Tourism in Riga
|Catalytic Development & Life-cycle||6|
|“Laima” clock and Memorial of Freedom||8|
|Social Impacts & Issues of tourism Development||10|
|Tourist Types in Riga||13|
Latvia is situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, sharing borders with Lithuania to the south, Estonia to the north, Russia to the east and Belarus to the southeast.
The area of Latvia totals 64,000 square kilometres with 500 kilometres of coastline. The population is a little less than 2.5 million people, of which 58% are Latvian, 29% are Russian, and 4% Byelorussian. Ukrainians, Poles, Lithuanians, Jews and others reside in Latvia in small numbers.
Population rates within Latvia are low, with nearly half the country living in Riga or its environs. The six largest cities and their population statistics are as follows: Riga (800,000), Daugavpils (117,000), Liepaja (97,000), Jelgava (71,000), Jurmala (59,000) and Ventspils (47,000).
Latvia is divided into four historical regions: Vidzeme, Kurzeme, Latgale and Zemgale. The highest peak is Gaizins Kalns, standing at 311.5 meters. The climate in Latvia is moderate with distinct seasons. Summers are generally warm and short. Autumn and spring are relatively mild and rainy. Winter weather is cold and fluctuates a great deal, with some years snowier and colder than others.
Riga is the capital of the Latvia and the geographical centre of the Baltic States. The city's cross-roads location between Western Europe and huge Eastern markets has always been - and still is - one of Riga's attractions for business activities. The name of Riga is known across Europe. When in the 14th and 15th centuries Riga became one of the most important trade centres of the Hanseatic League, the city was granted special rights to transport goods along the Daugava further to the East. Nowadays, Riga is also an important transport junction. The main elements that make the city as a transit centre are the harbours of Riga, the Riga international airport and developed railway and road networks. The historically developed transportation infrastructure has facilitated Riga's evolution as the major industrial and business centre in the Baltic region. The city is well known for its architectural and cultural values, skilful labour and developed infrastructure. Riga is not only the backbone of Latvia's economy but also the largest centre of education and science. This is confirmed by a large number of cultural events, international exhibitions, scientific conferences and seminars that every year takes place in Riga.
Sightseeing is made easy in Riga by the fact that most of the sights are handily located within a compact area on one bank of the Daugava River. As the number of tourists visiting the city has grown, dedicated signs now point the way to the main attractions. The Old Town overflows with things to see, but one of the real pleasures is just wandering around the cobbled streets, taking an architectural journey through the centuries, in a city where Gothic, Renaissance and Art Nouveau abound, often competing for attention on the same street. Recognised sights include the voluminous religious twins of St Peter’s Church and Dome Cathedral, both worth exploring in detail. Riga also boasts numerous museums, with the Latvian War Museum, the Occupation Museum and Mentzendorff House among many others deserving of attention. Neatly dividing the Old Town and New Town is Bastejkalns Park, with its lazy canal, cafés and walkways. In the middle of the park is the Freedom Monument, one of Riga’s and indeed Latvia’s most poignant sites, a symbol of both the nation’s fight for nationhood and the four decades of resistance to Communist rule. Further a field there are boat cruises on the Daugava River and excursions to the Baltic Sea resort of Jurmala, with its sweeping pine flanked beaches. Jurmala, with new facilities recently opened up with overseas visitors in mind, provides the perfect escape if all that history and culture get too much.
Riga has become popular in Europe for its dynamic nightlife. Even at night tourists will find a lot of things to do and visit in Riga. If tourists would like to experience the nightlife of Riga they are welcome to visit one of the many Riga nightclubs which are open till 5 am in winter and at least till 6 am in summertime.