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Riga is more than 800 years old and with a blend of a medieval centre and a modern city.
Mixed together so perfectly that it fits every taste and with an enchanting and irresistible charm of old times.
As a result of the Livonian war (1558-1583) in 1581 Riga came under Polish rule.
However, when Poland fought a war with Sweden (1600-1629), Riga, after fierce resistance, in 1621 was occupied by the Swedish army.
It is interesting to note that soon afterwards Riga became the largest city in Sweden! But after the Nordic War (1700-1721), when Russia and Sweden fought for impact in the Baltic Sea, after a prolonged siege and an epidemic of plague, Riga in 1710 became part of the Russian Empire.
At the end of the 18th century Riga experienced fast industrial growth and was one of the main port cities in the Russian Empire.
At the end of the 19th century Riga was the second largest city in the western part of the Russian Empire after St. Petersburg. When the revolution broke out in Russia in 1905, Riga was one the main centres of this revolt, and during World War I (1914-1918) Riga turned into a frontier town.
At the end of World War I in Riga on 18 November 1918 the independent Republic of Latvia was proclaimed and the liberation war started, during which Riga suffered great damages.
After the war Riga developed fast, however, its growth was interrupted by World War II. During this period the Old Town of Riga suffered, but after the war Riga became one of the largest industrial centres of the western part of the U.S.S.R.
In January 1991 inhabitants of Latvia revolted against the Soviet regime, built barricades and gained the right to restore the independence of Latvia.
Now Riga is again the capital of independent Latvia, the largest city in the Baltic States, a contemporary and well-cared for metropolis of the European Union, with its own special, historical atmosphere which has been safeguarded over the course of numerous wars and changes.
And Riga is also a venue for cultural events in an international perspective – which is shown by the fact that it will become the cultural epicentre of Europe in 2014.
European Capital of Culture 2014
During its year as European Capital of Culture, hundreds of special events will take place – culture in the very broadest sense.
365 days a year, with a new understanding of culture as a positive force of change in people’s lives.
This year, cultural personalities are already warming up for Riga as European Capital of Culture 2014 with a variety of interesting events
Some video impressions of a late May Sunday in Riga, with a little commentary on some interesting stuff and, of course the economy.
This video from Lettlander (Juris Kaža ) -Thanks: