The picturesque Art Nouveau architecture of Riga

I admit that I’m a huge fan of architecture and I treat it as a kind of art, and the cities I visited are the open-air museums for me. The more picturesque and beautifully designed are they, the better. For this reason, I’ve always wanted to go to the capital of Latvia, Riga, which is one of the few cities in Europe, bringing together the highest number of monuments in the Art Nouveau style.

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau is one of the Modernist styles. It has been popular in Europe since the 80s of 19th century to the 20s of 20th century, especially in the years 1890-1910. It’s aim is to search for new, fresh forms that will stand out from the age of eclectic historic revival styles and to allow architects and designers greater freedom and creativity. Typical features of Art Nouveau is a wavy lines, asymmetry (though I haven’t noticed this in Riga), rich and abstract details, ornaments of plants and animals, as well as faces and characters. The style is manifested in all its details, for example the railings of balconies and stairs, and even the door handles.

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

As I said, I love architecture, although Art Nouveau is not my favorite style. However, I have to admit honestly that it is really picturesque and interesting form. I was really interested in it and watched all the details carefully, which in some cases require more time, because Art Nouveau buildings tend to be really richly decorated.

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

The highest number of Art Nouveau buildings in Riga is on Albert’s street (Alberta iela) and Elizabeth’s street (Elizabetes iela), as well as several individual buildings are in the old town (most of which is Gothic). These are some of the best examples of Art Nouveau, but in whole city more than 700 buildings refer to this style.

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

In 1999 Réseau Art Nouveau Network was founded, which is a network of cities that boast of the largest number of Art Nouveau monuments and together care about them and popularise them. There are 23 cities in the Network (apart from Riga) including for example Barcelona, ​​Vienna, Glasgow, Budapest, Tbilisi and Havana.

Are you interested in architecture during your urban travels? What do you think about Riga’s Art Nouveau? You’ve been to Riga or some other city known of Art Nouveau style?

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

Art Nouveau riga

3 comments

  1. Lovely photos! It will be interesting to see the contrast of these buildings with the Gothic ones in Old Town.

    Also, I saw that you’re traveling to Poland soon. I’ve lived here in Warsaw for 19 months now. As far as I know, there’s not a lot to do in Lublin itself. Not a bad base to explore the surrounding area though. However, I’ve really liked both Torun and Wroclaw and would happily return to visit both cities.

    • Well, I’m Polish so I live here in Poland, too. 🙂 About 40km east from Warsaw.

      My project the Bucket List Challenge is about very detailed travelling around Poland. I believe that – as I it’s my homeland – I should know it very well, so there is about 500 objects in whole Poland. For example, all the national parks and 10 most interesting cities (Lublin included).

      I would also love to encourage other people to visit not only the cliche of Poland like Kraków, Wrocław or Toruń but also go further. Eastern part is the most beautiful part of Poland as it’s not so industrialized but more countryside! 🙂

      And I love it because my roots are there. 😉

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