A Walk Along the Jugendstil Quarter: Mikhail Eisenstein—the Gaudi of Riga

 

Art Deco Architecture Style. Albert Street, 4, Riga, Latvia.

Art Deco Architecture Style. Albert Street, 4, Riga, Latvia.

Do you know why the small capital of Latvia is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List? It is not because of the medieval center of old Riga with its bright and impressive House of Blackheads, and not even because of the Dome with one of Europe’s best organs, and certainly not because of the famous Riga Black Balsam. The capital of Latvia has a trump card, which not every tourist knows about.

It so happened that at the end of the 19th century, almost the whole of Europe watched the birth of a new architectural style—it would be called Modern. In France it is known as Art Nouveau, in Germany as Jugendstil, in Italy as Liberty, and in the USA as Tiffany.

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Weekend in Riga: Hundred-Percent Europe for a Very Reasonable Price

 
Riga, the capital of Latvia.

I awaken (ideally it would have been a little bit later, more like 10 a.m.), and come down to the café on the ground floor of the hotel. They prepare an excellent cappuccino. Latvia is the second country in the world where you always get a good coffee; the first is Italy. I turn on my tablet PC (free Wi-Fi is everywhere), check my mailbox, Google+, websites, and blog. I place comments on one or another, and write down some of my impressions of the art-quarter of Riga with its Art Nouveau buildings visited yesterday.

It’s time for a second breakfast. Then I walk along the pavement of Riga’s old, quiet streets. I am just spending my time, having a calm relaxing rest. One more café. I come in and take some sweet things. Coffee, liqueurs–Moka, Vana Tallinn, Riga Balsam or Black Balsam–everything is great. A cat “came in” with me like “I am also a real European, and I can afford a cup of coffee.”

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