Rigas Christmas Markets and Grand Architectural Buildings


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Although Riga is in the middle of the Baltics, it still really felt like a Scandinavian city. On every street corner you could find Norwegian stores such as Narvesen, DnB Statoils and Rimis. The language spoken was pretty different though.

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I hopped on a sightseeing tour with the red buses that go in an hour long loop through town and learned quite a bit. Apparently the city had been the seat of the crusaders from the Vatican and still today there were heaps of old churches. The Russian quarter was a suburb where the  poor Jews lived and worked as an entrance to the city, so whenever they were afraid of an attack, like when they awaited Napoleon in 1912, they burned down that part of the city. This happened 10 times and when they burned down most of the city in 1912 Napoleon did not even show up. Still there are a few really old and worn down houses in that area, dating all the way back to the 20’s and the old town with much older buildings is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site still with lots of building built in the Art Neuveu and other architect styles.

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