Art, Pils Laukums 3,  +371 672 26467. 11-17 Tu-Su. The less interesting of the two museums: this is just a standard art museum. Admission fee: €3.50, Camera fee: €0.75. 
Religious buildings near Old Town Square & surroundings
  • St. Peter's Church, Skarnu iela 19,  +371 672 29426. St. Peters Church, dating to 1209, is Riga's oldest church. Besides its ensemble of architecture, the church has an elevator to the tower from where you can see all of Riga (service not available on Mondays). €3. 
  • St. John's Church, Jana iela 7. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00. A smaller, less spectacular church near Saint Peter's. There is a nice altar inside, and unlike most Riga churches, this one is free. The altar is from the Renaissance period and depicts the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The ceiling is from the Gothic period, and has 5 separate vaulted compartments. There is also a huge pipe organ, and many stained glass windows. This church dates back to the mid 1200s. 
  • St. Saviour's Anglican Church, Anglikanu iela 2a,  +371 672 22259. Riga's only Anglican church has English language services every Sunday 11AM, and free concerts every Wednesday. 
  • St. Jacob's Catholic Church (Jekaba Katedrale), Jēkaba iela 9. Dating to 1226, this is one of the few Catholic churches left in Riga. At one point, it housed one of Riga's first schools. Free. 
Cathedral (Doma) Square & surroundings
Monuments and historic buildings near Cathedral (Doma) Square & surroundings
  • The Three Brothers, Mazā Pils iela 17, 19, and 21. Tu-Th 09:00-17:00, F 09:00-16:00. The oldest dwelling houses in Riga. One of them has a small architecture museum inside, along with changing exhibits about Latvia. 
  • Latvian Parliament (Saeima), Jekaba iela 11. A rather plain building housing the Saeima, Latvia's parliament. It has had a number of uses--including as a Soviet-era museum. Currently not open to visitors 
  • Swedish Gate (Between Torna and Aldaru iela). The last remaining gate from the old city walls. 
Museums near Cathedral (Doma) Square & surroundings
  • Museum of the Barricades of 1991, Krāmu iela 3,  +371 672 13525. M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 11:00-17:00. Covers the dramatic events that occurred in the tumultuous final year of the USSR, when Soviet authorities sent troops into Riga to overthrow the elected Latvian government. Free. 
  • Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, Palasta iela 4. May-Sep: 11-17 daily, Oct-May: 11-17 W-Su. Actually two museums plus a number of special exhibits, though you pay one price. Like the National Museum, English translations are limited to plaques summarizing rooms, but here you can also pick up pieces of paper describing some of the exhibits. Both of the main museums are quite interesting, and they provide a good idea of what Riga was like in the past. €5 plus more for photo permission. 
  • Arsenal Museum of Art, Torna iela 1,  +371 673 57527. Apr-Sep: 11-19 Tu-Su, Oct-Mar: 11-17 Tu-Su. Riga's premier museum for modern art. 
Religious buildings near Cathedral (Doma) Square & surroundings
  • Riga Cathedral (Doma cathedral), Doma Laukums 1,  +371 672 27573. Dating to 1207, it is one of Riga's symbols. The 6768-pipe organ inside is particularly spectacular. Besides the organ, however, the interior is rather Spartan, and may not be worth the entrance fee. (Currently, even the organ is being restored, though). 
Powder Tower & City Wall
Monuments and historic buildings near Powder Tower & City Wall
  • St. Jacob's Barracks, Torna iela. The primary attraction here is the last remaining stretch of city wall directly opposite the barracks. 
Museums near Powder Tower & City Wall
  • Museum of War, Smilsu iela 20,  +371 672 28147. May-Sept: 10-18 W-Su, Oct-Apr: 10-17 W-Su. 22 individual collections of Latvian and Soviet military equipment starting from WWI until today. free admission. 
  • Latvian Museum of Pharmacy, Riharda Vagnera 13-15. Tu-Sa: 10-17. In a renovated 18th century house. The museum showcases pharmaceutical equipment, traditional medicine and herbs and what pharmacies looked like a century ago. €1.5. 
  • Latvian Photographic Museum, Marstalu iela 8. Contains photos of Latvia since 1839, with focuses on the World Wars and 1905 Revolution. €1.5. 
  • Mentzendorff House, Grecienieku 18. W-Su: 11-17. Former residence of a wealthy merchant built in 1720, now a museum dedicated to life in Riga in the 17th & 18th centuries. Adults: €1.50, Students: €0.75. 
Near the Freedom Monument
  • Laima Clock (just south of the Freedom Monument). Laima is a Latvian chocolate manufacturer and means good luck in Latvian. The Clock is a traditional meeting place for people in Riga. 


  • Alus Seta, Old Town. Literally Beer Yard. Serves huge portions of excellent meat and two veg from a grill at the front of the tavern, as well as an excellent choice of Beer. Probably the best value place in town, with two courses easily costing less than €7. 
  • Smilšu Pulkstenis, Kalku iela 7. Cheap & tasty Latvian food. 
  • Varzob, Ratslaukuma iela 1 (J-2),  +371 672 11332. Uzbek food. The plov is an excellent choice, as is the Shashlik and Lagman. 
  • Aleks at Hotel Justus, Jauniela 24,  +371 672 12416. 12-24. One of the best fish restaurants in town. Champagne Glass: €7, Bottle of Philipe Brugnon 1er Cru Rose: €47. 
  • Alus Arsenals, Pils laukums 4. 12 PM to 10 PM mostly. A nice, cozy restaurant in the Riga old town serving various meat and fish oriented dishes with quality local beer. Located right next to the Riga castle so it's easy to find. The actual interior of the restaurant is in a cellar, but in summertime, the restaurant features a spacious outdoor terrace. Main courses 6 € to 18 €. (updated Jul 2016)
  • Sweetday Cafe, Tirgoņu 9 (old town). Coffee house that serves freshly homemade cakes. It has a great cozy atmosphere, and the best service in town. The owner is Inese, speaks Latvian, English, Spanish, Russian and a bit of Dutch. 
  • , Mazā Pils iela 1,  +371 673 25077. This restaurant and bar is a more upmarket option than Lido, serving very good Latvian food. 


Inside the range of 4 km:


Inside the range of 4 km:

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Input taken over from:

Wikivoyage contributors, 'Riga/Vecrīga', Wikivoyage, The FREE worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit, 11 July 2016, 20:12 UTC, <> [accessed 25 August 2016]

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08 Mar 2012 - 09 Sep 2016

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