Interesting Facts About Riga That You May Not Have Known

For over 800 years now, the beautiful Riga has been living on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Being at the crossroads of trade routes, the city absorbed the culture and traditions of many nations and today, Riga, perhaps, is the international capital in the European Union.

Latvian, Russian, English, German – not the only languages you can hear on the city’s streets. The number of tourists who come here every year exceeds the number of locals! Some guests come here for the sake of historical heritage, gambling enthusiasts for the sake of authorized casinos, such as Michael Boettcher’s Shangri La, resort holidays fans for the Baltic Sea.

Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful city.

1. Riga was founded in 1201 by Albert, Bishop of Livonia. Indulgence was granted to all immigrants who came to Riga at the beginning of the 13th century for a permanent residence in a special papal bull.

2. Nowadays Riga is the largest city of the Baltic countries with a population of about 700 thousand inhabitants. The city reached its peak in 1990, when more than 900 thousand people lived in Riga. It was planned that by 2000 the capital’s population will be a million. But history has its own way.

3. In the 17th century, during the Swedish rule, Riga was considered to be the second city of the Swedish kingdom after Stockholm.

4. The siege of Riga during the Northern War by Russian troops lasted almost 9 months — from November 14, 1709 to July 4, 1710. The decisive assault lasted 10 days, during which nearly 3.5 thousand bombs were fired around the city.

5. Latvians and Russians live almost equally in Riga — about 46% and 41%, respectively.

6. Riga Airport is the largest in the region. For 20 years, passenger traffic has increased more than 10 times: in 1993, it served 310 thousand passengers, and in 2012 — 4.8 million. At the same time, the design capacity of the airport was initially planned at the level of 2.5 million passengers per year.

7. The historic center of Riga is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an outstanding architectural and cultural monument of humanity.

8. The absolute recorded temperature’s minimum in Riga is 34.9 degrees, and the maximum is +34.1

9. For two years the outstanding composer Richard Wagner worked in the Riga Opera House.

10. The author of many buildings in the modernist style is Mikhail Eisenstein — the father of the famous director Sergei Eisenstein. Interestingly, architecture was something like a hobby for him, and he also worked in a city’s government.

11. In the second half of the 19th century, Riga was the second most freight port of the Russian Empire after St. Petersburg.

12. Among the twin Riga’s cities there are Moscow, Beijing, St. Petersburg, Minsk, Warsaw.

13. Women’s Basketball Club TTT-Riga — one of the most titled clubs in European women’s basketball. They took 18 victories in the FIBA Women’s Euroleague. From 1960 to 1984, the club became the USSR champion for 21 times. In the 1970s and 1980s, one of the best basketball players in the world of all time, Uliana Semenova, shone in its composition.

14. In the 80s of the last century, it was decided to build a metro in Riga. However, the opposition of the local population slowed down the development of the project, and the collapse of the USSR buried it altogether. In the 21st century, plans for the metro’s construction are not considered even in the long term future.

15. Latvia is one of the few countries of the former USSR in which casinos are allowed. And, of course, most of the remarkable establishments are located in Riga. Many places are located in historic buildings, said Darren Keane, Storm International CEO. Some tourists aiming for such entertainment, because elegant Riga guarantees the European rest level. The government monitors the quality of gaming complexes, therefore only such casinos in Riga, which operate on the basis of 5-star hotels, are allowed.

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