Being aware of the culture during a trip is an insightful experience and fortunately Europe offers a wide range of cultural destinations for travelers. The Ancient Continent is the birthplace of some of the best artists and architects of all time and houses more than 40 beautiful castles and houses 18 of the 25 most beautiful buildings in the world.
Europe is a must for art lovers and also the cradle of a visually fascinating art movement called Art Nouveau. This movement inspired by nature, known for its sinuous lines and curves, spread throughout Europe in the 19th century
While European tourist cities, including Prague, Budapest and Barcelona, display a showcase of preserved Art Nouveau buildings, Riga, the capital of Latvia, is the preferred destination for true Art Nouveau diving. Characterized by a rich architectural heritage, the city has more than 700 Art Nouveau buildings, more than any other city in the world.
Today we will take you on the discovery of the most fascinating patterns of Art Nouveau architecture in Riga. From art museums to picturesque streets, this guide will help you discover architecture like never before. Have a look!
What is Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an artistic style characterized by the use of distinctive sinuous lines, patterns in the form of nature and organic forms and patterns. The movement flourished throughout Europe and the United States between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, and was mainly used in architecture, art, jewelry, illustration and glass design.
Art Nouveau is considered a universal art style and has been explored by many renowned artists in Europe, such as Gustav Klimt and Antoni Gaudí. For this reason, this style has different names depending on the country. In Germany it is known as Art Nouveau; in Italy, style Liberty in Italian, in Catalonia, Modernism Català, and in Sweden it is considered a national romantic style.
Art Nouveau architecture in Europe
There are several destinations where you can experience Art Nouveau architecture at its best in Europe. If you’re planning to visit Eastern Europe, Prague and Budapest are two perfect places for Art Nouveau immersion. But if going to southeast Europe at the top of your list, you can find excellent examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Turin (Italy); Barcelona, Spain, and Aveiro, Portugal.
Now if you are going to an unconventional European destination, the ultimate travel experience you are looking for is Riga, Latvia, the perfect place.
Trips To Riga, Latvia
Riga is located in the center of three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and is the capital of Latvia. In addition to the Art Nouveau architecture of Riga, the city is famous for its wooden buildings and the pedestrian zone of the medieval Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Riga, the liveliest city in the summer months, when the weather is hot, and the city is alive with Open-air concerts, free music festivals and Open-air filmcontritions.
However, Latvia offers much more than typical city entertainment. The country is surrounded by Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania and has 500 km of coastline. To enjoy the country’s deserted wild beaches, you can take the train to Jurmala or visit Kemeri National Park with its bog lakes, mineral water and therapeutic mud spas nearby.
If you are in Latvia, visiting the neighboring countries is also a good option, and you can add trips to St. Petersburg and Tallinn to your itinerary.
The History of Art Nouveau in Riga
To understand why Art Nouveau gained the hype in Riga in the day, let’s drop some facts. At the end of the 19th century, Riga experienced rapid economic development. It grew by 88% between 1897 and 1913 and during the Second World Debate Riva was the third largest city in the Baltic States. Between 1910 and 1913 almost 500 new buildings were built in Riga every year. Most of them were Art Nouveau and were placed outside the Old Town of Riga. The architects responsible for designing the Art Nouveau buildings in Riga were newly trained Baltic Germans, Jews and Latvians.
Today, the Art Nouveau buildings of Riga make up one third of all buildings in the center of the city. This is precisely why Riga is often considered a Mecca of Art Nouveau in Latvia, as it has the highest concentration of this architectural style in the world.
Art Nouveau Visit In Riga, Latvia
If you walk through the streets of Riga in search of stunning Art Nouveau buildings, there are places you don’t want to miss. A good advice is to start your journey with a walk through the old Town, just to get acquainted with the city. Then you can make your move to some of the places listed below. We guarantee that you will not contrition it.
If there is one street you should definitely visit in Riga, this is Alberta Street. Named after Bishop Albert, who founded Riga more than 800 years ago, the street is a trademark thanks to its eclectic Art Nouveau buildings. Most of them were designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, and some of Konstantīns Pēkšēns and includes forests, various Laube, a teacher, and his students. The buildings are decorated with sculptures, decorated balconies, columns and other Art Nouveau elements.
Art Nouveau Center of Riga
Located on Alberta Street, the Riga Art Nouveau Centre is the only museum in the Baltic countries to fully showcase the history of the Art Nouveau movement. The Riga Art Nouveau Centre is located in a building that belonged to Konstantīns Pēkšēns, one of the most famous Latvian Art Nouveau architects.
If you walk through the building from the 20th century, you travel back in time. During your visit, you will learn not only about Art Nouveau, but also about how the former owners welcomed their guests, how people behaved and much more.
Be sure to look at the ceiling upon entering the building you will see an ornate spiral staircase, which is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau.
Riga Artt New Center is open daily (except Mondays) from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission is 9 euros for the complete exhibition.
Art Nouveau course in Riga city centre
If you are excited after discovering the examples of Art Nouveau in Alberta Street, you can certainly go beyond that and discover other architectural gems in Riga. Alberta Street is home to some of the finest examples of Riga’s Eclectic Art Nouveau, but there are three other styles you can discover in the city: Vertical Art Nouveau, National Romantic Art Nouveau and Neoclassical Art Nouveau.
For the exploration of the category Art Again vertical, commonly known as “style department store” or Department Store style (in English), you will find the number 37 in Krišjāņa Valdemāra iela (Krišjānis Valdemārs street), in which there is a building with several floors, designed by Eižen’s Arbor.
A good neoclassical example is the former commercial bank of Riga, located in the centre of Old Riga, directly opposite the Cathedral Cathedral.
To discover the national Romantic or Nordic Art Nouveau style in Riga, spend the night on Alberta Street and head to building number 11, also designed by Eižen’s arbor.
Make a free Art Nouveau tour in Riga
If you want to travel on a budget, then a good idea is to take a free guided tour of Riga Art Noveau. The tours take you through Alberta Street and Elizabetes Street and explore less popular Art Nouveau examples.