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Spread out over a series of islands where the mighty Latvian Daugava River meets the unforgiving swells of the icy Baltic Sea, the city of Riga is hailed as one of north-eastern Europe’s great cultural destinations.
Its labyrinthine Old Town wows visitors with its stately mass of red-brick gothic churches, worn cobbled roadways and hidden squares that transform into a heady mix of boho bars and bubbling Baltic beer halls after dark. The major sites here coalesce close to one another, with the stately House of Blackheads (rebuilt to its former elegance following total destruction at the hands of the Nazis and the Soviets), St John's Church, and the soaring Germanic towers of St Peter's all within walking distance.
Riga tour guides also often recommend making a jaunt through the startling exhibitions of the Museum of Occupations, or to the less-trodden roadways of the Central District, where leafy parks meet the shadow of the looming Freedom Monument. On the other side of town sits the Art Nouveau District, where the eccentric architectural styles of the likes of the famous Latvian architect Eisenstein can be best found on the streets of Elizabetes and Alberta.
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