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Explore architectural wonders through the ages

The architectural heritage of Latvia encompasses a wide range of styles and eras, including traditional rural homes, unique wooden buildings, grand palaces and manors, churches, and striking Art Nouveau buildings. These architectural treasures can be found not only in the capital city of Riga but also in towns, villages, and remote areas throughout Latvia.


Art Noveau buildings in Riga, making it the capital of this style


Unique wooden architecture buildings in Riga


The year when the iconic Dome Cathedral, which still stands, was founded

Explore architectural wonders through the ages

In Latvia, history is tangible and omnipresent, blending with contemporary architecture to create a distinct and unparalleled atmosphere. This combination of old and new styles can be seen throughout the whole country, showcasing the lasting impact of different historical eras on the region’s architecture.

Latvia’s small size offers a unique opportunity to experience a variety of architectural masterpieces without traveling too far. Medieval castles and ducal manors are just a short distance from the urban delights of Riga’s Old Town.

Art nouveau interiors are just as stunning as their exteriors, often featuring intricate details such as painted ceilings, lavish entrance halls, and opulent staircases. Key examples of Art Nouveau buildings in Riga can be found on Alberta Street, Elizabetes Street, and Strēlnieku Street.

The Freedom monument

The monument in Riga is a towering 42.7m work of art symbolizing Latvia’s national independence.

Made of granite and copper, it was designed by sculptor Kārlis Zāle and constructed over four years. The Freedom Monument has been a central landmark in Riga for nearly a century – it was unveiled in 1935 with funds raised entirely from public donations.

The monument showcases 56 sculptures across four levels, representing significant events and figures in Latvian history, with a copper woman known as “Milda” or “Mother Latvia” crowning the top, holding three golden stars to symbolize the unity of Latvia’s regions.

Discover the authentic lifestyle and architecture of Latvia's centuries-old heritage

  • Located on the banks of Lake Jugla, just half an hour from downtown Riga, is one of the oldest and largest open-air museums in Europe. It stands out for its extensive collection of 118 well-preserved historical buildings from all four provinces of Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale, and Latgale, dating from the 17th century to the 1930s. Visitors can explore traditional farmsteads and homes of farmers, craftsmen, and fishermen, view everyday objects from the past, and gain insights into how people lived and decorated their homes.

  • The museum contains the largest collection of historical artifacts related to Latvia. Founded in 1869, the Museum boasts a collection of over one million items, including archaeological, ethnographic, numismatic, and artistic pieces. Its main exhibition showcases the history of Latvia from ancient times to the start of the 20th century.

  • The museum boasts the most extensive collection of art in Latvia, with over 52,000 works. This iconic building holds the distinction of being the first of its kind in the Baltics to be specifically built to house a museum. Its stunning architecture makes it one of the most impressive and notable historic buildings in the city.

  • The circus is one of the oldest circuses in Europe, having been built in 1888. The unique building was designed by a Latvian architect Jānis Frīdrihs Baumanis, and it incorporated unusual architectural elements such as railroad rails as the basis for the building and a dome structure, which was considered innovative at the time.

Explore the impressive legacy of castles and manors

Latvia boasts an array of captivating castles and manors, each with its own unique tale to tell about the country’s history and its people.

Construction of the Turaida Stone Castle was commenced in 1214 under the guidance of Albert, the Bishop of Riga. In the 20th century, the castle site underwent thorough archaeological excavations. A wealth of structures unearthed during the excavations, as well as exhibits installed in the restored buildings, offer a fascinating glimpse into the Middle Ages. Visitors can explore historical buildings, peer into medieval cellars, a prison, and a guard’s room, and take in the stunning landscape of the Gauja valley from the top floor of the Main Tower.

The Rundāle Palace ensemble is a premier example of Baroque and Rococo architecture in Latvia. Built in the 18th century as the summer residence for the Duke of Courland, the Rundāle palace offers a trip back in time. Visitors can explore the palace’s museum, which contains historical artifacts, the Duke’s apartments, and the grand and elaborate French Garden.

© Sergii Figurnyi, Adobe Stock

Located on the banks of the River Daugava, the Riga Castle is one of Latvia’s largest medieval castles with a rich and captivating history. Throughout the centuries, the castle has functioned as a seat of power. Today it serves as the official residence of the President of Latvia. Over time, the castle has undergone multiple reconstructions, shedding old features and acquiring new artistic and architectural elements.

© Edijs Palens

At Āraiši, Europe’s only reconstruction of a fortified lake settlement from the 8-10th century can be found. The archeological park boasts exceptional discoveries situated in its authentic environment. In addition, medieval castle stone ruins can be observed on the lakeshore. The visitor’s center features a permanent exhibit that displays the original findings obtained during the excavations.

Latvian wooden architecture

The high-level wooden architecture in Riga is considered a pearl of the European architecture. Unlike other European capital cities, wooden architecture in Riga continued to develop up until the start of World War II. Less than a century ago, there were around 12,000 wooden buildings in Riga, of which approximately 4,000 have survived to this day, the oldest of which was built at the end of the 18th century, that today continue to be a part of the beautiful city scape of Riga.

Preserving the heritage

Historical wooden buildings hold a special place in Latvia’s architectural landscape. Latvian architects, such as Zaiga Gaile, are revered for their dedication to preserving historic buildings in their authentic style.

Explore a journey through time


The wooden architecture in Riga began to flourish in the 17th century, with grand wooden buildings and manor houses appearing in Pārdaugava. Approximately 4,000 wooden structures still exist today, with the oldest dating back to the late 18th century.

Notable examples

The Ķīpsala neighborhood, originally a fishing village, has been transformed into a sophisticated residential area that blends lovingly restored wooden houses with contemporary architecture. Riga also boasts numerous wooden churches, such as the Riga Lutheran Church of Jesus, which features a 37-meter spire.

© Ungurmuiža archive

Ungurmuiža Manor Complex

A remarkable example of 18th-century wooden architecture, featuring the only remaining wooden Baroque manor house in Latvia. The complex now serves as a guest house and museum, making it an ideal destination for relaxation, recreation, and special events. Visitors can immerse themselves in the manor’s unique atmosphere by strolling in the oak-lined park and attending exhibitions or concerts.

Where past meets the present:                        National Library of Latvia

The Latvian folklore speaks of the Castle of Light, symbolizing knowledge and enlightenment, and the Glass Mountain, where a princess awaited her hero. The National Library of Latvia, with its glass exterior and luminous lantern, embodies these fables and shines brightly on the skyline of Riga.

National Library of Latvia

The state-of-the-art facility, spanning nearly 600,000 square feet and anchored in the modern section of Riga’s 800-year-old city, was designed to be a major cultural center that is easily accessible and preserved for future generations.

Gunārs Birkerts, a Latvian-born architect and educator, was a champion of a creative process he referred to as “organic synthesis.” He left a legacy of numerous architectural masterpieces across three continents, with the National Library of Latvia being a shining example of his passion for architecture and his love for his birthplace.

Delve into the rich history of Old Riga

Filled with restaurants, cafes, and bars to cater to all tastes, the streets and squares of Old Riga offer a vibrant and bustling atmosphere.

Featuring a mix of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, classicism, and modernism, the Old Town is home to numerous cultural monuments, many of which have been restored or reconstructed following Latvia’s independence. Recognized for its unique architecture, the historical center of Riga was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.

The Dome church, Riga Old town © Kaspars Upītis

The Dome Cathedral is a prominent landmark in Riga, known for its rich history dating back to 1211 when Bishop Albert laid its foundation stone. Its architecture is a blend of Romanesque, Early Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau styles with modern touches. Today, the cathedral also serves as a cultural center, hosting musical concerts and art exhibitions.

© dimbar76, Adobe Stock

The Three Brothers, the oldest residential complex in Riga, dates back to the 15th century and comprises three neighboring houses. Legend has it that they were built by men of the same family. Today, the complex houses the Museum of Architecture and the National Center for the Protection of Cultural Monuments.

21st century cultural buildings in Latvia

Cultural space examples of architecture created or renovated in Latvia by the Latvian architects during the past two decades.