One of Riga’s most recognisable sights is the symbol of Latvian unity and independence - the Freedom Monument. At its base, watch the guard of honour change hourly. Two minutes walk from here, you’ll soon spot the Byzantine-style Nativity of Christ Cathedral – the largest Russian Orthodox church in the Baltics. Close by is the 5-hectare Vērmane Park. During the summer, city dwellers are often treated to free concerts on the park’s open-air stage.
Intriguing amateur chess tournaments also take place here. Along one side of the park stretches Riga’s most popular flower market, or Sakta – fragrant bunches of flowers can be bought here at any time of the day or year. The Riga Cinema, pre-war Latvia’s grandest picture house, stands nearby.
The courtyards between Elizabetes, Barona and Dzirnavu ielas hide Bergs Bazaar – a small quarter developed as a pedestrian shopping arcade 100 years ago. It is still a location for restaurants, shops, various events and organic produce markets. The greatest pride of Riga’s architecture is its UNESCO World Heritagelisted Jugendstils (Art Nouveau). The houses at Elizabetes, Tērbatas, Brīvības and Skolas iela are mainly of the Jugendstils and Romanticism periods, while quiet Alberta iela is Europe’s most famous example of Jugendstils architecture. The Riga Jugendstils Museum is also located here.