There have been facilities for ship loading, unloading and warehouses in this area since the 14th century. The Spīķeri area and present day Riga Central Market Spīķeri formed in the second half of the 19th century when this territory with uniformly designed warehouses was built. Now these red brick buildings, designed by the best Baltic architects of the end of the 19th century, are 150 years old. Spīķeri are built in “the brick style” – one of the formal types of the 19th century eclectic style, which was often used for constructing factory buildings and warehouses. In total 58 spīķeri were built by the River Daugava; only 13 have survived to the present day.
At present these unusual, architecturally significant buildings are being given a second life, and the entire area has become a new centre of contemporary arts. Spīķeri host creative culture organisations, contemporary music and cinema performances, art galleries, offices, cosy restaurants and cafes.
For example, in the Spīķeri the unique and largest private Puppet Art museum in the Baltic States is located, along with creative studios. There is a shop and a cafe which features game meat called “desa&co” where one can even try out sandwiches of mouflon meat. In Spīķeri there is the creative studio “Dirty Deal Cafe” which often hosts art, theatre, cinema and other performances.
There is an original bookshop-restaurant “Meta-kafe”. In 2009 the Spīķeri music-hall was opened where the chamber orchestra “Sinfonietta Rīga” resides. This area often hosts large festivals, contemporary music and cinema events. Near the spīķeri is a quay from which one can set off on a journey on Daugava and the Riga Canal in a wooden ship!