The city of Riga is the capital and the largest city of Latvia – one of the three Baltic countries in northeastern Europe. Latvia shares its international borders with Estonia in the north, Russia to the east, Belarus in the south-east, and with Lithuania in the south. To the west of the country is the Baltic sea and the capital Riga is located at the mouth of River Daugava (Western Dvina) on the Gulf of Riga.
The city of Riga was established in the 1300s as a maritime trading post due to its strategic location as a natural harbor. As an independent state, as a Swedish territory, as a part of Russia, and as the capital of Latvia, Riga became the center of arts, literature, philosophy, and learning. The city’s beauty, its Art-Nouveau architecture, large green spaces, and vivid social life give it the nickname ‘Paris of the East.’
Riga receives about 2.6 million visitors each year. Despite being a cosmopolitan metropolis and a leading financial hub, the city of Riga is one of the historically and culturally richest cities in the Baltic region. The old city center of Riga has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient St. Peter’s Church, the Latvian War Museum, the Museum of Natural History of Riga, the House of Blackheads, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, the Cat House, the Latvian National Opera, the Riga Zoo, the Freedom Monument and the Latvian National Museum of Art are other key attractions of Riga.