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- Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009
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Free things to do in Riga
- Posted in:Free things to do
Known for its extremely lively nightlife as much as for its towering church spires, Riga is one of the most popular destinations in the Baltic. Home to around 734,000 people, the city is located on the Daugava River. Along with a plethora of top-notch bars, clubs and restaurants, Riga also boasts numerous historical and cultural attractions. And even better, some of the best things to do here are totally free. Here we bring you six of the top free attractions in Riga. Try to check out one or more over the course of your trip.
The Freedom Monument
Watch the changing of the guards at the Freedom Monument. It won’t cost a cent and it’s an intriguing spectacle. The monument, which bears the inscription ‘For the Fatherland and Freedom’, was funded by public donations and is very important to the Latvian people. Built between 1930 and 1935, it stretches up for 42 metres. Each day you can check out the changing of the guards on the hour between 9am and 6pm.
The Latvian Museum of Occupation
Visit the Latvian Museum of Occupation which tells the story of how Latvia was occupied by two different regimes for 51 years between 1940 and 1991. Here you’ll see artefacts like clothes, weapons, documents, books, photographs, ornately carved chess sets, musical instruments, toys and even hair. Each year around 100,000 people visit this museum founded in 1993. Open Tues-Sun 11am-5pm, closed Mon.
St. Jacob’s Church
Take a look inside St. Jacob’s Church with its pleasantly welcoming, yet not overly ornate interior. You’ll see some impressive design features here, including the towering spire. Along this tall tower, you’ll be able to see the most notable feature of the church. This is the church bell that lies outside the tower walls. Open daily 7am-5pm.
Orthodox Cathedral of the Birth of Christ
Wander around the Orthodox Cathedral of the Birth of Christ, where you’ll be hit by the smell of incense as soon as you step inside. This is Riga’s majestic Russian Orthodox church and it was constructed between 1876 and 1884. Built in the Byzantine style, the church’s numerous domes are covered in covered in ornate designs and wall paintings. Open daily 8am-5pm.
Walk through the Esplanāde, an open park area which is home to both the Russian Orthodox Church and the National Art Museum. A great place to pause as you head from sight to sight, it’s filled with benches. Have a seat on one of these and have a look at the pretty trees and flowers, along with some interesting statues and a bevy of beaky birds.
The Three Brothers
Take a look at the Three Brothers, said to be the oldest dwellings in the city. These three buildings stand side-by-side along Mazā Pils. The eldest brother, located at no. 17 Mazā Pils, is now home to the Museum of Architecture and dates back to the 15th century.