Sometimes, when you really really want to travel around the world, but you also need to pay your rent, a trip to Rīga could be the answer. Our city is a 817-year-old dodge ball bouncing from one style to other, from one reign to other, scattering around basically every type of architecture, art and people existing in Europe in this time, and all that - for a democratic expenditure!
Therefore it's a thousand mushrooms with one cut, and, by visiting us, you can find that there are many places that look like anywhere on Earth, but it's actually Rīga. Here is our 5-minute pick from your Instagram.

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The "Australian House" in Ķīpsala.

The Latvian Academy of Sciences Building (Latvijas Zinātņu Akadēmija)
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Erected during the 1950's as the first skyscraper in Rīga, the Academy of Sciences Building became a modernist symbol of the city following its greater siblings in Warsaw and Moscow. We have already covered the Academy's story here, and we promise a good read! Don't miss a chance to visit its observation deck!

The House of Congress (Kongresu nams)
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Almost 20 years ago (despite the protests) there was a 1-level car park build underground the House of Congress with exit/entrance doors decorated with these significant glass triangles you can visit any day. Now, ironically, people working in the nearby Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Culture and Education department of Rīga City Council leave most of their cars at the public square rather than the underground lot.

Dreiliņi hill - Ušakov's cap (Dreiliņkalns - Ušakova kepka)
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If you don't have at least 1k to go to L.A. or S.F. and visit the famous grapevine hill, where the iconic Bliss image was taken for our everlasting Windows desktop nightmares, then Dreiliņi suburb will be a perfect pitch! Buy a city bus ticket for 2 euros the max. from city centre and behold - the legend. Dreiliņkalns is even more iconic - it was a dumpster for a long time right in the middle of the suburbs basically, and since 1973 got covered with soil, grass, bushes and trees. Only some 3 years ago the hill was put into shape and a multi-functional sports area was built next to. Since it had this funny background story already plus a very post-Soviet neighbourhood around, people decided to name the hill after the city mayor Nils Ušakovs, who is sympathetic to the people maintaining such lifestyle. This is were Ušakov's kepka was born.

The Bremen Musicians (Brēmenes muzikanti).
You could easily guess why this statue of five runaways from Bremen has become a top hit for rubbing and selfies 18 years after its placement. Although the idea behind Krista Baumgaertel's work was more noble - a present from Rīga's sister town for centuries symbolizing the fall of Berlin wall, when the animals from Bremen (read - the West) could finally lean though the gap and check out Rīga (read - the East). Ironically, many visit our city and don't give a flying toss about any nobility, yet the sculpture is rubbed shiny for luck. If you get to the rooster - it's a 100% chance! If only to the donkey = 25 % :(

Rainis monument. Esplanāde
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Oi, keep calm, folks, we don't have Mr. Lenin publicly displayed in Rīga anymore since the USSR collapsed terminally in August, 1991. Yet this is an another 'stached socialist man, considered to be the father of Latvian socialism, yet also one big influence on Latvian language, literature, poetry, playwriting and also translation work. Mr. Jānis "Rainis" Pliekšāns. Mistaken visually by many as his Socialist counterpart, Rainis is a man of 50/50. You can consider him being a genius of thought - many characters, words, phrases, verses of his works have become a word-of-mouth folklore and are canonized in spoken language. Or you can consider him being a naive, failed politician with a few idiotic opinions and a manic need for fame.

Yet here he is - in Esplanāde, a place where Latvians began their "Poetry days" in 1965 praising the great author and have been practicing it ever since. Read more in our article about the event as well as where to buy Rainis' works translated (if you get lucky).

What else: Do you have Instagram photos looking like anywhere on Earth, but actually being taken in Rīga? You can hashtag them with #itsreallyRiga, and maybe we will make a second edition of this post!


  1. Every time I walk by Kongresu nams I have an almost uncontrollable urge to go grab a can of black (or green or whatever color it is) paint at Depo and touch up the peeling on it.

    Speaking of "could be anywhere" - a few years ago one of my students at the Pedagoģy faculty of LU was giving a presentation about modern architecture, and she was showing some examples of skyscrapers throughout the world so the other students had to guess what and where they were. Students were able to recognize the Transatlantic Pyramid in San Francisco, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, ect. Then she showed a picture of Z-Towers that didn't have Daugava or Gaismas Pils or Saules Akmens in the background - not a single student recognized them even though almost all of them had driven by it on the way to class! :D

  2. It has to be change blindess - not noticing things in front of you when they feel so common. Meanwhile many from Āgenskalns do not like the scrapers just because they reflect too much sunlight! :)

    1. Or just that they are the most generic looking glass towers in the world that could found in virtually any city! I personally like them though, as I wrote in my old blog they're almost like a (semi-)living monument to the era of big dreams before 2008 when all of that development was planned for the area around Ķipsala.


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