Tour guides favorites The Art Nouveau district of Riga


Anna Turoka

Tourist guide in Riga

Riga is often called the Art Nouveau metropolis of Europe.

One third of the buildings in its city center represent examples of this richly decorative style. I love visiting the Art Nouveau Quarter with my tourists, it’s like taking a trip back in time to the Riga times of the early 20th century!

Together we get to know the most remarkable characters of these days. This walk allows my tourists to better understand architectural trends and Art Nouveau fashion.

This style originated in Belgium at the end of the 19th century and was known by different names in several European countries.
In Germany it’s Jugendstil, in Italy – Liberty, in Austria – Secession, in Russia – Modern.
This style is characterized by richly decorated facades where the architect’s fantasy plays the essential role.
Beauty, comfort and absolute harmony were the three fundamental pillars of Art Nouveau. The architects of Art Nouveau considered that every object that the human hand touches must be beautiful.

At the beginning of the 20th century in Riga famous architects like Mikhail Eisenstein, Konstantins Peksens, Eizens Laube worked.
In the streets of Riga one can distinguish at least three types of Art Nouveau: the decorative-expressive style, national romanticism and vertical Art Nouveau.
During our walk we see the most beautiful examples of these three types.

We learn to distinguish them from one another, so we get to know some of the most remarkable architects of the turn of the century.
I teach my tourists how to read the messages on the facades of “talking houses” that the architects have left us.
Sometimes we also visit the house-museum of architect K. Peksens in Alberta Street, which surprises with its atmosphere of the aristocratic apartment of the early 20th century. He already had all the luxuries and comforts possible for his time, which were accessible only to wealthy people – the central heating system, the pipeline and the electricity.

No visit to the city can be done without going along the Mikhail Eisenstein facades, which is why I advise you not to miss this open-air museum; the famous Art Nouveau District!