This morning you will be met by your guide on the pier for a tour of Riga’s Old Town. Your will visit the 13th century St. Peter’s Church which was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt by the Russians. A good place to start any tour is atop the spire, where you can see the whole of Riga laid out before you. This is the perfect way to get your bearings before you actually wander down the cobble-stoned streets. From here you may see the exterior of the Dome Cathedral one of the largest and most distinctive houses of worship in the region (it is under reconstruction for the next few years). The Dome Cathedral is also renowned for its gigantic church organ, complete with 6,768 pipes. It’s the fourth largest organ in the world.
As you stroll through the Old Town, you will view the famous House of Cats with cat sculptures perched on the top of its roof and hear about the intrigue surrounding these feline figures. Good examples of medieval dwellings are the Three Brothers, dating to the 15th Century when Riga was part of the Hanseatic League. It’s the oldest stone house in Latvia and houses an architecture museum. Also see the House of Black-heads and the Town Hall miraculously risen from the ashes of war.
In the afternoon, we suggest a tour through Riga’s Art Nouveau district which features impressive examples of the style. In total, there are some 800 Art Nouveau buildings in Riga, many of which were designed and built by Latvian architects including Mikhail Eisenstein (the father of the famous director Sergei Eisenstein). On Alberta Street, you may decide to stop at the Janis Rozentals Museum, located in a magnificent historic building with Art Nouveau interiors. Janis Rozentals was a renowned Latvian painter and you can see original sketches and portraits displayed in his apartment and workshop.
Continuing along Elizabetes Street, you will reach the Central Market where some old Zeppelin hangars have been converted into market halls specializing in different types of wares.
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Today, you will also see the Riga Opera House. This magnificent 19th-century building has undergone a thorough renovation. Your guide will tell you about the history of the Opera House and some of its famous performers.