Riga was first a fishing village founded by indigenous people. When Peter the Great conquered Latvia in the early 1700s, Riga began to grow as a trade and industrial center. Between 1857 and 1863, the medieval town walls were demolished, and parks and green belts were allowed to grow in their stead. Although the town was badly damaged during both world wars and neglected during its Soviet period, today Riga is Latvia’s flourishing and lively center of the arts, Art Nouveau architecture and nightlife. Riga’s historic city center has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1997.
PUBLISHED: July 19, 2013